Moore strikes late to earn Millers point....
KIEFFER Moore’s 13th goal of the season deep in stoppage time earned Rotherham United a deserved point in a tight, hard-fought South Yorkshire derby with Doncaster Rovers.
With the Millers staring down the barrel of defeat, Moore kept his composure to stroke home after sub David Ball was denied by Ian Lawlor to send the Rotherham travelling masses wild after Richard Wood’s own goal looked likely to settle the derby encounter.
Prior to the game, Millers chief Paul Warne was forced into a defensive reshuffle as Michael Ihiekwe was asked to play in the left-back slot, as Joe Mattock and Ben Purrington were ruled out because of suspension and injury respectively.
Semi Ajayi and Wood formed the central defensive partnership while further forward, Jon Taylor was recalled to league action, with the speedster asked to provide the ammunition to in-form striker Moore.
Taylor was in the thick of the early action and he took advantage of Moore’s lay-off to race down the left-flank but his tame cross was straight down the throat of Lawlor.
Moments later, Ihiekwe was fortunate to escape sanction for hauling down John Marquis following Darren Potter’s under hit pass before Potter redeemed himself with a superb clipped cross which looked inch-perfect for Moore, just in front of goal, but Joe Wright came out of nowhere to head clear.
Minutes later, Mathieu Baudry tried to play the ball out from the back before being swamped by a host of Millers and Potter pounced on the loose ball to play a slide-rule pass which Taylor nudged forward, with Moore also in attendance, but the ball dribbled harmlessly wide of the home goal.
In a training ground move at the other end, the ever-reliable James Coppinger drilled a low corner to the near post which saw Tommy Rowe deftly flick the ball towards goal but Will Vaulks headed clear.
The Millers fans had their hearts in their mouths when Josh Emmanuel and Marquis tangled in the box, with both players losing their footing, but the referee waved away home appeals for a spot kick before Ajayi was well-stationed to snuff out former Rotherham loanee Harry Toffolo’s low centre, in the next home attack.
Just past the half hour mark, Joe Newell showed fleet of foot to dart away on halfway before being tripped by Jordan Houghton, as the resultant free kick was cleared before Rotherham missed a gilt-edged chance to open the scoring when Ryan Williams got the better of two opposition defenders to float a delightful centre which saw Ajayi plant a downward header which crashed against the bar but the ball popped up for Wood, who looked a certain scorer, from just yards out, but he also crashed his point-blank header against the bar before Lawlor gathered the ball in his grasp - with many of those with a Rotherham United persuasion claiming the ball to have crossed the line.
Moments later, Potter latched onto a loose ball, just outside the box, before being unceremoniously felled by Marquis but Vaulks failed to make it count from the resultant free-kick when his powerful effort blazed into the travelling masses behind the goal.
In first half stoppage time, Ajayi was bundled over by Marquis to pave the way for Newell to fizz a free-kick into the box and Moore emerged from the ruck of bodies to direct a header, which took a deflection off a retreating defender, as it spun narrowly wide of the home goal.
Half-time- Doncaster Rovers 0 Rotherham United 0
The Millers were quick out of the blocks at the start of the second half and following a free-kick award, Taylor floated a tantalising centre into the box and Moore looped a header, who looked destined for the far corner of the net, but the ball agonisingly shaved the outside of the post.
At the other end, Marquis fired a snap shot which was blocked en-route to goal before the home front man irked the wrath of the Donny faithful with an errant pass, in the next home attack, with Coppinger on the overlap.
Moments later, Potter showed great anticipation to cut out Wright’s pass but Taylor failed to make it count and Doncaster took a grip on the game by opening the scoring, minutes later, when Rodney Kongolo skipped down the right flank and with no-one closing him down, he fired a delicious centre between the Rotherham rearguard and O’Donnell, and Wood, in attempting to clear, could only hook the ball into his own net from inside his own six-yard box.
The Millers were visibly rocked by the setback and after Emmanuel was penalised for climbing over Rowe, Coppinger planted a dangerous centre into the visitors box where Marquis had a shot blocked before Andy Butler headed into the grateful hands of O’Donnell.
Ihiekwe became the first to see yellow for a clumsy foul on Matty Blair near the touchline before Butler headed back into the danger area whereby Marquis took aim with a well-executed volley, which sailed narrowly over the Millers bar.
The visitors gradually regained their composure and after Doncaster only half-cleared the danger, the ball rolled tantalising into the path of Vaulks, who fired goalwards from the edge of the box but Houghton put his body on the line to block his effort.
Moments later, Wood caused havoc in the Donny box and Moore pounced on the loose ball to cut inside before firing an effort towards goal but a combination of Butler and Houghton kept the ball away from the home goal- with timely blocks.
In the next phase of play, Potter floated a ball over the top which saw sub Clarke-Harris got under his spell to cut inside on his right-foot before striking an effort which smashed against the foot of the post before the ball rolled into the path of Vaulks, who was denied in the follow-up, as his effort was deflected wide.
In the dying minutes, Doncaster came close to adding to their tally when Rowe headed wide with the goal at his mercy before Marquis was denied by a goal saving block by Potter.
The chances proved crucial as Rotherham grabbed an equaliser, in the last noteworthy action of the game, when sub Richie Towell’s perfectly weighted pass put Ball in the clear and despite Lawlor standing up tall to block his low shot, the ball rolled into path of Moore, who was initially denied by retreating defenders with a header but the Ipswich loanee kept his nerve to fire the ball into the unguarded net, at the second attempt.
Full-time- Doncaster Rovers 1 Rotherham United 1
Doncaster Rovers 1
Rotherham United 1
Teams:- Doncaster- Lawlor, Wright, Butler, Baudry, Blair (Alcock 79), Houghton, Kongolo, Toffolo, Coppinger (Mandeville 86), Rowe, Marquis. Unused- Marosi, Garratt, Whiteman, Beestin, Williams.
Rotherham- O’Donnell, Emmanuel (Clarke-Harris 74), Ajayi, Wood (Ball 87), Ihiekwe, Williams, Potter, Vaulks, Newell, Taylor (Towell 68), Moore. Unused- Bilboe, Forde, Wiles, Yates.
Referee- G Scott
Attendance- 12428 (3829)