Rotherham 3 v 3 Fulham - ReportROTHERHAM United came within a whisker of back-to-back home victories but struggling Fulham broke Millers’ hearts as they pegged them back three times during a titanic tussle.
During an even first half, Alex Revell was credited with the opener following Paul Taylor’s shot before Ross McCormack levelled from the spot soon after.
Jonson Clarke-Harris netted his second in two games with a neat flick before Cauley Woodrow equalised for the second time moments later.
In the dying minutes, Ben Pringle looked certain to have earned Steve Evans’ men victory until visiting skipper Dan Burn pounced late in the game to earn the Londoners a point.
Following their adrenaline-fuelled derby victory over Leeds United on Friday, the Millers made two changes to their starting line-up for the visit of the Londoners.
Clarke-Harris was rewarded for his winning goal against the West Yorkshiremen by being granted a striking berth as Matt Derbyshire dropped to the bench while Ipswich loanee Taylor was also promoted to the starting eleven following his impressive substitute cameo in the televised clash as Ryan Hall missed out.
The visitors had the first sight of goal when McCormack picked himself after being fouled, to plant an inswinging free-kick which was met by the head of Woodrow, but his glancing header was straight down the throat of Adam Collin.
At the other end, Pringle fired a hanging centre which beat the attentions of Revell before Fulham countered with purpose, paving the way for Elsad Zverotic to skip on the overlap before firing a cross-cum-shot which had Collin backtracking nervously as the ex-Carlisle stopper was forced to tip over the bar.
Just before the quarter hour, Marcus Bettinelli had to take evasive action to snuff out Pringle’s tantalising centre before the ex-Derby midfielder squandered an inviting free-kick from just outside the box after Fulham skipper Burn was penalised for bundling over Clarke-Harris.
However, the Millers stunned the visitors by breaking the deadlock just shy of the half-hour mark.
There looked little danger until Taylor injected pace into the move by cutting inside from the flank and with the visitors' defence backing off, he curled a left-footed effort through a ruck of bodies and with Bettinelli possibly unsighted by this and the possible presence of Revell in his line of vision, who looked to have the nicked the ball en-route to goal, as it squirmed into the bottom corner of the goal.
With both Taylor and Revell wheeling away in celebration, the visitors’ surrounded the referee Mark Brown and the assistant referee, appealing vainly for offside with Revell seemingly interfering with play, but their protests fell on deaf ears with Bettinelli booked in the process.
However, Rotherham’s joy proved short-lived as Fulham were presented with the opportunity to level matters from the spot just five minutes later.
Moments after, George Williams stung the palms of Collin with a drive from distance, the visiting winger left Frazer Richardson in his wake before advancing menacingly into the box where he was upended by Lee Frecklington and the referee had no hesitation in pointing for a spot-kick.
After a short delay, McCormack kept his nerve from the resultant penalty as he wrongfooted Collin to find the bottom corner of the net.
The home side responded positively to the setback with Revell volleying over before Frecklington almost went from villain to hero when his perfectly-timed run was tailor-made for Pringle’s clever clipped centre but his goalbound header was smartly saved by Bettinelli.
With half-time approaching, Kari Arnason’s bullet throw had the visitors’ defence at sixes and sevens before Paul Green’s was inches away from making contact with Pringle’s delightful centre as the ball fell into the grateful hands of Bettinelli.
Half-time:- Rotherham United 1 Fulham 1
Following the restart, the Londoners’ were quick out of the blocks and Lasse Christensen showed Green a quick pair of heels before drilling a low effort into the arms of Collin.
Moments later, Konstantinos Stafylidis fired a fizzing effort which was parried to safety by the Rotherham stopper before Woodrow became the next to have a sight of goal following good work from Thomas Eisfeld but his weak effort from the edge of the box failed to trouble Collin.
Moments later, Frecklington dragged an effort harmlessly wide before Rotherham regained the lead ten minutes into the half.
Following Arnason’s long-throw, the visitors only half cleared back into the path of Icelandic international, who pulled the ball back into the path of Pringle, whose snap cross to the front post saw Clarke-Harris, get a yard on his marker to deftly flick the ball into the heart of the visitors’ goal from point-blank range giving Bettinelli no chance.
However, as per the first half, Rotherham’s celebrations were soon cut short when Fulham equalised within three minutes.
Following a lightning counter attack, Christensen looked to have broken clear until to be caught by the Rotherham rearguard but the home side’s relief was only temporary, as he found Woodrow, who calmly cut inside to strike a fantastic left-footed effort from the edge of the box which arrowed into the far corner of the goal leaving Collin a helpless bystander.
Just past the hour mark, Revell’s downward header from Pringle’s corner bizarrely cleared the crossbar before the duo combined minutes later but the ex-Orient striker was unfortunately inches away from meeting Pringle’s tantalising centre.
Minutes later, Rotherham missed a gilt-edged chance when Arnason ghosted in unnoticed to meet Pringle’s flighted centre but off-balance, he was unable to turn the ball goalwards before Woodrow’s acrobatic effort from McCormack’s cross had Collin at full stretch at the other end.
With the game in the balance, Taylor’s dipping free-kick was smartly tipped over by Bettinelli before the home fans’ had their heads in their hands when Green’s clipped ball put Revell in the clear before he delivered a superb centre which saw sub Derbyshire look a certain scorer but he somehow screwed his header wide of the target when it looked easier to score.
In an enthralling encounter, Williams smashed an effort into the side netting following Craig Morgan’s error before the same player blazed over from distance in the next phase of play.
However, as the game looked to be heading for a draw, Rotherham superbly took the lead for the third time when following a period of pressure, the ball fell to Pringle, on the edge of the box before taking to aim to rifle a low drive which was seemingly deflected by Nikolay Bodurov as it found it’s way into the visiting goal, to the delight of the home masses.
With injury time approaching, Fulham broke Rotherham hearts for a third time when McCormack swung over a delightful corner which saw visiting skipper Burn lead from the front as he powered a downward header which found the home goal despite the attentions of a defender on the home line.
The visitors were sniffing blood and they almost snatched victory when a long punt forward saw sub Moussa Dembele nip infront of Collin but fortunately for the Millers, Arnason was on-hand to clear although his attempted clearance almost ricocheted off Morgan towards his own goal, before everyone was able to draw breath following a rip-roaring encounter.
Full-time:- Rotherham United 3 Fulham 3
Teams:- Rotherham- Collin, Skarz, Arnason, Frecklington, Revell, Green, Richardson, Pringle, Morgan, Taylor (Smallwood 89), Clarke-Harris (Derbyshire 78). Unused:- Loach, Broadfoot, Bowery, Swift, Wordsworth.
Fulham- Bettinelli, Stafylidis, Bodurov, Eisfeld (Dembele 64), Zverotic, Woodrow (Smith 82), Christensen, Williams, Hyndmanv (Parker 73), Burn, McCormack. Unused:- Kiraly, Hutchinson, Roberts, Kavanagh.
Referee:- Mark Brown
Attendance:- 8981 (632).