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Match Reports

REPORT | Rotherham 4 v 0 Blackburn

14 January 2023

Match Reports

REPORT | Rotherham 4 v 0 Blackburn

14 January 2023

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Handsome win for Millers....

Rotherham United ripped up the Sky Bet Championship formbook when they earned a superb, eye-catching victory over promotion-chasing Blackburn Rovers in front of the Sky TV cameras.

Matt Taylor’s men earned their first league victory since early November following a fabulous display, which belied their poor recent form of late.

Hakeem Odoffin gave them the dream start with an early opener before Ollie Rathbone doubled their lead, early in the second half, with a thunderous finish.

Shane Ferguson added a third when he scored directly from a corner before Conor Washington rubbed salt into Rovers wounds with a well-taken fourth, in the dying minutes of the game.   

Prior to kick-off, Taylor was boosted by a couple of defensive reinforcements in the January transfer window, in the shape of free agent Sean Morrison and Leeds loanee Leo Hjelde.

Both players were thrown immediately into the fray for the AESSEAL New York Stadium affair.

Experienced Championship campaigner, Morrison, was playing at the heart of the Millers defence alongside Cameron Humphreys while highly-rated Hjelde was asked to ply his trade on the left-side of the Millers four.

The Millers, roared on vociferously by the Red and White Army prior to kick-off, were quick out of the blocks and they made the perfect start by breaking the deadlock within the first minute with Hjelde in the thick of the action.

The Norwegian full-back intercepted possession before getting the ball back and he skipped down the left flank before playing an innocuous centre across the face of the Blackburn defence which Rovers skipper Dominic Hyam made a hash of clearing and the ball fell invitingly for the on-rushing Odoffin, who unleashed a fierce shot with the outside of his boot from the edge of the box and his effort arched away from the outstretched hand of Thomas Kaminski to find the bottom corner of the net.

Odoffin, who had notched his first league goal in Millers colours, then showed his defensive instincts to block Bradley Dack’s snap shot at close quarters.

Dack, often the orchestrator pulling Blackburn’s strings, clipped a lovely ball over the top of the Rotherham rearguard, but Sam Gallagher could not get the ball under his spell and Viktor Johansson, who was playing his first home game since put pen-to-paper on a new deal, was quick off his line to smother the danger.

The Millers were fighting tooth and nail for much-needed possession and Rathbone and Ferguson brought the fans to their feet with back-to-back hard hitting tackles.

The home side then had a scare when a floated cross saw Jack Vale volley goalwards but Lee Peltier bravely blocked his effort before Harry Pickering picked up the pieces to whip in a cross which was met by Dack, just yards out, but he headed narrowly wide of the target.

Just after the half-hour, Rathbone was in the thick of the action again and Joe Rankin-Costello and Ryan Hedges were both victims of superbly-timed tackles from the home midfielder, but Rotherham’s move came to nothing.

With half-time approaching, Johansson was called into action on three occasions, and he did not prove wanting as he firstly plucked Vale’s effort out of the sky before Tyler Morton’s defensive-splitting pass looked set to give Hedges with the perfect chance to level matters, but the Swedish stopper pulled off a top-drawer save. In stoppage time, Gallagher rose highest to meet Pickering’s centre but his headed effort lacked power and the home ‘keeper was able to gather with ease.

Half-time: Rotherham United 1 Blackburn Rovers 0

In a carbon-copy of the first 45, Rotherham, now attacking the KCM Waste Management Stand, were fast starters and once again, they caught Blackburn cold, by doubling their advantage in spectacular style.

Following a period of probing around the Blackburn box, Rathbone latched onto a loose ball before working a yard of space on his marker, before unleashing a rasping drive from distance – with his weaker foot, and with Kaminski flying through the air, the ball hit the underside of the crossbar before bouncing back into play, from which Odoffin looked to scramble the rebound home, but following seconds of uncertainty, the assistant referee was flagging furiously, and the goal was given.

Rathbone – realising this – then embarked on a goalscoring celebration in front of the home fans, before being joined by his teammates.

The visitors made a triple substitution, in an attempt to turn the tide of the game, but it was the Millers, who threatened next, when Humphreys won possession on halfway and Rathbone, who was buzzing with confidence, drove hard at the Rovers defence before electing to shoot rather than pass but sub Ash Phillips blocked his goalbound effort.

Rathbone slightly blotted his copybook for cynically hacking down sub Dilan Markanday, and receiving a yellow card in the process before Chiedozie Ogbene embarked on a trademark lung-bursting run from deep, which released the pressure on the hosts when he was brought down.    

From the next play, Conor Washington forced a corner, and Ferguson delivered an inswinging corner which caused havoc in the Blackburn box, and bizarrely, the ball found the Rovers net directly from the corner with Kaminski powerless as he could only help the ball across his own line.

The Millers were forced into a change when Morrison’s race was run, but he received a well-deserved standing ovation from three corners of the AESSEAL New York Stadium following a fine debut.    

The home side made a further quartet of changes near the end, but there was more drama to come in stoppage time.

There looked little danger for the visitors until Dan Barlaser slide a lovely pass into the feet of Washington, who cleverly worked a yard of space to drill a low effort which found the Rovers net via the inside of the post.

Full-time: Rotherham United 4 Blackburn Rovers 0

Rotherham United 4

Blackburn Rovers 0

Teams: Rotherham- Johansson, Barlaser, Ogbene, Washington, Ferguson (Harding 88), Rathbone, Peltier (Bramall 88), Odoffin (Lindsay 90), Morrison (Wood 80), Humphreys, Hjelde (Kioso 88). Unused- Hemfrey, McCart.  

Blackburn- Kaminski, Pickering, Ayala, Hyam (Phillips 59), Morton, Gallagher (Markanday 56), Rankin-Costello, Hedges (Dolan 56), Dack, Vale, Garrett. Unused- Pears, Edun, Carter, Markanday, Travis.

Referee- D Whitestone

Attendance- 10345 (1778)

 


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