Bristol City 1 v 2 Rotherham - Report
The Millers made it three wins in as many games and extended their unbeaten run to six games in Sky Bet League One as they overcame Bristol City 2-1 at Ashton Gate.
First half goals from Nouha Dicko and Ben Pringle gave the visitors a two-goal cushion going into the break, before they returned to the field to face the blustery conditions and an onslaught from the Robins, which saw Bobby Reid grab a consolation.
It meant that Steve Evans’ side got back to winning ways with a combative performance in the south-west, after exits from both the FA Cup and Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in their last two outings against Rochdale and Fleetwood Town respectively.
The Millers boss made one change to the side that were defeated by Fleetwood Town in midweek, with Claude Davis coming in for Haris Vuckic, meaning Kari Arnason moved forward into the vacant midfield berth.
Nouha Dicko started the game having scored three goals in as many appearances for the Millers since joining on loan from Wigan last month and didn’t have to wait long to add another to his tally.
Just 120 seconds had elapsed when Kieran Agard stung the palms of Elliott Parish in the Robins goal, before the ball fell kindly to Dicko who pounced at the back post to give the visitors an early lead.
Smelling blood in the water the Millers went after another, this time it was James Tavernier’s turn to let fly from distance which commanded a good save from Parish who obliged and turned the ball behind for a corner.
From the resultant set-piece Pringle’s delivery arrived at the feet of Claude Davis in the box before he laid off an onrushing Lee Frecklington, who saw his effort take a minor deflection and fly inches beyond the far post.
The Millers had dominated proceedings in the opening stages and came within inches of doubling their advantage on 18 minutes when Frecklington found a yard of space in the box, before a clever back heel to Alex Revell allowed him a shot on goal which Parish expertly pushed wide at full stretch.
However, the visitors would only have to wait another eight minutes for their reward which came when Pringle made a vital interception on the edge of his own 18-yard box to break down a Robins attack.
He then released Frecklington who charged 60 yards into the opposition box before unselfishly teeing up the Pringle once more, with the Millers’ number 18 applying a cool finish into the bottom corner to make it 2-0.
The hosts managed to form their first half chance on 34 minutes when a delivery from the right caused chaos in the Millers’ box and saw Sam Baldock nip in front of Collin, but he captain could not apply a decisive touch and the danger was averted.
The Robins’ captain looked intent on setting an example for his teammates and almost provided some inspiration on 36 minutes when he evaded two challenges in the box, before unleashing a powerful drive across goal which was turned behind for a corner by an outstretched Millers’ leg.
Half-Time: Bristol City 0 v 2 Rotherham
The Millers came out in the second half against both Bristol City and the strong wind that had been behind them in the first half at Ashton Gate, but this didn’t show early on with the visitors appearing intent on opening the gap between the two sides.
Kari Arnason’s long throw three minutes after the restart wasn’t heavily affected by the conditions and did reach the penalty area, before being half cleared to Frecklington who caught sight of goal, only to have his rasping effort blocked on it’s path to goal.
However, Steve Cotterill’s side returned to the field determined and it wasn’t long before the lively Baldock was making his presence felt in attack once more. A solid piece of defending from Claude Davis in a wide position was then followed by an important saving tackle from Tavernier as the Robins captain tested the Millers’ back line on two occasions.
Having already created the first goal Frecklington came close to adding another assist early in the second half when he was again the architect as he headed the ball into the path of Alex Revell, who blazed his half volley wide despite a lack of pressure from the Robins’ defence.
Adam Collin had been untested in the opening 45 minutes but was called upon just after the hour mark to make a splendid save from Marvin Elliott’s powerful half volley, which he tipped around the post to preserve his side’s two goal advantage.
As expected Bristol began to throw everything at Evans’ side but the Millers continued to repel their advances with Craig Morgan and Davis remaining resilient in the rearguard.
The Millers captain’s most notable contribution of the game came in the form of a wonderful saving tackle on Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, which prevented the striker a one-on-one with Collin as he charged into the area.
Former Doncaster Rovers man Simon Gillett almost found the back of Collin’s goal with his low drive from distance which had the Millers’ stopper well beaten, only to see it whistle past the far post.
The Millers then had to weather the storm created by the hosts and held firm until ten minutes from time when substitute Bobby Reid’s cross carried all the way through the Millers’ area and nestled in the far corner of Collin’s goal, to provide the hosts a lifeline.
The visitors picked themselves up after conceding but were still subject to numerous attacks from City who continued to punt the ball forward in search of an equaliser.
Baldock was again the focal point of the attack which this time saw him burst into the box only to have his powerful effort expertly saved by Collin who ensured his side retained their lead and returned north with all three points.
Full-Time: Bristol City 1 v 2 Rotherham
Bristol City: Parish, Moloney (Reid 61), Williams, Flint, Cunningham (Burns 77), Gillett, Elliott, Wagstaff, Emmanuel-Thomas, Baldock, Bryan (Shorey HT).
Unused: Fielding, Carey, Taylor, Pack.
Millers: Collin, Bradley, Morgan ©, Davis, Tavernier, Agard, Frecklington, Arnason, Pringle, Dicko (Tidser 88), Revell (Vuckic 91).
Unused: Shearer, Brindley, Tubbs, Rowe.
Attendance: 11,201 (433 Away).