Colchester 0 v 0 Rotherham - Report
Rotherham United extended their unbeaten run in Sky Bet League One to 10 games after a goalless draw with Colchester United at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.
The Millers couldn't breakdown a stubborn home side with Alex Revell coming closest, in a game bereft of clear cut chances, when his low shot was turned behind.
Steve Evans was forced into a change at the back with Miles Addison replacing Kari Arnason who was missing due to international duty, whilst Rob Milsom returned to the subs bench.
Five minutes into the Millers first ever visit to the Weston Homes Community Stadium Evans' side could have been in front. The in-form Lee Frecklington burst into the area before crossing from the right, before the ball was palmed out of the six yard area by 'keeper Sam Walker but straight into the direction of Ben Pringle whose goalbound effort was blocked by the Colchester defence.
The home side responded and had their first meaningful effort of the game when Sanchez Watt's cross to back post found Freddie Sears but his looping effort landed on the roof of Adam Collin's net.
After a surge from left-back from Ryan Dickson which was snuffed out, the Millers were given another mini-warning on 15 minutes when Sears burst in behind the back four but his drilled cross flashed across the six yard area to safety.
The game was a slow burner with very little in terms of chances in the opening 20 minutes. James Tavernier, fresh from his goal at the weekend, tried his luck from distance on 22 minutes but he skewed his shot well wide of Walker's near post.
The biggest cheer of the half came when referee Brendan Malone took a tumble resulting in a stoppage for the official to receive attention from the Colchester physio. After a delay of a couple of minutes the Wiltshire enforcer was able to continue to a warm round of applause from the crowd.
On 32 minutes the Millers came close when a Pringle corner was headed down by Haris Vuckic into the direction of Addison, but the Bournemouth loanee steered his volley just wide of the post from close range.
A minute later Colchester thought that they had gone in front when a high hanging cross into the area was dropped by Collin under intense pressure from Clinton Morrison. The loose ball was converted by Watt but the referee promptly blew for a free-kick curtailing the Colchester celebrations, and former Millers loanee Marcus Bean was then carded for his protests.
On 38 minutes Mr. Malone failed to run off his earlier injury meaning fourth official Fred Graham was unexpectedly promoted into the spotlight in his place.
Just before the interval Kieran Agard tested the reactions of Walker with a smart turn and shot from the angle of the penalty area, but the U's stopper got his positioning spot on and held on to a low effort from the Millers' top scorer.
In stoppage time Agard was bundled to the floor with his back to goal after receiving the ball on his chest, but the referee waved away any appeals for a spot kick.
Colchester United 0 v 0 Rotherham United
After a fairly sedate first 45 minutes the Millers started the second period with renewed vigour and had the first opportunity three minutes into the peace. A cross from the right from Richie Smallwood picked out Agard who, with his back to goal, connected superbly with an acrobatic effort which fizzed over Walker's crossbar.
On 53 minutes the Millers tested the U's 'keeper when Pringle threw the ball to Vuckic who quickly powered in a shot from the angle which was well held low down by Walker. The Millers continued to press forward and Walker was again called into action on 55 minutes when Agard found a yard of space on the edge of the area, but his curling effort was again held by the former Chelsea custodian.
The best chance of the game thus far came just before the hour mark. Vuckic fed the ball into the feet of Revell who charged into the area before firing in a low shot from the right of the box which was deflected behind off the legs of Walker.
The Millers were now totting up the attempts on goal but were still waiting for a clear cut opening against a dogged U's outfit. Walker was again called into action on 62 minutes when Frecklington tried his luck from distance, this time the U's 'keeper held on easily but was clearly the busier of the two stoppers.
With the scores still level boss Evans replaced Vuckic with Nicky Adams on 66 minutes with Agard joining Revell through the middle.
Despite the Millers having the majority of attempts it was home team who came agonisingly close to opening the scoring on 68 minutes. Gavin Massey played a clever ball into the feet of the advancing David Wright whose cross to the back post picked out Watt who steadied himself before crashing a shot against the bar and over.
Evans reacted a minute later by replacing Smallwood with Michael O'Connor.
The Millers almost created a good opening on 77 minutes when a knockdown by Revell fell kindly into the path of Frecklington who powered into the area, but as he took aim with a firmly hit shot an outstretched Colchester leg denied him his 12th goal of the season. In the very next attack another half chance was created when Tavernier crossed from the right but sub Adams blasted over from 12 yards out.
The Millers were dealt a late blow when a clearly dazed Frecklington had to be replaced after an accidental clash of heads in the heart of midfield, Mark Bradley was his replacement.
Colchester United 0 v 0 Rotherham United
Colchester: Walker; Wright, Okuonghae, Eastman, Dickson, Massey (Vose 78), Bean, Wilson, Watt (Olufemi 90), Morrison, Sears (Bonne 70).
Subs not used: Cousins, Eastmond, Sanderson, Sesay.
Rotherham: Collin; Tavernier, Morgan, Addison, Skarz, Agard, Smallwood (O'Connor 69), Frecklington (Bradley 88), Pringle, Revell, Vuckic (Adams 65).
Subs not used: Shearer, Brindley, Milsom, Hitchcock.
Attendance: 2,655 (322)