Rotherham United 2 Stoke City 2
Manning (pen 47) Ince (59)
Towell (50) Bojan (85)
Rotherham United’s first draw of the season came in front of the New York Stadium in front of the television camera’s yesterday after Stoke City came back from two down to take a point home to the Potteries.
The first half saw the Millers Marek Rodak the busier of the two ‘keepers with just five minutes on the clock when he got down to smother a shot from Benik Afobe. The Millers replied with a shot of their own from just outside the area from Richie Towell before headers from Will Vaulks and Michael Smith were blocked. At the other end Rodak pushed away a shot from Saido Berahino and Semi Ajayi was on hand to clear before the ball could reach Afobe. After the Millers rode out some pressure from the visitors Joe Allen might have done better from just outside the area but his shot fell into the waiting arms of the Millers’ shot-stopper. On the half-hour mark a blunder by England ‘keeper Jack Butland nearly let Rotherham in after he played a ball out to a Stoke player while out of his area only for Ryan Manning to pick it up and have a shot from distance only to find the side netting. Tom Ince was being allowed much to much room and only some good defending from the men in red stopped his shot inside the box from finding the back of the net followed by an Afobe header which rattled the crossbar. In the final five minutes of the half Towell sent a lovely ball to Williams who saw his cross towards Smith cut out by a City player before a super pass from Manning wasn’t controlled by Joe Newell and the ball went out of play. Rodak was on hand again as the board went up for two minutes to collect a header from the dangerous Afobe.
The Millers came out fighting in the second half and after Ryan Williams skipped by his marker Ashley Williams into the box the Stoke man could only foul the Millers winger and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Up stepped Ryan Manning giving Jack Butland no chance to give the hosts the lead. And three minutes later it was two-nil after a Joe Newell corner found the head of skipper Richard Wood who sent the ball towards the goal and Richie Towell who made sure it went over the line sending the eight thousand Millers fans wild. Stoke didn’t lay down and straight up the other end Benik Afobe found himself one-on-one with Marek Rodak but his control wasn’t good and the move came to nothing. The Millers were forced into a substitution with Richard Wood leaving the pitch injured on fifty-five minutes and being replaced by Zak Vyner. Four minutes later the visitors halved the deficit after Joe Allen picked out Erik Pieters whose superb pass found Tom Ince who scored his second of the season. And minutes later Allen really should have got the equaliser when he thumped the ball against the crossbar when it looked easier to find the net. Rotherham had a chance to further their lead when a good cross in from Michael Smith saw Ryan Williams not quite getting to the ball for a tap-in followed by a header from Smith going just wide. Stoke’s first substitution of the game saw Peter Eteb replaced by Bojan while Jon Taylor came on for Joe Newell for the Millers and was soon in the action when his pace saw him force a corner out of Cuco Martina. Charlie Adams and Peter Crouch came on for Joe Allen and Saido Berahino. The Millers had a number of corners which came to nothing and did their best to hold on at the other end but with five minutes of the ninety left a good delivery from Afobe found substitute Bojan who headed the ball into the net to give the Potters a point.
A good display from both teams for the television cameras yesterday tea-time and probably a point a-piece was a fair result.