Norwich 1 v 1 Rotherham - ReportRotherham United picked up a valuable point on the road after a hard fought 1-1 draw against Norwich City at Carrow Road.
After leading at the break thanks to a Paul Green penalty the Millers were pegged back in the second half by a Cameron Jerome strike as Steve Evans' side gave a great account of themselves against the league's pace setters.
Boss Evans made three changes to the side that beat Blackburn Rovers at New York Stadium on Tuesday night. There was a first start of the season for former Norwich defender Richard Brindley at right-back, with Frazer Richardson pushing into the right side of midfield and Paul Taylor dropping down to the substitutes' bench. Craig Morgan returned to the heart of the defence to replace the injured Kirk Broadfoot, whilst there was a recall in attack for Matt Derbyshire with Luciano Becchio unable to play against his parent club.
There was a start for former Rotherham United striker and current Canaries' hot-shot Lewis Grabban who lined-up alongside Cameron Jerome in attack for the home side, who also boasted rising star and England under-21 international Nathan Redmond in their ranks.
It was a sedate opening six minutes before the home side began to exert some influence on proceedings when Jerome's shot was scuffed towards goal but it was an easy claim for Adam Collin. Then the Millers sprang into life themselves missing a glorious chance to take the lead on nine minutes. Ben Pringle's free-kick from midway inside the Norwich half was flicked to the back post by Kari Arnason, Morgan rose to nod the ball into the six-yard area but Derbyshire couldn’t force the ball over the line as his effort from close range was smothered by John Ruddy.
On 15 minutes the home side ripped the Millers open with a sweeping move which almost brought the opening goal. Redmond was found in space down the left before gliding across the rain-soaked surface towards the edge of the area. The former Birmingham winger picked out the galloping run of Bradley Johnson on the right but with time to take a touch he blazed his shot high and wide of Collin's left-hand post.
That sparked a good spell for the home side who began to force the Millers back into their own half. On 22 minutes good work from Wes Hoolahan resulted in a square pass to Jerome who was lurking just inside the area but after getting the ball out of his feet he dragged his shot wide of the far post. Moments later the Millers responded when Pringle's ball in behind was brilliantly controlled by Derbyshire but his centre from the by-line evaded Alex Revell in the penalty area.
Norwich were back on the attack on 25 minutes when Redmond made good ground from halfway eventually finding Martin Olsson marauding forward from left-back. Olsson then delivered a wicked cross with pace into the six-yard area finding the head of Jerome, but his effort flew past Collin and whistled beyond the far post.
Redmond was seeing plenty of the ball and took aim from 25 yards but Lee Frecklington scampered across to make a terrific block to deny the flying winger.
Despite the increased possession for the Canaries, the Millers were holding their own with Collin remaining untested as the game passed 30 minutes. Pringle's delivery put the hosts in a tricky spot on 32 minutes but Olsson just about did enough with Frecklington homing in, whilst at the other end Brindley survived a shout of handball mainly from the Carrow Road faithful.
With the home fans starting to exert their frustration, the Millers almost snatched the lead on 38 minutes. Richardson dropped a wonderful pass in behind the City defence which Derbyshire brought down well off his chest, with Ruddy coming out to meet him he was about to take aim but Johnson scurried back to make a crucial last ditch challenge. At the other end a Redmond centre was glanced agonisingly wide of the post off the head of Jerome.
Then came a minute of drama with action at both ends. First the home side should have gone in front when a Redmond cross was headed towards goal by Grabban but Collin made a fantastic one-handed save to deny the former Miller. With the ball loose in the area Jerome smashed the follow-up towards goal to be denied by a brilliant block on the line by Arnason, before Jerome had a second bite of the cherry, this time it was Collin again to the rescue making a remarkable save at point blank range. With City still reeling at their near miss the Millers broke down the other end with a long ball over the top from Richardson which set Derbyshire free and as he beat Ruddy to the ball he was sent sprawling to the ground resulting in a penalty kick and a booking for the England stopper. Green stepped forward to calmly slot the ball into the bottom corner sending the Canaries' 'keeper the wrong way.
Norwich City 0 v 1 Rotherham United
Norwich flew out of the blocks at the restart and within three minutes came within a whisker of drawing level. Grabban was picked out inside the area with his back to goal and after twisting one way and the next he unleashed a ferocious strike which sizzled across the six-yard area and just beyond the far post.
The Millers came close on 56 minutes when Olsson's sliced clearance deflected behind for a corner and from resulting centre Arnason just failed to connect at the near post. On 57 minutes the Millers came close again when Revell played in Derbyshire down the right of the area but his low shot flashed wide of the far post. Rotherham continued to press with Frecklington's 20 yarder flying over after being teed up by Richardson.
Redmond then felt the wrath of the home support when his shot from 25 yards swerved miles wide of Collin's goal.
Norwich brought on Kyle Lafferty to try and swing the game in their favour and they threatened an equaliser on 65 minutes. After a handball by Brindley, Redmond whipped in a free-kick which only needed a touch but none was forthcoming, but Collin had a heart-stopping moment when he spilled the ball only for Arnason to clear in the nick of time.
Then a slice of luck for the Millers when Lafferty's daisy-cutter deflected off Jerome with Collin already committed to the original shot. The ball then cannoned off the post with the Millers ‘keeper watching helplessly as the Millers scrambled the rebound away to Jonny Howson who fired over from 20 yards.
After absorbing the Norwich pressure the Millers were denied a second when Morgan's header from a corner looked a certain goal but Howson was in the right place at the right time to sweep the ball away off the line with Ruddy beaten.
On 78 minutes Norwich's pressure told when the Canaries won a free-kick following a handball by Arnason. Lafferty curled the free-kick around the wall but the ball hit the inside of the post only to fall for Jerome who stabbed the ball home from close range.
Now fired up with the home crowd in full voice Norwich poured forward. Redmond had an header comfortably held on 80 minutes, then Richardson was booked for alleged time wasting. As the game ebbed into the last five minutes sub Josh Murphy twice fired dangerous centre's across goal as the Millers continued to hold firm.
In stoppage time sub Jordan Bowery sprinted down the right before shooting from a narrow angle but the ball deflected into the side netting and City cleared the resulting corner.
In the final minute Grabban almost got a shot away which Morgan sliced just over his own bar and the referee blew for full time shortly after.
Norwich City 1 v 1 Rotherham United
Norwich: Ruddy; Martin, Turner, Hooiveld (Murphy 75), Olsson, Redmond, Howson, Johnson, Hoolahan (Lafferty 64), Jerome, Grabban.
Subs not used: Rudd, Whittaker, Tettey, O'Neil, Odjidja-Ofoe.
Rotherham:Collin; Brindley (Bowery 71), Arnason, Morgan, Skarz, Richardson, Frecklington, Green, Pringle (Clarke-Harris 66), Revell, Derbyshire (Wordsworth 78).
Subs not used: Loach, Hall, Taylor, Rowe.