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04 November 2023 Venue AESSEAL New York Stadium Attendance

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Match Reports

REPORT | ROTHERHAM 1 V 1 QPR

4 November 2023

Honours even at New York.....

Super-sub Georgie Kelly earned Rotherham United a vital point in their fight for Sky Bet Championship survival against fellow strugglers Queens Park Rangers.

The Millers looked to be staring down the barrel of defeat when Ilias Chair produced a moment of magic to put the Hoops ahead but Kelly maintained his knack of scoring vital goals in his Rotherham career by volleying home for his first goal of the campaign.

Both teams had chances to win it when man-of-the-match Hakeem Odoffin smashed a header against the woodwork before Viktor Johansson was at his best to keep the visitors out late on.  

The Millers made two changes from their last outing last weekend.

Experienced defender Lee Peliter was unavailable because of injury and Odoffin was asked to play as a makeshift centre-half alongside skipper Sean Morrison.

Boss Matt Taylor also reshuffled his midfield options with Sam Clucas recalled at the expense of Arvin Appiah, who was named on the bench.

At a rain-sodden AESSEAL New York Stadium, Rotherham had the first sight of goal in the early minutes when Morrison launched a long throw in the box but a home flick on was plucked out of the sky by Asmir Begovic.

Minutes later, Cafu fired an ambitious free-kick into the QPR wall before a lighting counter-attack by the visitors saw two flyers, Paul Smyth and Cohen Bramall in a footrace which ended when Smyth was felled by the Rotherham left-back.

Nevertheless, QPR released the pressure on the hosts with a wayward set-piece.

In the next phase of play, Morrison put his body on the line to block Reggie Cannon’s shot at close quarters before Chair got a long ball under his spell before teasing Dexter Lembikisa on the edge of the box to fire a curling effort which flashed narrowly wide of the target.

Chair was in the thick of the action and he got a yard of Lembikisa, once again, but his deflected effort smashed into the side netting, before the Moroccan playmaker was the first to see yellow for kicking the ball away.

Bramall soon joined him in the book for a lunge on Elijah Dixon-Bonner before the Millers had a scare from the resultant free-kick when Jimmy Dunne rose highest to meet Kenneth Paal’s inswinging free-kick but Viktor Johansson stood up tall to keep his point-blank header out, although any goal would have been chalked off for offside.

The Millers struggled for fluidity in the opening half hour but they threatened when firstly Christ Tiehi bobbled an effort which was turned behind before Cafu delivered a corner which had Begovic flapping at fresh air.

The home side had another half-chance when Ollie Rathbone dinked a ball over the top but with Jordan Hugill and Fred Onyedinma getting in each other’s way, the Millers failed to make the most of the opening when Hugill blasted over from a tight angle.

The Millers had upped the tempo and Hugill got the better of Steve Cook to dart into the visitors box but he spurned the chance to shoot in a bid to find the on-rushing Clucas, but the pass evaded his attentions.

Just past the half-hour mark, Lembikisa cut inside before clipping a cross which looked inch-perfect for Hugill, just yards out, but agonisingly, Cook diverted the ball away from him with a timely headed clearance.

Clucas became the next to incur the wrath of the referee with a mistimed challenge on the lively Smyth to earn a yellow-card.  

Both sides traded chances when Chair latched onto a drop ball before catching the Millers napping with a stinging drive which flew narrowly wide before Onyedinma cleverly worked the shooting opportunity at the other end and he duly obliged by firing a left-footed effort which Begovic palmed away.

Half-time: Rotherham United 0 Queens Park Rangers 0

The Millers - who were now attacking the KCM Waste Management Stand – forced an early corner but it came to nothing.

However, it was QPR, who made the all-important breakthrough – just five minutes into the half - thanks to a moment of brilliance from Chair.

There looked little danger until Paal threaded a ball into the feet of Chair, who showed fleet of foot, to work a shooting chance, and he made no mistake as he unleashed a fierce effort which arrowed into the top corner of the Millers goal giving Johansson no chance.   

The Hoops were visibly boosted by the opener and Rotherham found themselves indebted to Johansson for keeping them in the game when Elihah Dixon-Bonner took advantage of Cannon’s assist to fire goalwards, but a combination of the Swedish stopper, and the upright, kept the ball out.

With the Millers’ heads still in a spin, Smyth delivered a wicked cross which narrowly evaded Lyndon Dykes, but the ball struck a backtracking Lembikisa, but the ball fortuitously looped over the bar.  

The Millers gradually regained their composure and Bramall skipped down the touchline before planting a centre which found the head of Cafu, but the Portuguese midfielder – despite being unmarked - could only glance a header wide.

With 20 minutes to go, Rotherham found themselves back on level terms, following a free-kick award.

Bramall stepped up to deliver a deep set-piece with his favoured left-foot and Kelly – who appeared to have a battle with his marker – latched onto the centre before volleying high into the roof of the Rangers net.  

The game was now back in the balance and Johansson had to be at his alert best to handle Chair’s skimming drive on the slick, wet AESSEAL New York Stadium turf.

With Taylor orchestrating affairs from the touchline, the Millers fans were now in fine voice, and they were almost off their seats again when Onyedinma’s snap shot was turned behind.

Cafu – with his trademark set-piece delivery – planted a lovely centre and Odoffin emerged from the pack to flash a header which smashed against the post before falling to safety, to the relief of the visitors.

Sub Sam Nombe showed determination to win back possession and Bramall was the beneficiary with a dangerous centre which was cut out by a retreating defender.

The visitors had a couple of opportunities when firstly Morrison led from the front again to block Sam Field’s goalbound effort before Dunne was inches away from meeting Paal’s delicious cross at the far post.   

With time running out for both teams, the Millers had appeals for a spot kick when Cafu delivered another corner and Morrison and Dunne clashed in the box – with the home skipper felled – but no further action was taken despite home protests.

In stoppage time, Johansson preserved a precious point for the Millers when Chair turned provider and sub Charlie Kelman – who had just come on – looked a certain scorer but the Swedish international produced some heroics between the sticks to keep the ball out against all the odds before Field drilled wide on the follow-up.  

Full-time: Rotherham United 1 Queens Park Rangers 1  

Rotherham United 1

Queens Park Rangers 1

Teams: Rotherham- Johansson, Lembikisa, Bramall, Cafu, Clucas (Kelly 61), Hugill (Nombe 71), Onyedinma (Eaves 87), Rathbone, Odoffin, Morrison (Ayala 87), Tiehi. Unused- Phillips, Revan, Appiah, McGuckin.

QPR- Begovic, Dunne, Cook, Willock (Adomah 80, Kelman 90) , Field, Dykes (Armstrong 80), Chair, Smyth (Richards 63), Dixon-Bonner, Cannon (Kakay 90), Paal. Unused- Archer, Larkeche, Duke-McKenna, Armstrong.

Referee- S Barrott

Attendance- 10199

 

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