The Millers earned a solid point on the road at the Riverside as they battled to a goalless draw against Chris Wilder’s men.
The first half saw short spells of pressure for both sides, as neither managed to capitalise on the chances presented to them. Rotherham were asked to defend throughout the second half, but even under harsh testing the Millers’ backline stood strong and gained yet another clean sheet – making it 5 for the campaign.
The score sees Rotherham rise to 8th in the Sky Bet Championship.
The opening few minutes of the clash appeared cagey as both teams got a feel for each other, though the threat of both teams became quickly clear. An Ollie Rathbone threaded ball was hit just out of the reach of a sprinting Ben Wiles. At the other end of the pitch, Boro had two shouts for freekicks in on the edge of the Millers’ box waved away by referee Tim Robinson.
Wes Harding quickly began to establish his presence down the left as he swung in an inviting cross that couldn’t find a Rotherham shirt.
Boro’s patience was rewarded as Duncan Watmore capitalised on a loose clearance inside the Millers’ box, but his shot blazed just over the bar.
As the previously cagey affair began to open up, Chiedozie Ogbene found himself running at the Middlesbrough defence, backed up by Conor Washington on the quarter-hour mark. Ogbene looked to slide through Washington, but the ball was trapped under the number 14’s feet and cleared by Boro.
Both sides endured short spells of relentless pressure inside the first 25 minutes, and from one of these spells energetic midfielder Ollie Rathbone led a Millers’ counter attack, but his promising low ball failed to find it’s target.
Boro then led a counter of their own up the other end of the pitch, however Cameron Humphreys managed to holt the dangerous run of Duncan Watmore and avert the danger.
The deadlock was nearly broken by Boro just before the half-hour mark as Duncan Watmore weaved his way through the Millers’ defence, squaring it for Isaiah Jones whose low-driven shot was inches wide of the post.
Another Boro chance cropped up as Anfernee Dijksteel won a freekick in a threatening area. The resulting set-piece was pulled back to former Miller Ryan Giles, whose strike was palmed away by a diving Johansson.
Rotherham responded shortly after however as a cleverly worked set-piece of their own saw a Conor Washington low-cross across the face of goal just need a final tap-in. An outstretched Richard Wood boot was inches from providing this, but Jones was there to tap it out of play.
The Millers’ had a penalty shout waved away by Tim Robinson as Ogbene floated a ball into Conor Washington which looked destined for the striker’s head, before he appeared to be pulled down by Dijksteel.
The first booking of the night came as Boro skipper Johnny Howson found himself in an unfavourable position as Chiedozie Ogbene controlled with his chest and looked to beat him on the spin – Howson pulled back the Irish striker to haul the ensuing counter and earned himself a yellow.
HALF TIME: MIDDLESBROUGH 0 – 0 MILLERS
As the second half burst into life, an ever-threatening Duncan Watmore infiltrated the Millers’ box and managed to get a shot away, but the effort was deflected and no problem for Johansson.
Middlesbrough began the second 45 quickly, and they were rewarded for this as Watmore looked as if he had rounded Johansson, however a combination of the ball getting caught under the striker’s feet and Johansson’s lightning quick recovery meant his effort struck the inside of the post and bobbled across the face of an empty net.
As the game approached the hour mark, Boro were firmly the aggressors and applying constant pressure, however resolute performances from the Millers’ backline kept the home side at bay, and the scoresheet blank.
As has been the theme of the night, Duncan Watmore found himself in a good position for Middlesbrough - bearing down on the Rotherham goal. However, last-ditch heroics from Cameron Humphreys blocked the shot as it deflected into the side netting.
Rotherham began to grow into the second half as Bramall utilised his blistering pace to get the better of Jones and fire in a cross which was met by a scuffed Clarke clearance and out for a Millers corner.
Despite clear signs of confidence growing in the Millers players, Boro pressure continued into the latter stages of the game.
Middlesbrough earned themselves a corner as the game approached its conclusion, resulting in a flurry of balls into the Millers’ box. One specifically, floated in by Alex Mowatt led to the ball being headed down in the path of Matt Crooks who collided with Johansson.
FULL TIME: MIDDLESBROUGH 0 – 0 MILLERS
Middlesbrough – Steffen, Jones, Giles, Clarke (Bola 74’), Fry, McGree (Mowatt 74’), Muniz, Dijksteel, Howson ©, Watmore (Forss 74’), Crooks
Subs – Roberts, Smith, McNair, Luongo
Rotherham – Johansson, Harding, Bramall (Bola 81’), Barlaser (McCart 81’), Wood ©, Wiles, Norton-Cuffy (Kelly 81’), Ogbene, Washington (High 60’), Rathbone (Lindsay 76’), Humphreys
Subs – Vickers, Eaves
Referee – Tim Robinson