AFC Wimbledon 0 v 1 Rotherham - Report
Kieran Agard stepped off the bench and grabbed all three points for the Millers, heading the decisive goal as they beat AFC Wimbledon 1-0 at the Cherry Red Records Stadium.
Manager Steve Evans named an unchanged starting 11 from the one that slipped to defeat last Saturday, with the only change seeing Mark Bradley fit enough for a place on the bench.
The Millers started brightly, with Michael O’Connor at the centre of the action, swinging in a corner that Johnny Mullins met, only to see his header blocked. Within a minute O’Connor had an effort himself, but his half-volley ballooned high and wide of Neil Sullivan’s goal.
Just over 10 minutes into the game, and O’Connor was again involved with the best chance of the game as he took charge down the right as they countered and when he crossed, Lee Frecklington showed a great piece of skill in the box to set up Ben Pringle who was denied by the veteran Sullivan.
Shortly before Pringle’s opportunity, Luke Moore came within inches of giving the home side the lead, only to see his curling effort deflected just wide. The hosts found their feet once again around the 20 minute mark as first, captain Steven Gregory tested Andy Warrington from distance, and then Stacy Long and Jim Fenlon also tried their luck; the former winning his side a corner.
The chances kept coming, and O’Connor was the next to fail with an attempt after a marauding run down the right by Mullins led to a loose ball being smashed into the back of the stand by the Irishman.
The chances did eventually dry up until the game entered two minutes of injury time and Will Antwi almost bundled the ball home from Long’s corner kick only for Sharps to eventually kick clear. Immediately up the other end Daniel Nardiello got the ball under control with a delightful first touch before slotting past Sullivan, only to be denied by the assistant who had his flag up for offside.
AFC Wimbledon 0-0 Millers
Courtney Cameron was introduced in place of Pringle 10 minutes into the second period, and the Millers immediately had the first opportunity when the substitute swung a cross in which bounced around in the area before Nardiello fired just wide.
The best chance however was at the other end when Toby Ajala skipped past Kari Arnason before chipping over Warrington, only for Mullins to volley the ball clear off the line. A fortuitous bounce then allowed O’Connor to feed Nardiello, whose shot was fumbled by Sullivan, and with Revell bearing down, it was eventually scrambled clear for a corner.
On 65 minutes, the lively Cameron again broke free from the Dons defence and when he eventually got his shot away, the ‘keeper was able to hold it. A diagonal ball appeared to put substitute Agard through on goal but he was hauled down on the edge of the box by Fenlon. From the resulting free-kick, Cameron smashed the ball into the back of the stand. Moments later, Revell flicked on Mullins’ cross from the right, but Frecklington’s volley was deflected out for a corner by the back of Will Antwi.
On 78 minutes, Cameron crossed the ball towards the edge of the box and Agard powered a header goalwards from the edge of the box which somehow beat Sullivan and went in via the post.
The lead was almost doubled when Frecklington struck a free-kick nonchalantly over the wall which Sullivan just collected on the line.
Wimbledon had seen little of the play in the Millers’ half during the second period but as injury time loomed, Ajala swung a ball low into the box which was almost turned home by Jack Midson but a combination of Arnason, Sharps and Warrington managed to get the ball clear.
AFC Wimbledon 0-1 Millers
Wimbledon: Sullivan, Osano, Fenlon, Gregory, Mambo, Antwi, Ajala, Long (Djilali 84), Midson, Meades, Moore (Balkestein 80).
Unused: Cummings, Jaimez-Ruiz, Johnson, Hervel, Mitchel-King.
Millers: Warrington, Mullins, Sharps, Arnason, Ridehalgh, Taylor, O’Connor (Agard 70), Pringle (Cameron 55), Frecklington, Nardiello (Odejayi 84), Revell.
Unused: Thompson, Bradley, Walker, O’Connell.
Att: 3,718 (287)