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Match Reports

REPORT | Stoke 0 v 1 Rotherham

18 October 2022

Match Reports

REPORT | Stoke 0 v 1 Rotherham

18 October 2022

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Millers earn superb away win.....

Rotherham United produced a superb backs-to-the-wall performance to earn an eye-catching solitary goal victory over in-form Stoke City, in front of the Sky TV cameras.

Ollie Rathbone’s first league goal on the campaign early on silenced the bet365 faithful and the Millers were in no mood to squander their slender advantage as a combination of Viktor Johansson in inspired form and some wasteful home finishing in the face of resolute Rotherham defending earned the Millers their first Championship away victory of the season.   

Boss Matt Taylor reshuffled his pack for the midweek trip to Staffordshire.

The visitors made four changes from their weekend victory over Huddersfield Town.

Young defender Cameron Humphreys was drafted into the back three while Taylor freshened up his wing back options, in the shape of Arsenal loanee Brooke Norton-Cuffy.

Hakeem Odoffin, who was making his first Championship start, was asked to ply his trade in a defensive midfield role while fans favourite Georgie Kelly was rewarded for his match winner cameo against the Terriers, by being granted his first ever starting berth in Millers colours.

The Millers made a bright opening and they had the first sights of goal when firstly Odoffin dragged a long-range effort harmlessly wide of the target before some neat one-touch football paved the way for Shane Ferguson to deliver a delicious centre which was aimed at an unmarked Kelly in the box but Ben Wilmot hacked the ball behind his own goal.

From the resultant corner, Rotherham pressed again when Odoffin was involved in an aerial duel with Phil Jagielka, which ended with the former England man needing lengthy treatment.

However, it was worth the wait when Taylor’s side were rewarded for their fast start when they broke the deadlock on six minutes in the next phase of play.

A short corner from Ferguson caught Stoke napping, and Rathbone got the ball under his spell before unleashing a dipping effort, which bounced awkwardly, near the outstretched foot of Harding and a masse of players in the box, and Joe Bursik seemed to be deceived in the air, as the ball evaded his attentions before finding the corner of the home net.  

The home players and fans were visibly stunned by the setback and Rotherham threatened again when Dan Barlaser planted a corner which was only half-cleared into the path of Rathbone, once again, but the box-to-box midfielder could not repeat his earlier heroics with his weaker left-foot, and he blazed his shot into the fans behind the goal.

The home side sprang to life when Tyrese Campbell left Humphreys in his wake to dart to the touchline but his centre was cut out by Grant Hall before the same player was put in the clear following a lovely through ball from Dwight Gayle but Johansson kept his nerve in the one-on-one situation, by parrying the ball to safety after Campbell attempted to round him.

Stoke were finally going through the gears and Johansson was called into action again to firstly deny Tariqe Fosu with a sprawled save before home skipper Lewis Baker stung his palms with an effort from distance.

The game resembled a shooting gallery, in the space of a few seconds, when Morgan Fox became the next to take a pot shot at the Swedish stopper with a snap shot before Johansson finally took the sting out of the Stoke attack when he smartly gathered Baker’s follow up effort.

It was looking at matter of when not if Stoke would equalise and Manchester City loanee Liam Delap had his head in his hands when Fosu found him in acres of space, just yards out, but his tame header was straight into the grateful hands of Johansson before Fosu hooked over at the far post from Josh Laurent’s cross.

Minutes later, Ben Wiles became the first to see yellow for a slightly over the top challenge on Gayle.

In the latter stages of the half, Hall got himself in a muddle when Delap had the better of a tussle - which ended when the Stoke forward was brought down on the edge of the box - and despite the bet365 faithful baying for a red card for the Rotherham centre-half, the referee opted for yellow.

Baker smashed the resultant free-kick into the wall before Delap had two half-chances in stoppage time, but he failed to make it count on each occasion.  

There was a moment of controversy, in the half’s last act, when Delap tumbled under the challenge of Humphreys in the box, but the referee waved away home appeals for a spot kick – with the home forward, arguably, fortunate to escape sanction for simulation.

Half-time: Stoke City 0 Rotherham United 1

With both sides now attacking their own set of supporters in the second 45, Delay had the first shot in anger when his low effort was smothered by Johansson.

The home fans were ramping up the noise when Fox floated a cross which saw Johansson backtracking nervously towards the back stick as Delap headed towards goal, but Harding anticipated the danger to head clear from his near his own line.

Moments later, Gayle was close to turning home a right wing cross before Campbell’s goalbound effort was diverted away from goal by a retreating Rotherham defender.

The Millers were unsurprisingly taking the sting out of the game at every opportunity before Harding was cautioned for hauling down the dangerous Fosu near the touchline.

The home side made a double substitution in a bid to get back in the game and one of the replacements, Jacob Brown fired over following Campbell’s assist.

Taylor made a triple change himself soon after with Odoffin, Ferguson and the ever-willing Kelly replaced.

The Potters made a further two substitutions and Johansson had to show his bravery by punching clear ahead of Brown, despite looking second favourite to the ball at one stage.

The Millers were indebted to their ‘keeper, once again, when he showed good hands to deny Brown.   

Alex Neil’s side continued to press and they came within a whisker of the equaliser when sub Jordan Thompson delivered a tantalising centre which was met by the head of Campbell, who headed back across goal, and for once, Johansson could only pray that the ball fizzed wide of the upright.

The hosts’ desperation for a share of the spoils was summed up when Campbell dragged a shot hopelessly wide of the goal.

Taylor’s side had a couple of late scares when Thompson planted a cross which sub D’Margio Wright-Phillips attempted to turn home from close range, but Johansson was in no mood to be beaten, as he scuffed the ball away from goal.

The best was yet to come, in the dying seconds, when sub Nick Powell rose highest to meet Brown’s corner but the Swedish ‘keeper produced a top drawer save to preserve the visitors' lead.

Home frustration boiled over when Brown blazed over just before the final whistle as the Rotherham players deservedly received the acclaim of the 400 plus band of away supporters at the end. 

Full-time: Stoke City 0 Rotherham United 1

Stoke City 0

Rotherham United 1

Teams: Stoke- Bursik, Fox (Clarke 68), Jagielka, Baker, Campbell, Gayle (Powell 71), Wilmot, Delap (Brown 71), Sterling (Wright-Phillips 79), Fosu (Thompson 79), Laurent. Unused- Bonham, Flint.

Rotherham- Johansson, Harding, Barlaser, Wiles, Norton-Cuffy, Kelly (Eaves 76), Ferguson (Bramall 76), Rathbone (High 82), Hall (Wood 63), Odoffin (Washington 76), Humphreys. Unused- Vickers, Peltier.

Referee- G Ward

Attendance- 18036


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