Millers fall to tenacious Terriers…
Matt Taylor made a handful of changes to the side that battled to a point against Stoke City as Richard Wood dropped to the bench, and both Ben Wiles and Lee Peltier were out of the squad completely due to injury.
Ultimately, goals from David Kasumu and Jordan Rhodes sank the Millers as the home side gained a valuable three points.
Last time Matt Taylor’s Millers took to the pitch in an all-Yorkshire affair, it ended in one of the most significant, impressive, and hard-fought victories in the club’s recent history – tonight, they would look to emulate that performance.
Huddersfield, on the other hand, would be looking to exercise the ghosts of a few months ago, when Rotherham United defeated the Terriers at the AESSEAL New York Stadium. Now on their own patch, Mark Fotheringham’s men will be doing everything in their power to stop Rotherham completing a first league double over them since 1964.
Here’s how the action unfolded…
It was a frigid night at The John Smith’s Stadium, and the beginning of the game echoed that. Both teams spent the opening minutes sizing each other up as neither wanted to be the first to make a mistake.
It would be the home side who would blink first as Ollie Rathbone found space thanks to his surging run from midfield. The tenacious midfielder found a ball for Tom Eaves, who shrugged off his man before shooting towards goal. Lee Nicholls, in between the sticks for the Terriers, got down well to make the stop.
After a balanced start to the game, Huddersfield looked to take the game by the scruff of the neck, applying pressure on the Millers box and looking to take it to Matt Taylor’s men. Jack Rudoni received the ball to the left of the Rotherham United box after Jordan Rhodes held off him man to spread the play. Rudoni delivered an inviting cross towards the back-post, which was met by a leaping David Kasumu – his header over the bar.
Though the Millers withstood the pressure, the Terriers barks became a bite when Duane Holmes latched onto a loose ball in between the midfield and defensive lines, driving at the Rotherham United defence and taking a stab towards goal. A fully stretched Johansson came inches from making the stop, but the ball snuck in off the Swede’s far post.
Huddersfield showed little sign of letting up once they took the lead, however this isn’t to say the Millers weren’t their moments. Conor Washington looked sharp since his early introduction, combining well with the skipper Barlaser before finding Peter Kioso with space on the right flank. Kioso’s low driven ball aimed across the face of goal troubled the Huddersfield defence, though they managed to clear the ball for a corner.
Huddersfield came mere inches from doubling their lead on the stroke of half time when Rudoni floated a ball towards the Millers’ far-post, just seeking a finishing touch. Both Josh Ruffels and Jordan Rhodes came sprinting towards the goal to apply that touch, but both fell narrowly short as the result was a Rotherham goal-kick.
HALF TIME: HUDDERSFIELD 1 – 0 ROTHERHAM
It was the home side who created the first chance of the second 45’. Jack Rudoni had been a thorn in the side of the Millers all evening and looked to compound that with a goal when he leaped to meet Jordan Rhodes’ cross. However, the Terriers’ ’22 couldn’t get the height on his jump as he could only nod backwards.
Cohen Bramall lifted a strong travelling Millers contingent up off their seats when we received the ball in his own box, before shifting rapidly through the gears and carrying the ball right up to the Huddersfield box. His sly ball for Rathbone appeared to have caught the Terriers’ defence napping, but Hogg was able to get a faint touch to disrupt the play.
The game looked to have bust into life in the second half, as the chances were end-to-end. This time, Rudoni showed good vision to find the run of Kasumu in behind. The goalscorer looked to cut back to give Jordan Rhodes a simple finish, but Johansson made himself big to produce an incredible save to keep the Huddersfield lead at one.
Despite Johansson’s heroics, the home side would double their lead when Kaine Kesler-Hayden found Jordan Rhodes on the edge of the Rotherham United box. Rhodes looked up and made no mistake in his finish this time, sending the Huddersfield Town fans into the rafters.
The ‘never say die’ attitude that is ingrained into each Rotherham United player was beginning to show as Matt Taylor’s men continued to fight for a way back into the game. The evening’s captain Dan Barlaser looked to curl a ball towards the path of Washington. The striker was inches away from making a vital connection, but Michal Helik used his size well and cleared the danger.
Arsenal loanee Brooke Norton-Cuffy looked lively the moment he stepped foot on the pitch, evidenced when he looked to drive at the Huddersfield defence. The Millers’ number 10 delivered a low ball which slid through the legs of Will Boyle and into the path of Chiedozie Ogbene. The Irishman looked to fire at goal on the spin, but his effort was blocked.
FULL TIME: HUDDERSFIELD 2 – 0 ROTHERHAM
Huddersfield – Nicholls, Hogg ©, Rhodes (Simpson 74’), Boyle, Ruffels, Kesler-Hayden, Kasumu (Camara 84’), Holmes (Mahoney 84’), Rudoni (Thomas 61’), Lees, Helik.
Unused – Bilokapic, Spencer, Ayina.
Rotherham – Johansson, Harding, Bramall, Barlaser ©, McCart (Norton-Cuffy 75’), Eaves (Washington 19’), Ogbene, Lindsay (Odoffin 75’), Rathbone, Humphreys, Kioso (Ferguson 63’).
Unused – Hemfrey, Wood, Bola.
Referee – Jeremy Simpson