Cardiff City 0 v 0 Rotherham - Report
The Millers had to settle for a share of the spoils as they were held to a 0-0 draw by play-off chasing Cardiff City in Wales.
Both sides lacked a cutting edge in the game at Cardiff City Stadium and were hindered in their effort to break the deadlock by two solid goalkeeping performances from Adam Collin and David Marshall.
Steve Evans was forced to make two changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Blackpool last weekend, with Alex Revell and Kari Arnason coming in to replace the injured Kirk Broadfoot and Matt Derbyshire for the clash in Wales.
Lee Frecklington was also omitted from the squad after sustaining an injury in the reserves in midweek.
Emmanuel Ledesma tested the alertness of Marshall in the Cardiff goal after just two minutes had elapsed in Wales with a powerful volley from the edge of the box, which the Bluebirds stopper had to keep his eye on as it flew wide of his post.
A free-kick from the right saw the hosts create their first half chance of the game, which saw Sean Morrison rise highest at the back post to head Peter Whittingham’s pinpoint cross just wide.
The Millers almost had the opener from an unlikely source when Scott Wootton latched onto a knock down on the edge of the area before skipping past the goalkeeper, only to have his heavy touch cleared before he could apply the finish.
It was the visitors again who almost broke the deadlock as the half-hour mark approached in Wales, a wicked delivery from Ben Pringle on the left that saw Revell’s unorthodox effort gathered by Marshall once more.
The addition of Leicester City forward Tom Lawrence has looked a shrewd one since his arrival on loan deadline day, giving the Millers a different dimension in attack.
His energy and persistence had given the Bluebirds cause for concern since the off and almost paid dividends when he stole possession high up the pitch, before leathering a volley over the crossbar from 20 yards.
John Brayford’s speculative strike from 30 yards was probably the most notable the hosts had mustered, but his daisycutter was easy for Adam Collin to smother at his near post to ensure the teams went into the break on level terms.
Half-time: Cardiff City 0 v 0 Millers
The youthful exuberance of Lawrence was almost Cardiff’s undoing again after the restart with his industrious approach keeping the hosts’ rearguard on their toes.
Five minutes after the break he picked the ball up on the corner of the box and shimmied clear of three defenders before unleashing a low strike on goal with Marshall on hand to deny him the opener.
A free-kick 20 yards from goal provided the Millers’ next meaningful chance with Marshall stood debating whether Ledesma or Lawrence would strike it goalward.
It was the on-loan Middlesbrough man that stepped up and rippled the side netting with a good curling effort that flashed just wide with the goalkeeper well-beaten.
The aerial threat of Kenwyne Jones had been nullified by the Millers’ defence from the outset, but he did give them a reason not to switch off when he rose highest to meet Sean Morrison’s cross in the six yard box.
In a game where both sides were struggling to create any clear cut chances it was understandable when Ledesma let fly from distance.
The Argentinean winger’s thunderous drive from 20 yards had Marshall scampering across his goal to produce a wonderful flying save to keep it deadlocked at 0-0.
The Millers then had Collin to thank for the scores remaining level when substitute Federico Macheda was released one-on-one before he guided the ball towards the far corner only to see an outstretched arm from the Millers’ stopper make the all important contact to divert the ball away from goal.
Buoyed by Cardiff’s attacking intentions the visitors wasted no time in reminding the hosts that they were in town for all three points.
Revell must have thought he’d scored when he found himself with acres of space to attack Richie Smallwood’s cross at the far post, but a fingertip from Marshall carried his header onto the crossbar and out of play.
The game opened up after a flurry of chances but the visitors appeared to have taken the confidence from their series of attacks.
A number of crosses from Noone caused problems before Craig Morgan was required to make a vital interception from a delivery from the opposite flank that had left Collin stranded with Macheda waiting to pounce behind him.
In the end, neither side could compromise the opposition’s defence and Evans’ men collected an important point to edge them closer to Sky Bet Championship survival.
Full-time: Cardiff City 0 v 0 Millers
Cardiff City: Marshall ©, Brayford, Turner, S Morrison (Da Silva 80), Connolly, Bo-Kyung, Whittingham, Gunnarsson, Noone, Le Fondre (R Morrison 84), Jones (Macheda 66).
Unused: Moore, Adeyemi, Daehli, Ralls.
Millers: Collin, Wootton, Morgan ©, Arnason, James, Ledesma (Bowery 75), Green, Smallwood, Pringle (Taylor 84), Lawrence (Clarke-Harris 89), Revell.
Unused: Thompson, Richardson, Newton, Brandy.