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REPORT | Brentford 1 v 0 Rotherham

27 April 2021

Rotherham United failed to cut the points gap to Sky Bet Championship safety, as they fell to defeat at the hands of play-off incumbents Brentford.

The Millers did not make the most of promising starts to both halves in West London, as Bryan Mbeumo’s first-half header settled matters in the favour of the Bees.  

For their first ever trip to the Brentford Community Stadium, boss Paul Warne made three changes to his starting line-up, following their last outing at Barnsley.

Chelsea loanee Jamal Blackman took his place between the Rotherham sticks as Viktor Johansson was unavailable due to the early injury, he picked up at Oakwell.

Jamaican international Wes Harding and local-born Ben Wiles were back in the starting fold, while weekend man-of-the match Chiedozie Ogbene, who returned to his former club, was asked to play upfront alongside top-scorer Michael Smith, in a 3-5-2 formation.

The Millers settled into the affair well but they had an early scare when Saman Ghoddos fired a harmless looking cross but it dipped sharply in front of Blackman, who spilled the ball initially, but he gathered at the second attempt.

At the other end, Ogbene was felled by Ethan Pinnock near the touchline and Lewis Wing delivered a delicious free-kick into the box, but it narrowly evaded Rotherham runners, as it fizzed across the home goalmouth before Smith failed to trouble the target with a header from Harding’s cross.

Just past the quarter hour, Harding was unable to get Wing’s inch-perfect ball over the top under his spell and the chance was lost before Jamie Lindsay had a glimpse of goal when Brentford failed to clear the danger, but his clipped effort was straight down the throat of David Raya.

There was a bizarre moment when Charlie Goode tried to win a free-kick, but he was penalised after picking up the ball. Ryan Giles planted the resultant free-kick into the danger area and club skipper Richard Wood rose highest to meet his centre, but he could not direct his header goalwards.

Minutes later, Angus MacDonald volleyed over from the edge of the box but Brentford, arguably against the run of play, opened the scoring with their first real attack of note.

There looked little danger for Millers until Sergi Canos ghosted past Harding with ease before delivering a tantalising centre which saw Mbeumo, get a yard of space on MacDonald, to power a point-blank header past Blackman, who had no chance, in the visitors goal.

Both sides traded chances when Ogbene’s header from Smith’s cross was smartly gathered by Raya, on his own goal line before Ivan Toney’s low free-kick was collected with ease by Blackman, at the other end.   

The Bees were now looking a more dangerous proposition in the final third and Toney blazed over before Canos was inches away from meeting Toney’s centre, in their next attack.

Warne’s side had visibly lost the spring in their step, and Emiliano Marcondes’ threaded ball saw Canos make easy work of MacDonald, before clipping a left-foot effort which threatened the Millers goal, but Blackman smartly plucked his shot out of the sky.

The Spaniard was proving the Millers tormentor-in-chief, and he again got the better of Harding, before drilling a low effort which smashed into the side netting with Blackman scrambling across goal.

There was a crucial moment, in stoppage time, when Emiliano hooked a ball over the top and Toney won a footrace with MacDonald, to bare down on goal, but the home hitman was denied his 30th goal of the season, when he cannoned his shot against the foot of the post, before a combination of MacDonald and Blackman snuffed out the danger.

Half-time: Brentford 1 Rotherham United 0

With the words of Warne ringing in their ears, Rotherham started the second half on the front foot, by penning the Bees deep in their own half, but much like the first period, they were unable to create any clear-cut chances.

It was Brentford who had the first attack of the half when Ghoddos worked the opening and Mads Roerslev swung over a centre which was met by Toney, who planted a downward header which forced a good, reflex save from Blackman, who kept the ball out.

On the hour mark, Harding executed an ambitious overhead kick which flew harmlessly wide of the target before Emiliano flashed an effort across the face of the Rotherham goal.   

The introduction of Freddie Ladapo led to a change in Rotherham personnel and shape but it was the Bees, who threatened next when Toney jinked past Michael Ihiekwe, before firing a cross-cum-shot wide.

The Millers got into a couple of good areas when Ihiekwe shot straight at Raya before Smith failed to make the most of an opportunity when the ball ran away from him in the box.

In a last throw of the dice, Warne made a triple substitution with a quarter of an hour to go, and one of those replacements, George Hirst had a half-chance but his low effort was blocked en-route to goal, by Ladapo.

At the other end, sub Mads Bidstrup blasted over from a tight angle before Blackman kept his side in the game by denying Emiliano with a superb, acrobatic save.

The Millers threw caution to the wind, in their pursuit of a share of the spoils, near the end, and it nearly came when sub Dan Barlaser made something out of nothing to dig out a cross, but agonisingly, Ihiekwe headed straight into the grateful arms of Raya.
 
In the dying seconds, fellow sub Kieran Sadlier had a deflected shot which looped into the grasp of Raya before Marcus Forss flashed wide, in the game's last act. 
 
The Millers, who are never short of hard work and endeavour, gave their all but it was ultimately in vain, and they now have three games to save their season, as they slipped to their 19th single-goal defeat of the season in the capital.     

Full-time: Brentford 1 Rotherham United 0

Teams: Brentford- Raya, Goode, Pinnock, Sorensen, Roerslev, Janelt (Jensen 89), Ghoddos (Bidstrup 74), Marcondes, Canos (Fosu 74), Mbeumo (Forss 74), Toney. Unused- Daniels, Norgaard, Reid, Stevens, Gordon.

Rotherham- Blackman, Wing, Wood (Ladapo 66), Wiles (Sadlier 85), Ogbene (Hirst 76), Lindsay (Barlaser 76), Harding (Olosunde 76), Ihiekwe, A MacDonald, Smith, Giles. Unused- Vickers, Clarke, S MacDonald, Jozefzoon.

Referee- M Salisbury


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