Bolton Wanderers 2 Rotherham United 1
Ameobi 33 Vaulks 37
Rotherham United’s winless away games continued on Boxing Day with a defeat to fellow strugglers Bolton at the University of Bolton Stadium.
The visitors started the better and skipper for the day Will Vaulks had a couple of early chances which came to nothing with Semi Ajayi coming into his own at the other end stopping a Joe Williams shot as it went towards goal. The first yellow of the game went to the Millers Clark Robertson for a late challenge on Clayton Donaldson. Robertson was again in action minutes later when Joe Williams again had space to shoot with the Millers defender getting to the shot before it picked up momentum. With twenty minutes gone the visitors had a good chance when Jamie Proctor and Michael Smith combined with the latter putting a shot just over the crossbar followed by a cross from Joe Newell finding the head of Semi Ajayi who headed wide. Ben Alnwick in the home goal did well to save from Smith after some good work from Joe Mattock before Proctor had a shot blocked. At the other end Donaldson again fought his way past the Millers defence only to put the ball wide which should have been a warning to Rotherham but a minute later the hosts went in front after some good work from Sammy Ameobi when he let fly from just inside the area and saw the ball nestle in the back of the net. Minutes later the Millers were back on level terms when a Newell free-kick saw Vaulks rise above everyone else to head into the net followed by his trademark back flip delighting the travelling one and a half thousand travelling fans. On the stroke of half-time a long throw caused problems for the visitors finding Andrew Taylor whose shot was deflected behind for a corner which Taylor probably should have put the hosts back in front with but his header went wide.
Misses at both ends from Christian Doidge for the hosts and Will Vaulks for the visitors started the second half followed by a challenge on Zak Vyner earning Marc Wilson a yellow card. Marek Rodak in the Rotherham goal did well to get down to a shot from Joe Williams before Doidge put a shot high and wide. Semi Ajayi had to be alert to when Joe Williams had beaten Rodak but the Millers tall defender cleared off the line. The hosts were having much more of the game but it was a shot from Vaulks for the Millers that brought off a save from Ben Alnwick. A cross from Jason Lowe found Doidge but he put his shot high and wide. Then on sixty-five minutes the hosts took the lead for the second time after a shot from Clayton Donaldson was parried away by Rodak only to fall to Gary O’Neil who hit home. Two substitutions followed with Ryan Williams on for Anthony Forde for the visitors and Pawel Olkowski coming on for the hosts to replace Andrew Williams. The Millers might have done better with a free-kick but Newell over-hit which was his last part of the game being subbed by Jon Taylor. Some good work between Richie Towell and Joe Mattock ended in a ruck of players in the box with the Millers players and fans all appealing for handball which referee Jeremy Simpson shook his head at. Josh Magennis was brought on for the hosts to replace Donaldson and Jamie Proctor went off with the Millers replacing him with Ben Wiles. Rodak doing well to keep out a shot from Magennis while a Jon Taylor corner found the head of Ajayi but he couldn’t keep the ball down. The Millers had a number of corners in the dying minutes with Clark Robertson missing what looked like the easiest header. Six minutes of time added on went up and it was really backs to the wall for the hosts with William Buckley replacing Sammy Ameobi with a minute to go.
Bolton got their first win since September and the Millers are still looking for their first away win of the season and are now looking over their shoulders at yesterday’s hosts who are just one place and one point behind them in the table.
Referee – Jeremy Simpson
Crowd – 15,255 of which 1,583 were travelling Millers