Date: 8th February 2020 at 10:48am
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Lincoln City 0 Rotherham United 1
                              Crooks 47

Rotherham United marched into a six point lead at the top of League One with the only goal of the game at Sincil Bank last night.

It was a scrappy first half with the hosts having the first sight of goal on five minutes when a Jorge Grant free-kick bent just wide into the side netting. At the other end a super cross in from Adam Thompson looking for the head of Kyle Vassell ended up being scrambled away by the City defenders but only as far as Hakeeb Adelakun who found Chieo Ogbene. The midfielder had a shot which rebounded straight back to him with his second shot blocked and put away to safety. Ben Wiles, playing at full-back, did well to stop a Grant shot getting into the box before Millers’ ‘keeper Daniel Iversen claimed the ball before Tyreece John-Jules could latch onto it. Lincoln ‘keeper Josh Vickers did well to make a save from Ogbene after some lovely work from Thompson down the wing. The hosts came close on the quarter of an hour mark when a Jake Hesketh ball towards the back post found Grant who headed at goal only for Iversen to pull off a great save by getting down and parrying the ball to safety. A poor challenge on Matt Crooks saw the first yellow card of the game given to City’s Cian Bolger. Ogbene was working well up the right putting a cross into the box that eventually came back out this time to Dan Barlaser who couldn’t find a white shirt with his cross in before a Adelakun had a shot which was put behind for a Millers corner which found Michael Ihiekwe’s head but ended up being cleared. The Imps perhaps should have been ahead on the half-hour mark after a super ball in from Grant found Hesketh in acres of space but he missed when it looked easier to score. Referee Martin Coy had to speak to both captains as things got heated before Adelakun swerved his way past two home defenders before finding Vassell who crossed in low where Crooks was waiting but put the ball just wide. A bad challenge on Ogbene brought Max Melbourne a booking with the Barlaser free-kick finding the head of Michael Smith who put his header past the upright. In time added on the Millers lost the ball to Laim Bridcutt , making his debut for the Imps, who sent in a cross towards John-Jules which was too short for him to connect to.

Whatever was said at half-time to the Millers saw them start the second half with energy and just two minutes in they went ahead. Dan Barlaser got the ball fed it wide to Kyle Vassell who crossed into the box where Matt Crooks headed into the far corner sending the one thousand seven hundred visiting fans wild and into a chorus of don’t you know pump it up the Millers are going up’. At the other end Jorge Grant found himself in far too much room only for his cross to go across the face of goal with nobody to get on the end of it. Some good play from Tyreece John-Jules saw his cross go across the face of goal and out before Michael Ihiekwe collected the ball and ran up the pitch sending Chieo Ogbene on his way but his shot went wide. Ben Wiles was caught out but the youngster did well to make amends and take the ball back before Harry Anderson had a shot from range for the Imps which went well wide. John-Jules found himself in the box and was about to shoot when Richard Wood stopped him in his tracks and getting a free-kick for his troubles. Anderson was getting a lot of room down the right and had a few chances to pass which was cut out by the Millers. The first substitution of the night saw Lincoln’s latest signing  Anthony Scully replace Jake Hesketh. Ogbene sent in a cross which Crooks headed wide before he also had a header go the same way. A number of corners for the visitors came to nothing before Freddie Ladapo came on for Kyle Vassell and Millers’ new boy Josh Koroma replaced Chieo Ogbene. Ladapo was quick off the mark and tried to get through the Imps defence but Jason Shackell stopped him in his tracks. The Imps took off Harry Anderson for Tom Hopper before Richard Wood kept the Millers in front by clearing off the line from John-Jules. Koroma sent the ball in for Ladapo who saw his shot go just wide and at the other end Scully found John-Jules but Iversen was equal to his shot. In time added on Paul Warne brought on Shaun MacDonald for Hakeeb Adelakun while Michael Smith was booked and in the last minute of the game a Bridcutt free-kick was well held by Iversen.

It might not have been the prettiest game of football you’ve ever seen but the Millers got all three points by grafting and working hard to hold onto that one goal lead. Yes, there were some ‘scary’ bits and I’ve got holding my breath down to an art now! But, what matters is the three points that we took home to South Yorkshire.

Referee – Martin Coy

Official Crowd – 9,876 (1,745 Millers, though I don’t think the hundred or so stood up in the corner were included in that number).

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