Millers taste defeat in the capital…
It was far from the ideal start to 2023 for the Matt Taylor’s men as they were defeated by Millwall thanks to a Tom Bradshaw brace and a cruel own goal.
Here is how the action unfolded…
The reverse of this fixture was Matt Taylor’s first game at the helm of Rotherham United, when his side were cruelly denied all three points thanks to a Goal of the Season contender from the Lions’ ’10 Zian Flemming.
The Millers have bested Millwall just once in their last five meetings, coming in August of 2018 – this afternoon, an injury-stricken Rotherham United side will look to get one over on Gary Rowett’s men.
Millwall, on the other hand, are entering 2023 in impressive form, heaving being beaten only once in their last seven Sky Bet Championship outings. Eye-catching victories included a 2-0 victory at Vicarage Road against promotion contenders Watford, as well as a 4-2 victory against Preston North End.
Millwall came flying out the gates from the first whistle, keeping the Millers pinned to their own half. Billy Mitchell was urged by the Lions’ faithful to shoot from distance, however the midfielder instead opted to float a cross towards the back-post where a leaping Shaun Hutchinson headed over the bar. An early warning sign.
Unfortunately, the Millers didn’t heed the early warning. Millwall opened the scoring when Callum Styles sent in a free-kick from just inside the Rotherham half. Jumping to meet it was targetman Tom Bradshaw, who headed in from close range.
Though the Millers remained under the kosh for the opening period, resolute defending from Wes Harding, Richard Wood, and Cameron Humphreys ensured the home side were kept within touching distance.
Despite the early Millwall pressure, Matt Taylor’s men appeared to be growing into the game as Ollie Rathbone showed his trademark dogged determination, winning the ball right in the left corner of the home side’s half. The midfielder cut inside as the defence prepared to deal with an incoming cross. Rathbone opted to have a crack, coming inches away from a wondergoal from an impossible angle.
As soon as Rotherham began to show signs of life, Millwall were presented with a golden opportunity up the other end. Callum Styles unleashed a powerful volley which Johansson could only palm away, Styles was first to the loose ball and clipped it back towards the goalscorer Bradshaw. The Millwall number 9 couldn’t sort his feet out in time, sending the ball over the bar as The Den was already half way into the rafters.
Goalkeeping heroics were in order as Viktor Johansson came flying towards Honeyman who just had to head in from close range. The Swede made himself big and palmed away the effort behind. Johansson earned applause from the travelling Millers contingent once again from the resultant corner as he showed cat-like reaction to deny Voglsammer from close range.
The Millers again burst into life before the half was over. After spending six years with the club, Millwall were well aware of the capabilities of Shane Ferguson. The wing-back delivered a peach of a cross towards the head of Odoffin. The midfielder’s close-range header forced Bialkowski into action, but the Lions’ keeper got down well to keep the home side’s lead intact.
The Millers looked certain to level the scores on the stroke of half time when Dan Barlaser made something from nothing as he found the run of Conor Washington with a brilliantly executed, defence-splitting pass. The striker held off a defender, took it round Bialkowski, but in doing so got the ball tangled and sent his effort over the bar.
HALF TIME: MILLWALL 1 – 0 ROTHERHAM
Rotherham would be attacking the goal right in front of the travelling fans for the second ’45. Whatever Matt Taylor had said to his side in the dressing room looked to have had a positive effect as they looked to take the game to Millwall. Quick one touch passing positioned Odoffin for a strike from distance, but the shot was scuffed.
Another chance appeared for Rotherham through Ollie Rathbone. He latched onto to a loose ball on the home side’s left flank, drilling it towards the face of the goal in search of a final touch, but it was turned behind for a corner by Jake Cooper.
The Millers couldn’t capitalise on their early spell on top in the second half, as the momentum of the game appeared to shift into no man’s land. Both sides continued to fight for a foothold in a physical tie. It was simply a matter of who would blink first to give away the all-important second goal of the game.
It would be the Millers to blink first in the cruellest fashion. A looping ball over the top found Tom Bradshaw, the striker got his head up and struck towards goal – Johansson appeared to have it covered but an unfortunate deflection off Cameron Humphreys summed up the Millers day as it bobbled slowly into the back of the Rotherham United goal.
Millwall seemed to gain a spring in their step since doubling their advantage, asking question after question of the Millers rearguard. Eventually, a third went unanswered. A third for the home side and a second for Tom Bradshaw as he tapped in a loose ball at the back-post following Johansson’s save to deny Andreas Voglsammer.
FULL TIME: MILLWALL 3 – 0 ROTHERHAM
Millwall – Bialkowski, McNamara, Wallace, Hutchinson ©, Cooper, Mitchell, Bradshaw (Afobe 83’), Flemming (Shackleton 89’), Styles (Saville 23’), Voglsammer (Burey 83’), Honeyman (Esse 83’).
Unused – Trueman, Cresswell.
Rotherham – Johansson, Harding, Barlaser, Wood ©, Washington, Lindsay, Ferguson (Bramall 64’), Rathbone, Odoffin, Humphreys, Kioso (Norton-Cuffy 64’).
Unused – Hemfrey, McCart, Bola, Hull, Douglas.
Referee – Gavin Ward