Rotherham United 1 Reading 1
Mattock (90) Baldock (9)
A miserable, cold, dreary day in Rotherham was mirrored on the pitch at the New York Stadium this afternoon when Rotherham United did their Dick Turpin act and stole a point in the final minute of the game against managerless Reading.
The visitors came out of the blocks running with Sam Baldock in acres of space heading just wide in the opening minutes. After falling down three or four times for no apparent reason referee Joyce had had enough and Josh Sims saw yellow on six minutes. Three minutes later Reading went ahead when again Baldock had plenty of room and received a good ball from Sims putting it past a helpless Marek Rodak in the hosts goal into the net. Both Richie Towell and Jon Taylor had half chances, neither of which bothered Reading ‘keeper Anssi Jaakkola before former Millers loanee John Swift took the ball off Towell and went on a solo run towards goal seeing his shot go narrowly past the upright. Towell had another try when a Anthony Forde free-kick fell to him but it was easily blocked before a twenty-five yard shot from Will Vaulks went sailing wide. At the other end Chris Gunter was allowed the freedom of the park to run towards goal and only a good tackle from Forde stopped him shooting before the two met again at the other end of the pitch with Forde winning a corner off Gunter which came out to Vaulks who brought off a good save from Jaakkola. On thirty-five minutes Baldock should have done better after some good work from Swift saw him get the ball sending it skywards when it looked easier to put it in the net. More good work between Swift and Baldock saw the latter bring off a great save from Rodak. As the half was nearing an end again Baldock was left with far too much space and tried to lob the Millers’ ‘keeper but saw his shot go just over the crossbar followed by Swift getting the ball to Garath McCleary whose curling shot was palmed away to safety by Rodak. Joe Mattock saw yellow for a silly challenge on Sims which was followed with a header from Swift going just wide.
The Millers started the second half with Clark Robertson and Jamie Proctor replacing Richard Wood and Ryan Williams. The Millers had a chance in the first minutes after Will Vaulks got the ball to Richie Towell whose fierce shot was palmed away by Anssi Jaakkola who did well minutes later to punch away a cross from Proctor with Robertson heading wide from the resulting corner. Robertson also saw a shot deflected into the side netting before a long range shot from Vaulks hit Jon Taylor and went out. The Millers had a number of corners and although they were getting closer each time they all came to nothing. On the hour mark Taylor did well to get away from Leandro Bacuna and when he passed the ball to Proctor the tall forward couldn’t get the ball from under his feet. Joe Newell came on for Jon Taylor for the hosts on sixty-eight minutes and a minute later Reading might have doubled their lead when a cross from John Swift found Josh Sims collect at the near post only for him to see his shot hit the upright and away from danger. At the other end the Millers might have equalised but Jaakkola was there to save a thunderous shot from Vaulks before he also did well to get down to a shot from Proctor. Reading brought on Jon Dadi Bodvarsson for Sam Baldock. Sims and Bacuna both had shots for the visitors before some good work between Newell and Proctor saw Chris Gunter put the ball behind with the resulting corner first finding the head of Vaulks who saw the ball then hacked clear before it came back in and hit the head of Tom McIntyre who was thankful to see the ball go behind and not in the net. With five minutes to go Reading brought on Danny Loader for Josh Sims . Jaakkola, who had been time wasting for most of the second half, was eventually shown a yellow card. With a minute to go Gunter was forced into an error which gave the Millers a last minute corner which saw an header from Semi Ajayi blocked but fall to Robertson whose shot appeared to be blocked by a hand on the line before it came out to Joe Mattock who somehow managed to push the ball over the line to the delight of the eight thousand three hundred Millers fans. Both teams came close to winning it firstly after a pinball game in the area the ball fell to Vaulks for the Millers but he somehow put the ball wide and then from Reading who saw a McCleary shot was blocked by Newell to save the point.
Before the game did I expect three points? Actually, yes I did. At the end of the game would I have accepted the point? You bet I would.
Referee – R Joyce
Crowd – 8,775 (433 Royals fans)