Millers slip to home defeat....
It was a frustrating day at the office for the Millers as Scott Kashket’s early goal proved decisive as Wycombe Wanderers earned a narrow goal victory at the AESSEAL New York Stadium.
Kashket’s well-taken strike gave the Millers an early mountain to climb and Paul Warne’s side lacked ideas, for much of the afternoon, as Wycombe showed their defensive mettle to maintain their slender advantage.
Following their impressive victory over Ipswich Town in midweek, Warne made a solitary change to his starting line-up for the visit of the Chairboys.
Flying winger Chiedozie Ogbene was rewarded for his fine substitute cameo at Portman Road, by being handed his first start in Millers colours, at the expense of Trevor Clarke.
The visitors were the quickest out of the blocks with Kashket looking an early danger, by forcing an early corner from Billy Jones, before switching flanks to drill a low centre which was hacked clear by Michael Ihiekwe.
The Wycombe forward was in the thick of the action and he scored the all-important winner for Gareth Ainsworth’s side – with just five minutes on the clock, when Anthony Stewart planted an innocuous ball forward and Kashket broke clear from the Rotherham rearguard, who had stepped up in vain for offside, and he kept his composure to evade the attentions of a retreating Richard Wood, before curling an effort past an advancing Daniel Iversen to find the bottom corner of the home goal.
The Millers responded positively to the setback and Matt Olosunde leapt highest to meet Ben Wiles’ hanging centre but the American’s header lacked power as Ryan Allsop gathered with ease, just moments after Rolando Aarons became the first to see yellow for a late challenge on Jamie Lindsay.
Minutes later, Wiles curled another delicious centre into the danger area but Matt Crooks – with his back to goal – was unable to turn the ball goalwards before Michael Smith was the next to see yellow for a late clip on Joe Jacobson, near the touchline.
Just before the quarter hour, Wiles charged down Jack Grimmer’s attempted clearance to force his way into the box but his cross was diverted to safety before there was a moment of controversy, in the next Millers attack.
Grimmer misjudged the weight of his back pass and Ogbene sensed an opportunity to capitalise but the former Brentford winger was ushered out by Stewart, illegally, on the edge of the box and although the referee awarded a free-kick, he only brandished a yellow card to the Wanderers’ centre-half, despite Millers players and fans appealing for a sending off.
Wiles failed to make it count from the resultant free-kick when he screwed his shot wide before Jones was the latest, in a bad-tempered spell, to be cautioned for a late challenge on David Wheeler.
From the following free-kick, Jacobson curled a left-footed effort narrowly wide of the Millers goal before Ogbene once again got the better of Grimmer to fizz a cross which was met by the head of Smith, but his downward header failed to trouble the target.
Minutes later, Ogbene showed fleet of foot to escape a cul-de-sac before clipping a ball into the path of Smith, who worked a shooting position but Stewart put his body on the line to block his goalbound shot before the Millers were indebted to Jones for a timely header, at the far post, as Wheeler looked set to turn home Kashket’s delicate cross.
With half-time approaching, Wycombe came close to a second goal when a pull-back from Matt Bloomfield paved the way for Kashket to fire goalwards but Iversen, at full-stretch, superbly kept the ball out.
Half-time- Rotherham United 0 Wycombe Wanderers 1
In an attempt to spark the Millers to life, Warne reshuffled his pack at the interval, by introducing Rangers loanee Jake Hastie into the fray – with Ogbene switching flanks and Olosunde reverting to his normal full-back role.
The move almost paid immediate dividends when Wiles’ dangerous centre was flicked towards his own goal by a Wycombe defender, as the ball fizzed past the visitors’ upright before sub Alex Pattison was cautioned for a hefty challenge on Lindsay.
The Millers were forcing a succession of corners without due reward – with Hastie curling one with the inside of his foot which struck the crossbar – although the ball was already deemed to have left the field of play.
Ainsworth’s side were doing their level best to sting out of the game – and they were doing this, largely successfully, until Stewart showed good anticipation to divert Wiles’ cross to safety – with sub Carlton Morris lurking for a tap-in.
Rotherham frustration boiled over when Crooks saw yellow for a cynical trip on Jacobson before Trevor Clarke’s eye-of-a-needle pass gave Smith, a glimpse of goal, but Curtis Thompson stuck out a timely foot to prevent him getting his shot away.
In a rare Wycombe foray, sub Adebayo Akinfenwa caused havoc in the Millers box and Bloomfield was the grateful recipient to volley goalwards but Iversen was his equal – with an acrobatic save.
It was not looking like being the Millers day when Hastie caressed a corner into the mix and Smith emerged from the ruck of bodies to head towards goal and Ihiekwe, in attempting to flick the ball into the net from close range, could only head over, under pressure from Allsop.
Full-time- Rotherham United 0 Wycombe Wanderers 1
Rotherham United 0
Wycombe Wanderers 1
Teams:- Rotherham- Iversen, Jones (Hastie 46), Mattock, Wood (Clarke 64), Wiles, Lindsay, Crooks, Ogbene, Ihiekwe, Olosunde (Morris 73), Smith. Unused- Price, Ladapo, Barlaser, Cooper.
Wycombe- Allsop, Jacobson, Gape (Pattison 46), Stewart, Wheeler, Bloomfield, Kashket (Ofoborh 83), Thompson, Grimmer, Charles, Aarons (Akinfenwa 78). Unused- Yates, Phillips, Freeman, Parker.
Referee- N Hair
Attendance- 8337 (512)