Millers have to settle for point..
ROTHERHAM United had to settle for a share of the spoils in their Roses clash with Wigan Athletic, despite shading large parts of the AESSEAL New York Stadium affair.
Clark Robertson’s second goal for the club put the Millers ahead but Josh Windass soon equalised for the Latics.
Following their hard-fought draw at Millwall last time out, Millers chief Paul Warne made two changes to his starting line-up for the visit of the Lancastrians.
There were recalls for Anthony Forde and Jon Taylor, who were asked to provide the ammunition from the wide areas while January recruit Matt Crooks was rewarded for his fine performance at the Den – with his full home debut.
The Millers started the game in a positive fashion and they had the first sight of goal when Joe Mattock floated a free-kick into the box but Semi Ajayi was unable to direct his header goalwards.
Moments later, Will Vaulks launched a long throw into the Wigan area and following a weak defensive clearance, Taylor latched onto the pieces to volley over the bar from the edge of the box before Rotherham failed to capitalise on a goalmouth scramble following Michael Smith’s knockdown – with the ball hacked clear by a retreating defender.
In the next Millers attack, Taylor showed fleet of foot to evade the attentions of Kal Naismith but his cross was diverted to safety, at the near post before Latics skipper Danny Fox’s participation in the game came to a premature end as he was stretched off following an aerial collision with Smith.
Following a lengthy stoppage, Vaulks tried his luck from distance but Cedric Kipre bravely headed clear before Rotherham were rewarded for their early superiority when they broke the deadlock, just before the half hour mark.
There looked little danger when Mattock’s slide rule pass gave Vaulks the opportunity to cross with his weaker left-foot but the ball hung tantalisingly in the air and Robertson rose above his marker to direct a towering header which looped into the corner of the net giving Jamie Jones no chance.
However, Rotherham’s joy proved short lived as Wigan equalised, just four minutes later, when the home side were undone by a throw on the right flank and the ball was played into the path of Windass, who had ghosted into the box, and the ex-Rangers playmaker kept his nerve to strike a fierce effort which flew past the outstretched hand of Marek Rodak to find the bottom corner of the net.
Minutes later, Reece James curled a free-kick which was straight down the throat of Rodak before Rotherham missed a gilt-edged chance to regain the lead when Forde delivered a superb whipped centre which was inch-perfect for Millers skipper Richard Wood to head the ball back across goal into the path of Smith, who looked a certain scorer, but the Millers frontman fluffed his lines when he volleyed over despite having the goal at his mercy.
The widely travelled striker almost made amends, minutes later, when Vaulks clipped a free-kick which saw Smith emerge from the ruck of bodies to head towards goal but a backtracking Jones showed good agility to tip the ball over the bar.
Half-time- Rotherham United 1 Wigan Athletic 1
The Millers had the first sight of goal in the second period when Vaulks’ exocet throw was headed over his own bar by Chey Dunkley before Ajayi was another recipient of the home weapon, seconds later, but his glancing header failed to trouble Jones in the visitors’ goal.
Kipre became the first to see yellow for a late tackle on Vaulks before Mattock delivered a first-time cross which was met by the head of Smith, but Jones was well-stationed on his own line to snuff out the danger.
Either side of the hour mark, Wigan had their best spell of the game when Naismith got a yard on Taylor to float a tantalising centre which arched over Rodak but Mattock held off the challenge of Anthony Pilkington, at the far post, to bravely head clear from underneath his own crossbar.
Minutes later, Pilkington got to the by-line to swing a centre which was nodded downwards by Sheffield United loanee Leon Clarke, but Rodak smartly smothered his effort on his own goal line.
At the other end, another Vaulks throw caused havoc in the Wigan box and Smith emerged from the masse of bodies to head goalwards but Naismith was on-hand to clear the danger, near his own line – with Jones flat-footed.
Minutes later, Ajayi became the next to see yellow for bundling over Pilkington near the corner flag and Wigan almost punished the Millers from the resultant free-kick when James curled a centre into the danger area and Kipre ballooned a point-blank header over when he really should have done better.
There was controversy when sub Joe Newell delivered an inviting corner with his first touch and Robertson and Clarke clashed at the far post, which left the Scottish defender grounded but the referee waved away home protests.
Minutes later, Pilkington was cautioned for dissent following a corner award before Newell latched onto a period of ping pong in the Wigan area to nod goalwards but his effort lacked power and Jones plucked the ball out of the sky.
With the game in the balance, the Millers were indebted to Rodak for an acrobatic parry from Naismith’s tantalising cross before Robertson headed over the bar in the late noteworthy action of the game.
Full-time- Rotherham United 1 Wigan Athletic 1
Rotherham United 1
Wigan Athletic 1
Teams:- Rotherham- Rodak, Mattock, Vaulks, Ajayi, Wood, Forde, Taylor (Newell 69), Robertson, Crooks (Towell 79), Smith, B Jones. Unused- Price, Vyner, Ihiekwe, Yates, Wiles.
Wigan- J Jones, Byrne, Fox (Kipre 24), Windass, James, Pilkington, Baningime, Jacobs (Massey 90), Naismith, Dunkley, Clarke. Unused- Walton, McManaman, Powell, Olsson, Garner.
Referee- O Langford
Attendance- 9611 (1243)