Bristol City 0
Rotherham United earned another valuable point but will wonder how they didn’t get all three as they dominated Bristol City at the AESSEAL New York Stadium.
Warne’s injury-ravaged side were dealt another blow before kick-off by the withdrawal of captain Richard Wood. The skipper had to be replaced by Jon Taylor with Will Vaulks – sporting a protective headband for a cut suffered in the warm-up - moving back into central-defence.
Despite their disrupted preparation, Rotherham started the better of the two teams and forced a free-kick in a good crossing position out on the right. Ryan Manning delivered a teasing cross that was blocked in the six-yard box before being cleared at the feet of Will Vaulks.
After all of Rotherham’s dominance they were almost undone by a ball over the top for Diedhiou who was well challenged by Vaulks before managing to go through on goal with 10 minutes gone.
The Millers fashioned another chance on 14 minutes after a good breakaway down the right-hand side. Jones curled in a good delivery for Williams who rose well but planted a powerful header wide of the post.
The ball was in the net on 23 minutes after Diedhiou turned home a wicked delivery from the right but the linesman’s flag was up before the striker connected with the ball in the box.
Warne’s men were enjoying most of the ball and the home fans were treated to a moment of class from Joe Newell on 29 minutes. The winger flicked the ball over his opponent’s head as he turned so eloquently in the box before seeing his effort on the volley blocked just wide.
It was all Rotherham and they forced another corner after a great, flowing moving on 37 minutes. Taylor raced onto a long ball and delivered for Williams who missed his attempt before the ball almost fell for Smith but a deflection almost caused an own goal. Another corner followed with Vaulks forcing Maenpaa into a brilliant low save to his right as the Millers’ stand-in skipper nodded downwards from six yards.
After the break Rotherham’s best chance of the match came on 52 minutes through Michael Smith. Newell curled in a brilliant cross from the left which found Smith unmarked seven yards out, but his header was high and wide.
Matt Palmer found himself unlucky on 58 minutes when poised to lash a shot at goal as he met Smith’s cushioned header, but the referee pulled him up for a handball when it looked like it came off the midfielder’s shoulder.
The visitors had a rare sight of goal two minutes past the hour but Diedhiou fired straight at Rodak from outside the box. The Millers had done well to contain the visitors and pressed with their typical high energy as you would expect from Warne’s charges. Rodak had to make a better save moments later when he punched clear Watkins’ angled drive from inside the area.
As the clock ticked over 70 minutes the visitors’ best chance fell for Watkins as he beat the offside trap to meet Hunt’s header. The Welshman saw his first short saved by Rodak, before his second attempt was blocked and then hit the post with his third bite of the cherry from a yard out.
At the other end Smith could have broken the deadlock but his finish was a tired one – but the praise had to go to Williams who made a mockery of his marker with a sweet turn on the left before delivering for Smith.
Again the home side came close but Taylor and Ajayi couldn’t get a clean connection after the Millers put in another dangerous corner with less than 15 minutes remaining – the move coming after the introduction of Anthony Forde and Ben Wiles.
The brilliant Williams got a good sight of goal, albeit from a tight angle, on 82 minutes as he sprang the offside trap but he could only fire straight at the ‘keeper. It was a superb run from the Australian to beat the linesman’s flag and he deserved more from his finish.
There was a let-off for Rotherham on 86 minutes when substitute Paterson curled at goal only to see his effort rattle the crossbar. Once again, the game swung the other way as the Millers countered, Williams having a shot deflect to Smith who forced Maenpaa into a good block.
In the first minute of four added, Ajayi did well to get in the way of Paterson’s volley as both teams went for the winner in the dying embers of the game.
Millers: Rodak, Mattock, Vaulks, Ajayi, Taylor, Palmer (Wiles 75), Manning, Newell (Forde 69), Williams, Smith, Jones.
Subs: Price, Onariase, Lewthwaite.
Bristol City: Maenpaa, Webster, Baker, Brownhill, Diedhiou, O’Dowda (Taylor 61), Weimann (Paterson 80), Kelly, Eliasson (Watkins 61), Pack, Hunt.
Subs: O’Leary, Dasilva, Walsh, Hegeler.
Referee: Gavin Ward
Attendance: 8, 187 (293)