Date: 2nd April 2016 at 6:51pm
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Rotherham United got another three points nearer safety this afternoon at a sunny New York Stadium in a game that saw two sending-offs, a penalty and, in my opinion, some strange decisions from a Premiership Referee.

Before the game began the whole ground – and thank you to the travelling Leeds fans for that – stood to applaud the life of former Rotherham Manager Jack Mansell who passed away last month.

Rotherham had the first shot towards goal from Lee Frecklington but the ball didn`t trouble Marco Silvestri in the visitor`s goal. At the other end Lewis Cook could have perhaps done better with a cross which failed to reach Chris Wood before a long throw from Greg Halford aimed at Leon Best instead went to Kirk Broadfoot who put it wide. Joe Mattock did well to intercept a shot-come-cross from former Miller Toumani Diagouraga before the ball fell to Mirko Antenucci who put it over the crossbar. The first corner of the game was to the hosts after a good run from Matt Derbyshire but a Leeds defender got there before Broadfoot and from the following Halford long throw Silvestri found himself under pressure but managed to get the ball away. Lee Frecklington and Derbyshire played a good one-two but the Millers striker put the ball straight into the waiting arms of Silvestri before Leeds flew down the other end only for Broadfoot to make a bit of a hash of a clearance and Alex Mowett got the ball but put it high over the bar. With twenty minutes gone Miller` ‘keeper Lee Camp did well to get down to a shot from Antenucci and minutes later Camp was in the right place to stop a Liam Bridcutt pass find Mowatt. On twenty-seven minutes a super cross from Halford released Mattock who saw Frecklington making a late run into the box and the club captain fired home to send the home fans wild. Minutes later at the other end Frecklington was there to stop Wood getting a clear shot at goal which was followed soon after by Stephen Kelly putting his body on the line to stop a shot from Diagouraga. Soon after a nice move from Kelly saw the defender try to set Leon Best up but the ball didn`t quite reach the Rotherham striker and a twenty-five yard Antenucci shot whistled just over Lee Camp`s crossbar. The first yellow of the game went to Best who Referee Kevin Friend (and I bet he hasn`t got many) said had fouled Silvestri when they both went for a fifty-fifty ball.

At the start of the second half Grant Ward swung a good ball across the face of goal which Richie Smallwood got a touch to but it was put behind and Leon Best got on the end of the resulting corner which fell to Stephen Kelly but he put the ball well wide. Best was doing well and almost had the better of Sol Bamba but the big defender managed to knock the ball out of play. On the fifty-third minute a goal-bound shot from Lee Frecklington was blocked by a Leeds defender but found its way back to Smallwood who sent the ball flying high over the bar into the Millers fans behind the goal before Greg Halford did well to stop Gaetano Berardi having a shot at goal. Lee Camp had to be on his toes a few minutes later to tip a looping shot from Chris Wood over and only some good work from Kirk Broadfoot and the rest of the Millers defence stopped Leeds from getting an equaliser. Liam Bridcutt was next to see yellow after fetching down Grant Ward and from the resulting free-kick Best found himself free but put the ball into the side netting. Steve Evans made a couple of subs with Mustapha Carayol replacing Alex Mowatt and Stuart Dallas coming on for Lewis Cook. Bringeth the hour, bringeth the first red card. Matt Derbyshire and Gaetano Berardi both went up for the same ball with the Leeds player falling to the floor holding his head which Mr Friend, although he had no way of seeing the incident himself, decided the Millers striker had led with the elbow and brandished a red card. While Berardi was having his head bandaged the Millers made their first substitute of the afternoon bringing on Danny Ward for Leon Best. Within minutes of the red card incident a self-same incident saw Giuseppe Bellusci and Danny Ward challenge in the air for a ball with the Leeds defender`s elbow in Danny Ward`s face. Millers fans expecting the Italian to get the same as Derbyshire were highly vocal when Mr Friend showed him just a yellow card. With the Millers up against it a player short Lee Camp pulled off a great save from a super shot from Antenucci which was followed a minute later by a good header out from Lloyd Doyley. At the other end some good work from Grant Ward couldn`t be replicated by Kelly who missed the pass from his team mate. Gaetano Beradi was taken off by Steve Evans and replaced with Luke Murphy and with ten minutes of the game left it proved to be a good substitution when a Murphy shot took a wicked deflection leaving Camp wrong-footed and the ball in the net sending the travelling two thousand three hundred fans in raptures and Neil Warnock making another change fetching on Joe Newell for Richie Smallwood. Leeds were on the ascendency now and only another good save from Camp, who palmed Bridcutt`s shot over, stopped them taking the lead while Kelly again gets himself in front of a ball that looked destined for goal. With two minutes of normal time to go a rare foray down the other end saw first Grant Ward get pulled back by his neck and while Mr Friend played on he got the ball to Danny Ward who saw Frecklington run into the box and as the Millers midfielder was rounding Leeds ‘keeper Marco Silvestra the Italian felled him and the referee had no option but to point to the spot and give the Leeds ‘keeper his marching orders. With Leeds having already used all their subs Giuseppe Bellusci donned the green jersey with his first job being to pick the ball out of the net after the Greg Halford penalty made it two-one to the Millers. The board went up for six extra minutes and the Millers did well to hang on after Woods put an effort wide and a Leeds free-kick went straight into the wall with Newell getting the ball away. Frazer Richardson replaced the hard working Grant Ward with a couple of minutes left. A nice move and pass from Woods found Sol Bamba but the Leeds captain sent his effort wide falling to the floor head in hands before a Mustapha Carayol shot from outside the box went high and wide.

The Millers held on for another three points. Was it pretty – no. Did we deserve all three points – well we scored more goals so ? Are we happy little Millers tonight – you betcha!

The Millers haven`t moved up the table but have certainly closed the gap on Bristol City, where we travel to on Tuesday and Huddersfield Town who both lost today.

Phew! Watching the Millers certainly keeps the old ticker going!

 
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