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Match Reports

REPORT | Rotherham 2 v 0 Birmingham City

27 August 2022

Match Reports

REPORT | Rotherham 2 v 0 Birmingham City

27 August 2022

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Rotherham United set a new club record for number of games unbeaten to start a second tier season as they overcame the challenge of Birmingham City with a 2-0 win at AESSEAL New York Stadium.

The streak had previously stood at four and was set by Ronnie Moore's team of the early 2000s but was surpassed on 27th August 2022 by Paul Warne's modern day Millers.

There were 11 leaders on the pitch, but it was the captain of the ship Richard Wood who grabbed the headlines with a double salvo – with goals either side of the break – which would earn the points for the Millers and move them up to sixth in the table.

The Millers made a start as bright as the South Yorkshire sunshine to the game at AESSEAL New York Stadium and had their first sight of goal when Conor Washington’s industrious running once again carved an opportunity for the striker, who beat John Ruddy to the ball, but looped an effort over the roof of the net from a tight angle.

With nine minutes on the clock, a Dan Barlaser corner was cleared only as far as Brooke Norton-Cuffy, who quickly fed Chiedozie Ogbene, whose effort was well-saved by Ruddy.

At the other end moments later there was a scare for the Millers when a mistake by Cameron Humphreys almost presented a chance to Scott Hogan, but thankfully Viktor Johansson was quick off his line to smother.

All four sides of AESSEAL New York Stadium then came together to show their support in the 12th minute to former Millers custodian Lewis Price in a round of applause, with the former goalkeeper recently being diagnosed with testicular cancer.

Rotherham continued to make the majority of the early running and on 25 minutes Barlaser’s clipped cross into the area was turned wide by Humphreys.

Just before the half-hour mark Grant Hall’s downward header had to be tipped over the bar, but the Millers’ persistence would pay off just a minute later when they found the breakthrough.

Barlaser was once again the architect with his cross into the six yard area which was powered home by the head of Richard Wood, who wheeled away in delight in front of the travelling Birmingham supporters.

It could and should have been 2-0 when Cohen Bramall’s low cross was turned wide by the ever-dangerous Ogbene from close range.

An even better chance came their way with less than five minutes on the clock before the break when Barlaser’s perfectly-weighted pass reached Ogbene at the byline, where he showed good composure to stand up a cross for Ben Wiles, who turned the ball at goal on the volley but struck it down into the turf and was forced to watch on as it agonisingly bounced over the crossbar.

It looked like the final act of note of the half saw Barlaser send a searching ball over the top into the box for Wiles to give chase to, but in the end had to ease off his run as it skipped away off the turf and out for a goal kick.

However, the skipper Wood almost conjured another magic trick as he charged forward to head a free kick at goal, forcing Ruddy into a good save at full stretch, only for the offside flag to go up moments after he tipped it around the post.

Half-time| Rotherham 1 v 0 Birmingham City

After a first half which would have given Warne and his troops with plenty of reasons to be positive, the second started on a note less so and would result in Humphreys being forced off in the early exchanges.

The composed defender found himself retreating to keep Hogan at bay, before pulling up sharply appearing to clutch his hamstring with further misery being prevented by Johansson’s strong one-handed save to keep the Blues forward out. The injury would result in the first Millers’ substitution of the afternoon though with Wes Harding replacing Humphreys, to line up against his old club.

Moments later another Millers player would fall foul to injury and prompt a replacement. This time, Cohen Bramall’s marauding run saw him dart beyond his man and make the byline to cross, but as his centre was turned away, he was wiped out and rendered unable to continue, with Shane Ferguson entering the fray at his expense.

The hosts were almost dealt a large helping of fortune when Grant Hall – who had been a rock-steady influence at the back – nearly caught Ruddy on his heels. His cross from the right was definitely intended that way, but almost dropped over the ‘keeper’s shoulder and into the far corner before eventually settling on the roof of the net.

Hall was then involved at the other end where he applied a heroic block to Marc Roberts’ thunderous strike in the block, ending a dangerous attack and preventing Johansson from being called into action.

Ogbene – despite not appearing in this report as a headliner too much – had been a constant thorn in the side of the Blues’ defence and proved to be that and more on 61 minutes.

Having previously had two half-hearted appeals for a penalty for fouls on him turned away, the flying Irishman would this time see Gavin Ward point to the spot after he was upended.

That paved the way for Barlaser to take the resultant penalty in front of the Kop end, but the experienced Ruddy trailed a leg as he dove to his left, which prevented the Geordie’s strike from hitting the back of the net.

‘The Magic Man’ - as he has come to be known around these parts – clearly isn’t done pulling rabbits out of the hat at the ripe old age of 37.

Barlaser atoned for his penalty miss with another sumptuous ball into the box on 71 minutes and, via the slightest intervention from Washington, Wood would help himself to a second, throwing himself at the loose ball in front of goal to send the Millers fans into raptures and make it 2-0.

Washington had again led the line tirelessly and went in search of his reward with a fierce strike inside the box which drew an assured stop from Ruddy to deny him.

Both sides rang changes in the dying embers of the game for differing reasons, but the Millers did so in an attempt to professionally see out the result.

Scott High and Tom Eaves were introduced late on and both joined the battle in preserving their side’s advantage moving into the final 10 minutes.

Brooke Norton-Cuffy, making his league debut for the Millers, had been quiet but incredibly efficient and proved to be just that again in the defensive third as he launched himself in the way of a Gary Gardner effort inside the six yard box to prevent the Blues pulling one back.

Keen not to surrender the clean sheet on a fantastic afternoon, Johansson made a wonderful save at full stretch to ensure that Marc Roberts' header didn't ripple the back of the net and set up a nervy finish.

Full-time | Rotherham 2 v 0 Birmingham City

 

Millers | Johansson; Hall, Wood, Humphreys (Harding 48); Norton-Cuffy, Barlaser, Rathbone (High 75), Wiles, Bramall (Ferguson 53); Washington (Eaves 74), Ogbene.

Unused | Vickers, Lindsay, Kelly.

 

Birmingham City | Ruddy; Sanderson, Roberts, Trusty; Colin (Graham HT), Bacuna (Bellingham 83), James (Thirk 67), Hall (Gardner 67), Williams; Deeney (Cosgrove 67), Hogan.

Unused | Etheridge, Chang.

Attendance | 11,027 (2,275)


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