Millers striker earns point…
Rotherham United were dealt a late blow as Bradley Dack’s goal with nine minutes remaining salvaged a point for Tony Mowbray’s Blackburn Rovers as the sides shared the spoils with a 1-1 draw at Ewood Park.
The Millers were just nine minutes away from securing an away victory in the Championship after striker Michael Smith’s opener with just 15 minutes of the game remaning. However, Dack’s goal meant they have secured a third point on the road in the Championship following away draws at both Middlesbrough and Preston prior to this game.
Following the Millers’ 2-1 win over Swansea City at the AESSEAL New York Stadium last week, Rotherham chief Paul Warne opted to make three changes to his side. Out went Will Vaulks (suspended), Jon Taylor and Kyle Vassell, meaning Richard Wood, Ryan Manning and Joe Newell all came into the side.
The first chance of the game fell the way of the visitors when Ryan Williams won it high up the pitch and Smith looked to control in the box before the returning David Raya claimed under the pressure of Newell.
It was a fast start and minutes after a chance at one end, down at the other, Zak Vyner made a vital interception at the back post as he turned a cross behind with a Blackburn player waiting to pounce.
Some good play involving Newell and left-back Joe Mattock as they combined well before the former’s cross was cleared by the head of ex Miller Richie Smallwood, before Vyner made another excellent clearance as the hosts broke into the area.
Soon after midfielder Richie Towell went close for the Millers as his volley from the edge of the area went over the top and onto the roof of the net, Marek Rodak then made a superb save from Amari’i Bell before Dack skewed an effort wide of target.
With 11 minutes before the break Adam Armstrong went close for the hosts but his effort came back of the bar so close, Rodak had no chance, moments later, Harrison Reed took a short corner to Dack whose effort was blocked by a sea of bodies infront of goal.
In first–half stoppage time Rodak claimed well at the back post from Bennett’s cross and that was the last action as the teams went in level at the break.
Half-Time: Blackburn Rovers 0-0 Millers
The first chance after the break came for the hosts as Danny Graham saw a curling effort saved by Slovakian keeper Rodak to keep the scores level.
Rodak then made another good save to deny the long-range effort from Elliott Bennett before the same again happened as Rodak saved from Bennett whose effort this time was a tamed one.
Rotherham’s first chance saw Darragh Lenihan clear off the line from an effort by Smith, at the other end, Wood cleared Graham’s header off the line to keep the scores level.
The Millers were lucky not to go behind 11 minutes after the break as Dack tried to head Smallwood’s effort home but his header couldn’t find the target.
Blackburn had a spell of pressure as Dack went close but he was denied by an excellent stop by Rodak after the midfielder was one-on-one with the Slovakian.
Graham’s header across goal from Bennett’s cross went wide of target before the Millers took a shock lead at Ewood Park.
Williams did well to dig out a superb cross to the back post where Smith rose the highest to head back across goal and into the corner of the net to put Warne’s men into a shock lead.
Moments later, Taylor broke well and found Smith who returned the pass but an heavy touch in the box the move broke down, before Rodak made a fantastic save from Armstrong’s effort and then Wood cleared off the line.
With nine minutes remaining Blackburn rescued a point through controversial circumstances, Dack turned home from Brereton’s cross but it was offside in the build-up which the officials didn’t spot.
With five minutes to go, Williams saw a shot deflected into the arms of Raya, at the other end Dack teed up Kasey Palmer whose effort went wide from 18 yards.
Blackburn had the last chance of the game to win it but Bennett could only fire an effort off target, before Armstrong fired wide from a corner.
Full-Time: Blackburn Rovers 1-1 Millers
After the game, Millers boss Paul Warne believed his side were full vaule for their hard-earned point, speaking to the media after the game he expressed his pride at the manner of the Millers performance at Ewood Park.
“I think it was a point gained,” Warne said.
“Their play definitely deserved a goal but it’s a bit disappointing that we could not hang on for the three points, which would have been a good day for us.
“Marek (Rodak) made a few saves and they missed a couple of good opportunities. They caused us a few problems so for us to get a point and go five unbeaten, is good for us. The lads gave me everything so I have no complaints.”
Despite Rovers’ late equaliser Warne believed that the point could prove to be a vital one, after stressing his side can take tremendous credit from the performance.
“I thought we started the game really well for the first 20/25 minutes. Blackburn is a difficult place to come and they have only lost one in 30 odd games here,” Warne added.
“We knew how difficult it would be. They got back into the game and I thought in the first part of the second half, we just couldn’t get out.
“We couldn’t retain the ball and they had a 20 minute spell. They definitely deserved a goal for their efforts.”
Warne was also quick to express his delight at striker Michael Smith who found the net for the second away game in a row, saying the goal was a reward for his brilliant display, as the Millers’ sole frontman.
“My lads just don’t give up and they keep throwing their bodies in the way,” Warne added.
“We like to get crosses into the box and our goal was the only time that Willo (Ryan Williams) went past (Amari’i) Bell in fairness. For Smudge, who works so hard for the team, to get another goal was hugely impressive and enjoyable and fully deserved for him. The only disappointment was that Smudge did not score that goal in the 85thminute!”
Blackburn- Raya, Reed (Nyambe 46), Rodwell, Smallwood (Brereton 77), Armstrong, Graham (Rothwell 77), Bell, Dack, Lenihan, Bennett, K Palmer.
Substitutes- Leutwiler, Rothwell, Brereton, Downing, Travis, Conway.
Millers- Rodak, Vyner (Wiles 70), Mattock, Ajayi, Wood, Towell, Robertson, Manning, Newell (Taylor 60), Williams (Vassell 90), Smith.
Substitutes- Price, Forde, M Palmer, Proctor.
Referee- D Webb
Attendance- 12,847 (683 Rotherham)
Picture Credit: Rotherham United