Rotherham United 2 Sheffield Wednesday 2
Taylor (37) Forestieri (35)
Towell (74) Iorfa (90+10)
A goal in time added on (ten minutes of the eight given) gave the visitors an undeserved point at the New York Stadium this afternoon which ended two-two.
A minutes applause rang all around the ground in memory of the great Gordon Banks which started the early kick-off this lunchtime.
The first shot of the afternoon went to Sheffield Wednesday from Fernando Forestieri which Millers skipper Will Vaulks got his body in front of. Minutes later a cross from Adam Reach had to be dealt with by Billy Jones with the resulting corner coming to nothing. The first chance of the game came on the quarter of an hour mark when Vaulks sent Jon Taylor scurrying down the wing and he put a superb ball into the middle for Anthony Forde but Tuesday night’s scorer headed the ball wide. Richie Towell and Semi Ajayi combined well with the latter looking to set Michael Smith up but Jordan Thorniley got there first and put it behind. Five minutes later the Millers fans were off their seats appealing for a penalty after Ajayi got in front of Owls’ ‘keeper Kieran Westwood and went down but referee Darren England said ‘no’ (which he was going to say quite a lot to the red shirted players over the ninety minutes). With twenty-four minutes on the clock the hosts really should have taken the lead after Forde took the ball off Michael Hector and running into the area found himself one-on-one with Westwood with the ‘keeper making a good save with his legs. And in the same move Michael Ihiekwe got the ball to Smith who looked clean through on goal but the Rotherham striker put the ball wide of the post. Joe Mattock was the first to see yellow for a foul on Forestieri, though quite why the Wednesday player had to role around the pitch like he’d been pole-axed I don’t know. And it was the Millers defender who was next to miss a chance when a Richie Towell centre wasn’t cleared by the Owls defence and fell to Mattock but his shot went into the visiting fans behind the goal. And Mattock was in the thick of things again when he headed back to Marek Rodak in the Millers’ goal only for Reach to intercept and shoot but his shot hit the upright and went out for a goal-kick. On thirty-five minutes the visitors took the lead when a long punt forward found George Boyd and Reach who got the better of Mattock and Forde sending the ball to Forestieri who hit the back of the net scoring his first goal since October. But the Millers were soon back in it when Smith got the better of Hector and sent a lovely cross in towards Taylor who thundered the ball home to send the Millers fans wild. A late foul on Forestieri saw Ajayi yellow carded (after the Owls striker had stopped rolling around the pitch) and minutes later Hector and Smith got a ticking off from Mr England after they clashed after the ball had gone. In time added on in the first half a great knock-down from Ajayi found nobody there to collect while a dangerous cross from Vaulks was cleared by the Wednesday defence.
A slow start saw the visitors have a half-chance when a Barry Bannan free-kick found Morgan Fox but his shot didn’t trouble Marek Rodak before a shot from Will Vaulks at the other end went wide. Billy Jones was the next to see yellow for a challenge on Sam Hutchinson followed by Lucas Joao being replaced by Steven Fletcher. A challenge on Fernando Forestieri by Michael Ihiekwe left the Owls forward on the floor and earned the Millers defender a booking. The Millers first sub of the afternoon saw Joe Newell replace Anthony Forde. A cross from George Boyd saw Fletcher rise highest but he headed over followed by Ihiekwe taking the ball away from Hector before he could get his head to a Bannan cross. Some superb work from Vaulks saw him get the ball to Richie Towell who saw his effort blocked before Boyd got a yellow (thanks to the fans in the Family Stand?) after sending Jon Taylor sprawling. Some good work from Newell saw him win a corner for the hosts which he took finding the head of Semi Ajayi only to see Adam Reach clear off the line and after the ball seemed to go around everyone in the area it fell to Ihiekwe who fired wide. A super run by Taylor saw Towell, who started the move, get into the box for the cross but again Reach was there to hack the ball away. After all the pressure the Millers took a deserved lead on the seventy-fourth minute when Newell got the better of Hector and sent in a cross towards Smith who couldn’t quite get to it but there was Towell waiting to smash the ball in the back of the net to send nine thousand Millers fans wild. Rolando Aarons came on for the Owls in place of Boyd while the Millers took off Taylor for Ryan Williams. Following a few Millers corners and long throws a Clark Robertson header was saved by Kieren Westwood before some good work down the wing saw Williams send in an inch perfect cross for Smith who put his header wide when it looked easier to hit the back of the net. Jordan Thorniley had to be on his toes to made a clearance from Smith before the paramedics were brought on for a head injury to the Owls defender. After a lengthy delay Thorniley walked off albeit groggily and Dominic Iorfa came on in his place. The board went up for eight more minutes with the first action of that being a yellow card to Forestieri after a lunge at Vaulks. An in-swinger from Newell found the head of Ajayi but it went wide followed by a Vaulks shot going wide of the post. With the eight minutes gone Marek Rodak put a shot from Forestieri behind for a corner which was put in falling to Iorfa who prodded the ball over the line to give the Owls a point from the game. In the melee that followed Forestieri saw a second yellow for trying to join the crowd after the goal. As the Millers kicked off the referee blew the whistle for the end of the game and, fittingly got booed from the Rotherham supporters for his performance this afternoon which was poor to say the least.
The Millers worked their socks off this afternoon and fully deserved all three points so what a blow when that ball went in during the last minute of play.
Crowd – 11,736 (2,625 Owls)
Referee – Darren England