Millers earn hard-fought point......
The status quo was maintained at the top of the Sky Bet League One standings as Rotherham United earned a hard-fought point against fellow automatic promotion contenders Coventry City, thanks to Freddie Ladapo’s 16th goal of the season.
At a wintery St Andrew’s, Rotherham held a slender advantage at the break as Ladapo tapped home following Marko Marosi’s slip but they had to be content with a share of the spoils when Matty Godden levelled matters, just minutes into the second half.
Following their last-gasp victory over Accrington Stanley at the weekend, Millers chief Paul Warne made two changes to his starting line-up for the trip to England’s second city.
Hometown boy Ben Wiles and leading marksman Ladapo were rewarded for goalscoring contributions in the Roses clash, by being handed starting berths, at the expense of Kyle Vassell and Hakeeb Adelakun, who had to settle for places on the Millers bench.
Following a slow start by both sides, Coventry had the first attack of note when the ball ricocheted into the path of Max Biamou, who fired a stinging drive from just inside the box which brought a superb reflex save from Daniel Iversen, but any goal would have ruled out for offside.
Minutes later, skipper Richard Wood had to be on his toes to snuff out Callum O’Hare’s dangerous centre before Ladapo had Rotherham’s first shot in anger when he stung the palms of Marosi with a fierce drive before Michael Smith’s follow-up effort was blocked en-route to goal.
The Millers were finding their rhythm and Matt Crooks’ dink over the top fell kindly for Chiedozie Ogbene, whose first time shot brought a parried save from Marosi before the visitors broke the deadlock on 23 minutes from the resultant corner.
Dan Barlaser caressed a centre into the masse of bodies in the box and under the nose of Marosi but the former Doncaster stopper failed to take charge of the situation and Ladapo was on-hand to prod the ball home from close range – with the home side vainly appealing for an infringement.
Moments later, Wood became the first to see yellow for a hefty challenge on O’Hare before Crooks produced a fine tackle to prevent Godden from firing goalwards.
In a fine-flowing Millers attack, Wiles clipped an inviting cross which saw Smith head harmlessly over before Coventry failed to deal with a long-ball forward and a timely knock-on fell invitingly for Ladapo, who instinctively fired goalwards with his weaker left-foot but Marosi, atoned for his earlier error, by producing a top drawer save to keep the ball out.
Just past the half-hour mark, Matt Olosunde was cautioned for a late clip on Sam McCallum near the touchline before Coventry threatened when Kyle McFadzean diverted McCallum’s ball into the path of O’Hare, who fired over with the goal at his mercy, under pressure from a Rotherham defender.
With half-time approaching, Fankaty Dabo curled a cross which was met by the head of Biamou, but Iversen was well-stationed to pluck his effort out of the sky.
Half-time- Coventry City 0 Rotherham United 1
Coventry were quick out of the blocks, at the start of the second half, and McFadzean’s long punt forward gave Biamou, a glimpse of goal but Iversen struck out a timely hand to deny him but Rotherham failed to heed the warning as the home side levelled matters in their next attack.
Following a switch of play, Dabo got to the by-line to swing a delightful centre which was inch-perfect for Godden, who cleverly steered his downward header past the outstretched hand of Iversen to find the bottom corner of the net.
The Millers had a further scare when Crooks headed clear from underneath his own crossbar following McCallum’s free-kick – but the assistant referee had already flagged for offside before Rotherham hopes were dealt a blow when Barlaser was forced to leave the St Andrew’s pitch on a stretcher following a nasty knock.
With the game in the balance, O’Hare was yellow carded for a hack on Ogbene before Crooks soon joined him in the book for hauling down Liam Walsh.
Walsh was in the thick of the action and he twice threatened the Rotherham goal with well-struck efforts from distance before Smith had a goal disallowed, near the end, following a bout of ping-pong in the Coventry box.
Deep in stoppage time, Coventry came within a coat of paint of the winner when Walsh delivered a tantalising centre into the box and Godden ghosted away from his marker to head narrowly wide of the target.
In the last noteworthy action of the game, sub Shaun MacDonald hooked over – before the final whistle brought an end to a nail-biting encounter as Rotherham preserved top spot with Coventry remaining on their heels, in second spot.
Full-time- Coventry City 1 Rotherham United 1
Coventry City 1
Rotherham United 1
Teams:- Coventry- Marosi, Rose, McFadzean, Kelly, Biamou (Bakayoko 64), Hyam, O’Hare, Walsh, Dabo, Godden, McCallum (Giles 88). Unused- Wilson, Allen, Pask, Westbrooke, Shipley.
Rotherham- Iversen, Mattock, Wood, Wiles (Adelakun 62), Ladapo, Barlaser (MacDonald 73), Crooks (Lindsay 88), Ogbene, Ihiekwe, Olosunde, Smith. Unused- Price, Thompson, Vassell, Koroma.
Referee- C Pollard
Attendance- 8990 (1113)