Millers maintain unbeaten run with home draw against QPR...
Rotherham United were denied a precious three points in stoppage-time as QPR levelled late on at the AESSEAL New York Stadium, which saw the sides play out a 2-2 draw.
With three goals arriving in the opening 15 minutes, Will Vaulks’ long-range effort had been cancelled out by Nahki Wells’ tap-in before Clark Robertson nodded in his first Millers goal. The Millers were left disappointed as Luke Freeman managed to squeeze in a late, close-range header to deny Rotherham maximum points.
A downpour at the AESSEAL New York Stadium in the build-up to kick-off made for a delightfully zippy surface as Paul Warne’s men went head-to-head with QPR in South Yorkshire. Warne was without the services of Ryan Manning; the Hoops loanee ineligible to play against his parent club, meaning Matt Palmer stepped into the starting XI.
The visitors started the brighter of the two sides, but besides an early corner, there was little threat to the Rotherham goal in the opening six minutes.
But a minute later, it was the QPR goal that was troubled as the Millers burst into the lead. Taylor was typically making a nuisance of himself down the left-hand channel and laid the ball off for Towell on the edge of the box. The Irishman squared a perfect ball for the advancing Vaulks to thump low into the right-hand corner of a stranded Lumley’s net.
QPR responded and after a fright in the six-yard box, they hauled themselves level on 12 minutes. The unfortunate Ryan Williams failed to clear and the ball landed at Nahki Wells’ feet for the striker to prod home from inside the six-yard box.
The action didn’t stop there as the Millers regained the lead on 15 minutes in this breath-taking opening. Will Vaulks launched a long free-kick into the box from just inside the centre-circle and Clark Robertson towered above everyone to loop home a fine header into the far corner for his first Millers goal.
After a lull in the action, goal-scorer Wells leapt to greet Bidwell’s cross but couldn’t direct his header on target with half-an-hour played. At the other end, Taylor did well to spin in the area and crack an effort just over the bar after receiving Towell’s incisive pass inside the box.
On 35 minutes, a barge into Palmer by QPR’s Pawel Wszolek caused the referee to take his time with a big decision. In the end, it was only a yellow for the Rangers midfielder.
Just as the board indicated, the Hoops were presented with a glorious opportunity to make it 2-2 with a free-kick on the edge of the box, but Eze struck his shot straight into the Millers’ wall.
After the break, the Millers kicked towards their own fans and were looking to preserve or even extend their slender lead. The first sight of goal in the second-half came for the away side, but Wszolek couldn’t direct a shot on target with his back to Rodak on 51 minutes.
Semi Ajayi then had the look of an experienced striker on 54 minutes as he calmly controlled a header by Palmer in the area. Unfortunately the big defender’s shot was straight at Lumley.
Paul Warne made his first change of the night on the hour as Jon Taylor, seemingly not recovered from a knock in the first-half, was replaced by Joe Newell out on the left.
Rangers wanted a penalty after Leistner went down near Ajayi on 63 minutes, seconds before Eze charged forward only to fall over the presence of Joe Mattock. Despite waving away a free-kick, the referee opted not to book the winger.
QPR should have restored parity on 68 minutes when Luke Freeman bent in a dangerous ball that flashed across the face of goal with Wells only needing the most of deft of touches but, thankfully, the striker couldn’t connect for another easy second.
In a reshuffle for Warne’s men, Richard Wood replaced Palmer, meaning Ajayi moved into a deep central-midfield position for the last 20 minutes.
There was nothing deep about Ajayi’s position on 79 minutes when he raced onto Towell’s lay-off from 25 yards and swept a sweet strike towards goal. With Lumley worried, it curled just over the top of the crossbar.
Moments after Mattock almost grabbed a sensational solo goal but for a tame finish, Freeman flashed a shot at goal from 20 yards after a slick QPR counter only to find Marek Rodak in inspired form as the Slovakian parried away for a corner on 82 minutes.
There was more incredible action from Rotherham’s number one as he made an even better save moments later. Eze brought down a headed clearance inside the box and his volley seemed destined for the top corner – again Rodak flung himself across goal to beat the ball away, bringing the New York to its feet.
Seconds after the fourth official’s board showed five minutes of added time, there was heartache for Rotherham as Luke Freeman squeezed a header in at the near post. It was devastating for the battling Millers, especially after the earlier heroics of Rodak.
Jamie Proctor almost repeated his weekend magic as he cushioned a shot at goal, forcing Lumley into a great save low to his left but Warne’s side had to settle for a point.
Millers: Rodak, Vyner, Mattock, Vaulks ©, Ajayi, Palmer (Wood 69), Taylor (Newell 60), Towell, Robertson, Williams (Proctor 86), Smith.
Subs: Price, Forde, Wiles.
QPR: Lumley, Bidwell, Cameron, Freeman, Eze, Luongo (Scowen 76), Rangel, Wszolek (Hemed 69), Wells (Smith 76), Lynch, Leistner ©.
Subs: Ingram, Hall, Cousins, Osayi-Samuel.
Referee: A Woolmer
Attendance: 8.018 (524 away)