Date: 3rd April 2015 at 8:58pm
Written by:

It was definitely a game of two halves for Rotherham United this afternoon at St Andrew`s. After going in at the break two-down they fought back to two-one in the second half but, despite having most of the play, they couldn`t get the ball into the back of the net for an equaliser.

Both teams found the weather heavy going at the start of the game the first sniff at goal was on seven minutes when Jonathan Grounds found David Cotterill but his shot only found Millers skipper Craig Morgan who put the ball behind with the following corner being an easy save for Emi Martinez in the Millers goal. Cotterill was in the action again a few minutes later when he slipped the ball through to Demarai Gray only to find Jack Hunt in his way and the ball went out for a goal-kick. The first action of note for the Millers was just before the quarter of an hour mark when a nice ball from Richie Smallwood found lone striker Matt Derbyshire but the Birmingham defence put the ball out for a throw-in. At the other end Morgan was there again to stop a shot from Grounds before some good work from Martinez saw him collect a difficult ball in from Gray with Clayton Donaldson lurking. The Millers loan ‘keeper was in action minutes later when he had to palm away a shot from distance from Cotterill. Kirk Broadfoot was the first player to see yellow after he pulled Donaldson to the ground and two minutes later Andrew Shinnie was the second for a very late challenge on Laurie Wilson. On twenty-five minutes some nice work from Broadfoot found Lee Frecklington but he saw his shot from range blocked and go to safety. Two minutes later Danny Lafferty headed a ball clear but it fell to Donaldson who, seeing Robert Tesche making a run, flicked the ball to him and he hit the ball past the diving Martinez to make it one-nil to the hosts. Stephen Gleeson was the next to try his luck but the ball was high and wide as was Shinnie`s effort minutes later before Broadfoot did well to block a shot from Paul Caddis. Three minutes before half-time Birmingham won a free-kick off Frecklington and after Martinez did well to save the initial shot from Cotterill it fell to Donaldson who headed into an open net to give the hosts a two-nil lead at half-time.

The Millers came out firing on all cylinders in the second half and had soon halved the deficit when some poor defending from the home allowed Conor Sammon to get a ball to Lee Frecklington home ‘keeper Daren Randolph could only parry the ball out as far as Matt Derbyshire who bundled the ball over the line to make it two-one in front of over a thousand visiting supporters. At the other end Emi Martinez did well to hold onto a shot from Clayton Donaldson before Ben Pringle sent a super ball for Frecklington but, for some reason, he took a second touch of the ball and was crowded out by the home defence. Pringle himself was the next to try his luck but saw his shot curl just over the post before a shot at the other end from Andrew Shinnie suffered the same fate. On the hour mark the Millers fans were up in arms after some a loose ball fell to Matt Derbyshire who ran into the area and come off worse after tangling with home defender Rob Kieman and ended up sprawled on the floor only for referee Dean Whitestone shake his head and say no penalty – it was either a penalty of a yellow card for the Millers striker for play acting, and, sat right in front of the incident, it should have been a spot-kick. Martinez did well to save from Donaldson and got the ball out to Jack Hunt who, being much too quick for him was hauled to the ground by Jonathan Grounds and received a yellow card for his trouble. Minutes later Hunt ran into the box with the ball only to see his shot ricochet off a retreating defender and just going wide. A clumsy foul on Donaldson saw Craig Morgan go into the book while a good cross from Pringle was parried by Randolph as far as Conor Newton, on for Conor Sammon, who found Derbyshire but his header across goal found no-one there. Randolph was in action again a few minutes later when he did well to get down to a shot from Jordan Bowery, on for Laurie Wilson, before the play went back up the other end and a cross from Lloyd Dyer, on for Demarai Gray, just failed to find Donaldson. With three minutes of the ninety left Hunt won a corner which Pringle takes finding Newton but the young midfielder shoots well over. In the final minute the Millers were awarded a free-kick which eventually falls to Frecklington but he saw his shot blocked before some quick thinking from Broadfoot saw him get up first to a long ball only to see his effort go just wide of the post. At the other end Martinez found himself one-on-one with Robert Tesche and makes a brilliant save from the midfielder before the Millers` ‘keeper does the same thing again a minute later from the same player.

Whatever Steve Evans said to the players at half-time I hope he says it to them before the game on Monday – poor display first half but looked a different team second half, when we played two up front. It was another shoulda, coulda games this afternoon – Monday is now a gotta game.

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