Rotherham United 3 Burton Albion 1
Ladapo (24, 48) Hemmings (44)
Rotherham United made it twenty games without defeat this afternoon and hung on to their top place – but they didn’t make it easy for themselves.
The Millers started the better with Ollie Rathbone’s never-give-up attitude seeing him win the ball on the half-way line sending Kieran Sadlier off on a run with the midfielder sending a cross into the box for Michael Smith who saw his header cleared on the line by Ryan Leak. Minutes later Sadlier himself had a chance but he put the ball over the crossbar before Albion ‘keeper Ben Garratt got his hands to a shot from Smith. At the other end a loose ball fell to Terry Taylor with Rathbone defending brilliantly to get the ball away. Another poor pass was intercepted by Charlie Lakin who controlled, ran and shot putting the ball wide followed by a long throw from Thomas Hamer who found Harry Chapman in front of goal but he snatched at the ball and put the ball into the crowd behind the goal. On twenty-four minutes the Millers took the lead when Rathbone again refused to let the ball go and beating Conor Shaughnessy cut the ball back for Ben Wiles whose shot came back to Freddie Ladapo whose back-flip found it’s way over the line making it one-nil to the hosts. And the Millers might have doubled the lead a few minutes later after a not particularly good pass from Wiles was touched forward by Smith to Ladapo who made space for himself and found he was one-on-one with the ‘keeper but some brave ‘keeping from Garratt stopped the forward getting a second. A minute before half-time some sloppy play from Rotherham saw them lose the ball again in midfield and when a ball from Lakin beat the home defence Kane Hemmings got the better of his marker and saw his shot go into the top of the Rotherham net to make it one-one. In time added on the hosts probably should have been back in front when a lovely Barlaser pass found Smith but he fired wide from close range.
The second-half was just three minutes old when Rotherham went back in front after a ball from Rarmani Edmonds-Green got the better of the Albion defence sending the ball through for Freddie Ladapo who left his marker behind striding towards Ben Garratt and stroking the ball home for his, and the Millers, second. The visitors probably should have equalised again straight away after a ball floated in by Kane Hemmings found Lucas Akins who just had Millers’ ‘keeper Viktor Johansson to beat but somehow sent the ball backwards. A good cross from Harry Chapman found Akins who put the ball across goal when he probably should have shot with a Millers defender doing his job. Only some brave ‘keeping from Johansson who came rushing out to smother a ball from Akins stopped the visitors having another chance with the goalkeeper having to have treatment on the pitch but was soon up again. On the hour mark Ladapo really should have got his hat-trick but, with an open goal at his mercy, he shot wide although the linesman had his flag up so it wouldn’t have counted. Ollie Rathbone got the better of Deji Oshilaja crossing for Smith who in turn found Ladapo who again just had to tap home but again made a hash of it. The Brewers won a throw in which Thomas Hamer took long finding the head of Shaughnessy who saw the ball go just over. With twenty minutes to go the Millers first change saw Joe Mattock on for Shane Ferguson. Charlie Lakin sent a lovely ball towards Hamer whose shot was saved by Johansson before a Chapman shot from outside the box was blocked. Burton brought on . Daniel Jebbison for Charlie Lakin. A cross from Hamer found Ryan Leak whose header went wide before the visitors won a corner which was sent in finding Shaughnessy who also put the ball wide. Another corner for Burton saw Chapman find Shaughnessy again and this time the Republic of Ireland U21 central-midfielder saw his header hit the crossbar coming down to Leak who put the ball over. Two changes for the Millers saw Ollie Rathbone and Kieran Sadlier make way for Jamie Lindsay and Chieo Ogbene. On the eighty-third minute a ball into the area saw Leak send a back-pass to his ‘keeper who had no choice but to catch and the linesman alerted the referee who gave a free-kick to Rotherham five yards from the goal line. With most of the players stood on the line Jamie Lindsay touched the ball backwards for Dan Barlaser who found the only gap in the wall to make it three-one. Not giving in the visitors had a shot from Jebbison charged down by Rotherham skipper Richard Wood who was making his two hundredth appearance for the club today before Mattock had to be alert to get to a cross from Hemmings before it fell to Chapman in a good position. The first yellow of the game went to Cameron Borthwick-Jackson who brought down Ogbene. A couple of half shots from the Millers came before referee Allison blew for full-time.
A win is a win is a win – but the Millers didn’t half put the fans through it this afternoon with some wayward passing and a bit of kamikaze defending. But isn’t that what happens when you are top of the table?
Referee – Sam Allison
Attendance – 9,007, 267 of those being Brewers fans
Rotherham United 3 Burton Albion 1
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