Millers held in Shrews stalemate....
ROTHERHAM United had a frustrating afternoon as they had to settle for a share of the spoils following a goalless draw with Shrewsbury Town.
Paul Warne’s side failed to recreate their goalscoring exploits against Bolton Wanderers from their last home outing, as the Shropshire side proved a tough nut to crack – with chances few and far between at the AESSEAL New York Stadium.
Following their hard-fought draw with Sunderland in midweek, Millers chief Warne was forced into one change to his starting line-up with American full-back Matt Olosunde ruled out.
Experienced operator Billy Jones was handed his first start of the season, in the right-back slot, while youngster Jake Cooper was named among the substitutes.
The Millers had the first sight of goal when Jake Hastie injected pace into a home move by forcing Donald Love into his box before clipping a centre which was met by the head of Freddie Ladapo, but the home frontman could not direct his header goalwards, as it flew harmlessly wide of the target.
Ladapo was in the thick of the early action and after charging down Max O’Leary’s attempted clearance, the ex-Plymouth striker turned creator with a left-footed centre which saw former Shrews striker Carlton Morris, nip in front of his marker, to toe-poke goalwards, but O’Leary was able to watch the ball dribble wide.
In Town’s first foray of note, Josh Laurent’s run and pass looked to have given Callum Lang a chance to strike, but a deflection from a retreating Millers defender almost saw the ball fall kindly for fellow striker Shaun Whalley, but Jones was on-hand to divert the ball to safety, despite wrongfooting Daniel Iversen in the process.
The Millers had a scare when a floated ball into the box was knocked down by Whalley into the path of Laurent, who smashed a point-blank effort against the foot of the post – but any goal would have been chalked off for offside.
There were faint appeals for a Rotherham penalty when Morris won a footrace with Shrews skipper Ollie Norburn in the box, who appeared to bring him down – but the referee deemed there was no contact before Ladapo stung the palms of O’Leary following a smart turn and strike from the edge of the box which forced the visiting ‘keeper to take evasive action with a reactive save.
Just past the quarter hour, Morris showed a turn of pace to race into the box before firing over harmlessly before Wiles’ clever clip over the top saw Hastie and Ladapo look well-placed to strike – but neither player could get the high ball under their spell and the chance was lost.
Minutes later, Ryan Giles shrugged off the attentions of Hastie before embarking on a mazy run which saw him evade a few more home players including last man Joe Mattock to clip a right-footed effort from the edge of the box which Iversen was forced to tip over before Ro-Shaun Williams looked a certain scorer when he met Sean Goss’ resultant corner, but he headed wide, under pressure from a home defender - with the goal at his mercy.
The Millers had lost their composure, temporarily, until Wiles tried his luck from distance but he failed to trouble the target before Jones became the first to see yellow for a clumsy challenge on Goss, ironically, against his hometown club.
With half-time approaching, Crooks and Morris combined to see the latter fizz a cross to the far post but Hastie’s delicate centre was plucked out of the sky by O’Leary before Crooks headed wide from Jones’ cross, in the last noteworthy action of the half.
Half-time- Rotherham United 0 Shrewsbury Town 0
The Millers had the first effort of the second half when Jones floated a cross which looked inviting for fellow full-back Mattock, at the far post – but Whalley was on his toes to snuff out the danger, by heading behind.
At the other end, Lang made something out of nothing to exchange passes with Whalley, before the latter scooped an effort harmlessly wide of the Millers goal before the lively Giles worked a yard of space on his marker to drill a low cross which Michael Ihiekwe, in an attempt to cut it out, almost put through his own goal, but the ball squirmed just inches wide with Iversen beaten.
The Millers were struggling to find their rhythm until Hastie’s daisycutter was straight down the throat of O’Leary before Ladapo’s shot on the turn was deflected narrowly over.
Minutes later, Laurent became the next to see yellow for a rash challenge on Ihiekwe before Shrewsbury failed to clear their lines decisively and Wiles pounced on the loose ball to fire a low shot from distance which was gathered by O’Leary on his own goal line.
The Millers were gradually asserting their authority on the game and after Morris was unceremoniously bundled over by Williams, Wiles clipped a free-kick which was collected by Ihiekwe, but his cross was cut out before the Millers centre-half looked well-placed to meet Hastie’s resultant corner, but he failed to make a connection, despite being just yards out.
With 15 minutes to go, Rotherham squandered an opportunity to make the decisive breakthrough when Lindsay’s cross was calmly stroked by Wiles into the path of Morris, who had ghosted away from his marker, but he prodded wide from eight yards when he maybe should have done better.
Minutes later, Beckles was cautioned for a clumsy aerial challenge on Morris before the Shrews were indebted to O’Leary for retaining parity when Hastie’s dabbed free-kick was flicked on by Ihiekwe towards goal but the visiting ‘keeper pulled off a top-drawer save to deny him.
In the dying minutes, Goss was booked for dissent following a handball award against Norburn before Shrewsbury successfully ran down the clock, including five minutes of stoppage time, for a well-earned point.
Full-time- Rotherham United 0 Shrewsbury Town 0
Rotherham United 0
Shrewsbury Town 0
Teams:- Rotherham- Iversen, Jones, Mattock, Wiles, Ladapo (Smith 67), Morris, Robertson, Lindsay, Crooks, Ihiekwe, Hastie (MacDonald 83). Unused- Price, Wood, Barlaser, Lamy, Cooper.
Shrewsbury- O’Leary, Williams, Beckles, Whalley (Walker 90), Norburn, Lang (Cummings 74), Giles, Love, Goss, Ebanks-Landell, Laurent (Edwards 86). Unused- Agius, Golbourne, Vincelot, Udoh.
Referee- C Boyeson
Attendance- 8380 (429)