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Match Reports

REPORT | Rotherham 2 v 2 Stoke

26 December 2022

Match Reports

REPORT | Rotherham 2 v 2 Stoke

26 December 2022

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Millers bravely battle to point against Potters…

It was a tough, physical battle under the lights at the AESSEAL New York Stadium as Matt Taylor’s men fought bravely to earn their share of the spoils.

Goals from Harding and Washington put the Millers up twice, but Stoke City kept fighting back to ensure they didn’t leave Yorkshire empty-handed.

The Millers last met with Stoke City a matter of months ago, when on a cold night at the bet365 Stadium, the Millers snatched all three points thanks to Ollie Rathbone’s effort. In an attempt to secure the league double over the Potters, Matt Taylor has characteristically shuffled the pack following disappointment at the Hawthorns last weekend.

Rotherham’s second home fixture back from the World Cup marks a first start since the restart for skipper Richard Wood. Tom Eaves is also handed another league start alongside Ollie Rathbone, who managed only a cameo against West Brom thanks to illness – however, now fit and well rested.

The visitors, backed by a noisy travelling contingent, got the action underway, but were quickly forced into their defensive positions as Dan Barlaser floated in a menacing freekick towards the captain Wood. However, a Potters defensive duo of Souttar and Fox managed to combine to clear the danger.

­­In a game that began a cagey affair with few clear-cut chances, it was Alex Neil’s men who appeared to have the lion’s share of the ball and seem to pose the larger threat of the two sides, however the Millers rearguard continued to stand tall and weather the storm with the entirety of the back five all contributing with brilliant challenges to holt the Potters advances.

Just before the half hour mark, concern arose for Ben Wiles who appeared to land awkwardly following an aerial duel. The Millers’ number 8 went down clutching his ankle, and was later carried off the pitch via stretcher to applause from both sets of fans, and replaced by Jamie Lindsay.

Despite the Stoke City pressure, the Millers still found openings in the defence. Chiedozie Ogbene appeared to be at the heart of Rotherham’s attacking threat, evidenced by his blistering run past Souttar. The Irishman then looked up and delivered an inviting cross in search of Linday, but Bonham was there to recover.

No sooner had the Millers fans nearly been sent into the rafters, has Stoke created a golden chance themselves at the other end. Tyrese Campbell found himself one on one with Johansson, but the Swede made himself big to deny the Potters attacker. The rebound fell kindly for Smallbone, but the skipper Richard Wood intervened with some defensive heroics, throwing himself in front of the follow up to keep the scores level.

With the half time break looming, Wes Harding latched onto a clever through ball from veteran Peltier that caught the Stoke defence napping. Wes looked to fire towards goal, with his effort taking a deflection of a Stoke shirt and nestling into the back of the net to put the Millers ahead.

HALF TIME: ROTHERHAM 1 – 0 STOKE

 

The sun had gone in and the floodlights were at full beam for the second 45’, but the Millers were still not short of bright ideas. Ollie Rathbone produced an audacious piece of skill when he slid the ball through Smallbone’s legs, advancing play to Ogbene who repeated the feat. Chieo then got his head up and delivered an inviting cross in search of a dangerously positioned Eaves, but Bonham was alert and collected the ball.

The Stoke City faithful were already on their feet cheering when Josh Tymon, who had been a thorn in the Millers’ side all afternoon, slid a ball across the face of goal. Sliding to tuck it into an open net was Jacob Brown, but the forward couldn’t quite get the ball under his spell as it deflected off the forward and flew over the bar.

It wouldn’t be long until the Potters drew level however, when Tyrese Campbell found himself one on one with Johansson, bounding towards the near-post. Campbell looked to slot the ball underneath Johansson, but the keeper produced a good save. Unfortunately, the deflection fell back to the feet of Campbell, who was left with the simple task of slotting the ball into an open goal.

The game appeared to fall flat following the visitor’s equaliser, until Matt Taylor made what would prove to be an inspired substitution. No sooner has Conor Washington been introduced to the action, had he bundled the ball into the back of the Potters net to restore the home lead. Rathbone showed incredible vision to split the Stoke defence and find Ogbene, he crossed into a busy Stoke City box, meeting Washington who made no mistake from close range.

The game burst into life as the neutral fan would have been treated to end-to-end football. This newfound energy in the game turned out to work against the Millers as Stoke earned a corner with ten minutes to go. The ball was floated into the box and on top of a sea of bodies, and through the confusion the ball appeared to cannon off a Rotherham defender and into the back of the net. All square again.

As full-time approaches, the game showed no signs of slowing. Substitute Clarke produced a cross from the right flank, finding the head of Brown. The Potters attacked aimed his header towards goal from close range, but cat-like reactions from Johansson ensured the scores were kept even.

FULL TIME: ROTHERHAM 1 – 1 STOKE

 

Teams

Rotherham – Johansson, Harding, Bramall (Ferguson 90+1), Barlaser, Wood ©, Wiles (Lindsay 30’), Eaves (Washington 65’), Ogbene, Rathbone, Peltier, Humphreys. Unused: Hemfrey, McCart, Odoffin, Kioso.

Stoke – Bonham, Fox, Souttar, Jagielka, Baker ©, Brown, Campbell, Tymon, Thompson, Delap (Clarke 74’), Smallbone (Powell 60’). Unused: Bursik, Wilmot, Kilkenny, Fosu, Taylor.

Attendance – 11,517 (2,285)


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