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Match Reports

REPORT | Swansea 1 v 1 Rotherham

27 February 2023

Match Reports

REPORT | Swansea 1 v 1 Rotherham

27 February 2023

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Ogbene earns Millers valuable draw....

Chiedozie Ogbene’s eighth goal of the season earned Rotherham United a vital point in their Sky Bet Championship survival fight following a hard-fought point at Swansea City, in front of the Sky TV cameras.

On a weekend when all of their relegation rivals failed to register any points, Matt Taylor’s side extended their gap between themselves and the drop zone when Ogbene’s close range strike cancelled out Joel Piroe’s first-half opener.  

The Millers made the long trek to South Wales in good heart following their narrow victory over Sunderland last time out.

Taylor only made one change to his starting line-up.

Australian international Bailey Wright was drafted into the heart of the Rotherham rearguard with Grant Hall likely to spend a long spell on the side lines following the hamstring injury he sustained against the Black Cats.  

Skipper Ollie Rathbone and Lee Peltier were both passed fit to start the encounter at the Stadium.

There was a familiar face in the home ranks, in the shape of Ryan Manning, who ironically enjoyed one of his best moments in a Millers shirt, by notching two penalties in one game against the Swans.

The Millers almost made the perfect start within the first minute when home skipper Matt Grimes was stripped of possession, and Rathbone darted forward before playing a back flick into the path of Ogbene, who took up the baton, to cut inside before curling an effort – with his weaker left foot – and Swans ‘keeper Andy Fisher was powerless, as the ball struck the woodwork before falling to safety.

Russell Martin’s side were clearly intent on playing a possession-based system from the back, and despite one or two early concerns from the home faithful, it played dividends when Manning split open the Rotherham defence with a threaded pass and Ollie Cooper got the ball from under his feet before striking a rising effort which was straight down the throat of Viktor Johansson.  

The Millers threatened again when Ogbene was upended by Matty Sorinola on the edge of the box but Shane Ferguson failed to make it count from the resultant free-kick when his effort struck the Swansea wall.

Millers frontman Jordan Hugill was forced to tread a disciplinary tightrope for much of the game after being yellow-carded for hauling down Sorinola near the touchline.

The visitors had a scare, minutes later, when Joe Allen produced a superb tackle to turn over possession and Leo Hjelde, somewhat naively, bundled over Morgan Whittaker, just outside the box.

The Millers needed no reminding of Manning set-piece pedigree and the Irishman fired a lovely effort towards goal and Johansson was forced into an acrobatic save to prevent him haunting his former club.

Just shy of the half hour mark, Taylor’s side had a good spell of possession and territory without creating anything of note.

Swansea were playing a risky game at the back to the frustration of their own supporters and Fisher’s tame clearance fell for Rathbone and Peltier swung over a centre which Hugill – bravely attempted to meet against all the odds with a diving header – but a Swansea foot diverted the ball away from his attentions. Nevertheless, Hjelde latched onto the attempted clearance, to unleash a dipping half volley, which narrowly cleared the home crossbar.

Ogbene – a rumoured transfer target of the hosts last year – was proving a thorn in their side, and Joel Latibeaudiere was cautioned for pulling back the shirt of the Republic of Ireland international near the home box, although Rotherham did not punish the Swans from the following set-piece.

The Millers, who were generally acquitting themselves well in South Wales, had to withstand a spell of pressure from the hosts near the break and the Swans made it count by breaking the deadlock.

The visitors were given a warning when Piroe latched onto a loose ball before playing a defence splitting pass which paved the way for Whittaker, following an angled run, to bare down on goal, but Johansson won the battle of wills in the one-on-one situation, by doing just enough to divert his low effort away from goal before a retreating Rotherham defender finished the job, by hacking the ball clear.

However, Taylor’s side failed to heed the warning when the Swans opened the scoring just four minutes before the break.

Manning injected pace into a home move by fizzing a pass into the feet of Piroe, who got the ball under his spell with a classy first touch on the edge of the box, and his second was even better when Dutch player drilled a low shot which skimmed off the slick home surface to beat the outstretched hand of Johansson and find the far corner of the goal.

The Millers responded positively to the setback and Ferguson delivered a near post corner which was flicked on and Wright, who was off-balance, attempted to nod the ball towards goal but Ben Cabango was well-stationed to snuff out the danger.

Half-time: Swansea City 1 Rotherham United 0  

The Millers – with the words of Taylor ringing in their ears – managed to level matters in their first foray of note in the second 45.

The visitors switched play to great effect and Tariqe Fosu presented Ferguson with the chance to deliver a centre and the Northern Ireland international duly obliged with his favoured left-foot, and his cross bisected the home central-defenders, and Ogbene looked to turn the ball home on the stretch, but he somehow smothered the ball, just yards out, and despite being grounded, he toe-poked the ball home from close range.  

The small, but noisy band of Millers followers were in fine voice, but they were almost silenced immediately when Wright – as last man – clashed with Whittaker, who tumbled under his challenge, but the referee, despite vociferous home protestations, waved away their appeals, and no further action was taken.   

Minutes later, Hjelde was deservedly carded for a late challenge on Cooper before Hugill had a sight of goal following a first-time ball from Cameron Humphreys but his shot was blocked at close quarters.

With the game on a knife-edge, Fosu’s assist gave Ogbene the chance to strike, but the Millers goalscorer blazed his long range shot into the stand behind the goal.  

Nathan Wood became the latest to see yellow following a clash with Rathbone. The Rotherham captain was soon withdrawn as Taylor continues to manage his long-standing groin complaint with Wright taking on the skipper’s armband.

Both sides came close to the decisive winner with firstly sub Olivier Ntcham dug out a cross, for the hosts, and Piroe – a constant danger for the Swans – nipped in front of his marker to power a header goalwards, but fortunately for the Millers, it fizzed narrowly wide of the target.

Taylor’s side then threatened a winner on two occasions when two substitutes almost made an immediate impact from the bench.

Ogbene turned defence into attack with a barnstorming run but Conor Washington declined the opportunity to shoot despite racing into the home box and the chance was lost.

Minutes later, Swansea failed to clear a Rotherham corner and Georgie Kelly pounced on a loose ball to poke goalwards, but his point-blank effort was straight at Fisher, who instinctively kept the ball out with a superb, reflex save.

The Millers successfully withstood five minutes of stoppage time to earn a point which could prove crucial in the final reckoning.  

Full-time: Swansea City 1 Rotherham United 1

Swansea City 1

Rotherham United 1

Teams: Swansea- Fisher, Manning (Ntcham 57), Cabango, Allen (Fulton 57), Grimes (Cullen 90), Piroe, Whittaker, Latibeaudiere, Wood, Sorinola (Cundle 81), Cooper. Unused- Sondergaard, Darling, Walsh.

Rotherham- Johansson, Coventry, Fosu, Hugill (Washington 74), Ogbene, Ferguson (Kelly 78), Rathbone (Lindsay 73), Peltier (Harding 78), Humphreys, Wright, Hjelde. Unused- Vickers, Bramall, Odoffin.

Referee- G Ward

Attendance- 15144

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