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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

16 December 2023 Venue Home Park Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - Championship

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Match Reports


16 December 2023

Rotherham United had their hearts broken at the death by Plymouth Argyle as they slipped to a 3-2 defeat at Home Park, despite battling bravely with 10 men for a good percentage of the game.

Leam Richardson’s men gave a superb display which reinforced their battling credentials in Devon, where they had taken the lead through Jamie Lindsay before being pegged back by Finn Azaz, who then added a second to make it 2-1.

Daniel Ayala’s red card for two bookable offences made life more tricky for the visitors, who did manage to restore parity through Tom Eaves – who netted his first goal for the club – and looked set to earn a share of the spoils until Morgan Whittaker’s late, late goal dealt the visitors the cruellest of blows to send them back north empty-handed.

The Millers started brightly, with Sam Nombe latching onto Cohen Bramall’s deflected cross. A back-pedalling Argyle rearguard could only watch as the striker fired a fierce half-volley agonisingly close across the face of goal.

Dexter Lembikisa is the next to try his luck. The on-loan Wolves defender finds a cut-back from Bramall and opted to strike first-time. The effort briefly got the travelling Millers off their seats as it looked destined to make the Argyle net ripple, but a brave block from Jordan Houghton ensured the scoresheet remains blank.

It wouldn’t remain that way for much longer, as Jamie Lindsay found space in the box and seized the opportunity to open his account for the season. The midfielder pounced on a lay-off from Nombe to drill his low-driven effort into the bottom corner of Conor Hazard’s net.

The home side were struck by two back-to-back serious injuries, resulting in 13 minutes of additional time at the end of the half.

The home side, buoyed up by the lengthy stoppage time, appeared to gain a second wind. A corner curled towards Viktor Johansson’s far post was slightly over hit, but amidst the chaos in a crowded box, referee Gavin Ward pointed to the spot.

Lee Peltier landed himself in the referee’s book following the incident before being substituted for Seb Revan, as the defender appeared unable to continue. Finn Azaz was the man to step up the spot, and he expertly converted the penalty to restore parity between the two sides.

The Millers looked to respond following Plymouth’s leveller and almost stemmed the tide as Bramall once again darted up the left flank to try and provide the ammunition for a teammate in the box with a cross.

The former Lincoln City man had enjoyed plenty of success up the left flank, but was unable to find a red shirt with his delivery this time.

13 minutes of first half injury time were indicated as a result of the lengthy stoppages for Argyle players and the home crowd were sensing an opportunity.

The ever-reliable Viktor Johansson had come up trumps for the Millers between the sticks just moments earlier to deny Morgan Whittaker with a fine fingertip save, but was a mere bystander as Azaz charged through the centre of the pitch before firing a ferocious strike at the target, which had the Swede beaten but not the post – which the ball ricocheted back off and away from danger.

In the end, it would have been the visitors who were most pleased to hear the half time whistle blown, as Plymouth mounted the pressure right up until Gavin Ward called time on the opening half – which in the end ran for just shy of the hour-mark.  

Half-time | Plymouth Argyle 1 v 1 Rotherham United

Plymouth flew out the traps in the second half, Finn Azaz seeming a man possessed. The Pilgrims’ number 18 was the quickest to react to a low cross into the box, steering the ball into the bottom corner.

Things went from bad to worse for the Millers in a matter of minutes when Daniel Ayala was given his marching orders following a second bookable offence.

Characteristically, the Millers simply refused to quit.

Perhaps spurred on by the prior dismissal, Richardson’s men fought tooth and nail for each and every yard on the pitch. The effort was not without reward, which came on both a personal and team level when substitute Tom Eaves stole in to net his first goal in Rotherham United colours and restore parity in front of the travelling fans on 77 minutes.

Any neutrals watching on were certainly not sold short in terms of entertainment for their match tickets, with the pendulum swinging from side to side as both teams looked to go on and win it.

Richardson's charges battled admirably and didn't look inferior to their Plymouth counterparts despite the man deficit, forging half chances through crosses that Sean Morrison turned at goal, but without the necessary power to beat Conor Hazard in the home goal.

As seems to be the case most weeks for the Millers, Johansson produced more heroics towards the end to deny Bali Mumba, before Seb Revan and Cohen Bramall both came up with excellent blocks to keep the score at 2-2.

With the game deep into the eight indicated minutes of injury time, there was time for one cruel and fatal twist in the game, which came when Whittaker - who had been lively all afternoon - pounced in the box to steer the ball underneath Johansson and earn the home side maximum points, despite the Millers running them close right until the final whistle.

Johansson tried to impact the game at the other end with the very last kick as he frantically chased a free kick at the opposite end of the pitch in the Argyle area, but the hosts defended the final moment of danger to win it 3-2.

Full-time | Plymouth Argyle 3 v 2 Rotherham


Plymouth Argyle | Hazard, Mumba, Houghton, Pleguezuelo, Edwards ©, Hardie, Whittaker, Miller, Gibson, Azaz, Cundle.  

Subs | Burton, Gillesphey, Butcher, Wright, Bundu, Randell, Galloway, Waine, Kesler-Hayden.

Rotherham United | Johansson, Lembikisa, Bramall, Ayala, Hugill, Lindsay, Rathbone ©, Peltier, Odoffin, Tiehi, Nombe.

Subs | Phillips, Eaves, Kelly, Hall, Morrison, Revan, Appiah, McGuckin.


Attendance – 16,025

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