Rotherham United 1 Birmingham City 3
Crooks 22 Maghoma 56
Rotherham United’s fate was just about sealed this afternoon when, again, they let a lead slip to end up with nothing this time at home to Birmingham City .
The Millers started on the front foot and there were early half attempts from Matt Crooks and Will Vaulks before a corner which came to nothing despite Joe Mattock appealing for a penalty. At the other end City got their first corner of the game which Michael Morrison headed over. On five minutes the visitors appealed for a penalty after Che Adams was fouled by Semi Ajayi with referee Andy Davies giving a free-kick outside the area and a yellow card for the tall Nigerian. The set-piece was well saved by Millers’ ‘keeper Marek Rodak. A long throw from Vaulks aimed towards Wood, who went down, eventually fell to Crooks to head in but was saved by former Miller Lee Camp at the second attempt and it was Camp again a couple of minutes later who got hold of the ball from a Joe Newell free-kick. Some good work from Michael Smith saw him send the ball to Ajayi but the City defence dealt with it while Mattock did well down the other end to keep Jota from getting a shot away. With twenty-one minutes on the clock a cross from Vaulks found Ryan Williams who eased past his marker to send the ball in towards Crooks who took it on his chest and sent a shot into the net to give the hosts the lead. Minutes later it might have been two when another long throw caused problems to the Blues’ back line and after Wood headed it on it went just past Crooks waiting at the back post. Williams did well again to run down the pitch and at Camp who had to be on his mettle to clear. Vaulks did well after Adams had gone by him chase him down and clear for a corner which bothered nobody. Mattock and Newell combined well with the latter sending in a cross for Smith but he was beaten to it by Kristian Pedersen with the Newell corner is headed on by Ajayi to Vaulks who seemed to snatch at it and put it over when it really looked easier to score. Lukas Jutkiewicz went by the Millers defence and flew into the box only to see his shot go inches past the upright before some good work from Richie Towell stopped a Birmingham attack before it started.
The opening minutes of the second half belonged to the visitors with Marek Rodak doing well to save from Che Adams and Lukas Jutkiewicz before Richard Wood saw yellow for a poor challenge on Jutkiewicz. Joe Mattock did marvels down the wing with his cross into the box missed by the red shirts trying to keep up with him before the Millers’ number three had to be alert at the other end to put the ball out for a corner before a Blue’s player could get on the end of it. On fifty-six minutes the Millers managed to clear the ball but only as far as Jacques Maghoma who skipped this way and that before letting fly and seeing his shot go into the top corner of the net to make it one-all. Four minutes later it could have been two when a corner ball fell to Jutkiewicz who found Maxime Colin who sent his shot wide of the post. The first substitution of the afternoon saw Jon Taylor replace Joe Newell. Rodak did well to get down to a shot from Jutkiewicz but could do nothing two minutes later when Che Adams left Wood standing and sent a ball in towards Jota who seemed to have all the time in the world before he put the ball into the net to give the visitors the lead. Wood was replaced minutes later by Anthony Forde whose first action of the afternoon was to take a corner towards the head of Semi Ajayi but it was put to safety by a City defender. A foul on Jota by Will Vaulks earned him the third Rotherham yellow card of the afternoon. A cross from Adams found the head of Jutkiewicz which Rodak got down well to save before a Richie Towell effort down the other end was blocked. Gary Gardner of Birmingham saw a yellow for a handball followed by Kyle Vassell coming on for Ryan Williams and City fetching on Kerim Mrabti to replace Jota. A free-kick for City saw found Maghoma who in turn found the head of Harlee Dean who put the ball high and wide. City brought on Isaac Vassell for Lukas Jutkiewicz followed by Che Adams going off for Marc Roberts and in-between a great effort from Gardner rebounded off the post and went wide. Three minutes of the five added on saw City get a third after Maghoma found Mrabti who stuck the ball into the net to score his first goal for Birmingham and keep them in the Championship for another season.
The Millers looked tired and huffed and puffed a bit in the second half and seemed resigned to their fate. Only a miracle will keep them up now, with the only team that can realistically be caught is Millwall who have a game in hand and a better goal difference. We tried at Stoke, we played our hearts out at Swansea but I think this was just a game too far for us.
Referee – Andy Davies
Crowd – 10,703 (2,573 Blues Fans)