Match Reports

Millers Back To Winning Ways

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Rotherham United 2  Bolton Wanderers 1
Smith (40, 74)                    Doyle 42

Rotherham United made hard work of getting three points at home against a Bolton side who were thought to have had the overhang of the Covid virus before the game.

The visitors started well when Elias Kachunga saw Eoin Doyle in space with the forward shooting wide. A corner on five minutes for the Millers saw the ball fall to Shane Ferguson whose cross was blocked before rebounding to the Northern Ireland international who put the ball in with Michael Ihiekwe rising highest only for his header to fall into the hands of Bolton ‘keeper Joel Dixon. Rotherham came close just before the quarter of an hour mark when a Barlaser cross found Ihiekwe who saw his low shot blocked by Adam Senior. A long shot from Viktor Johansson in the Millers’ goal found Michael Smith who looked to set Freddie Ladapo on a run into the box but his pass was too long. At the other end some lovely football from Nathan Delfouneso saw him find Doyle but his shot was smothered by Johansson before Barlaser fed the ball through to Ladapo in the area but his shot came off George Johnson going out to safety. Referee Geoff Eltingham waved away an appeal for a penalty by the visitors Oladapo Afolayan landed at the feet of Rarmani Edmonds-Green outside the area which resulted in Bolton Manager Ian Evatt getting a yellow for his comments about the incident. Bolton came close when some good football from Declan John found Afolayan who got the ball back to John in the area with the Welsh left-back seeing his shot put inches past the post by Rotherham skipper Richard Wood. After a slip by a Millers defender Doyle got into the area only to see his shot go past Johansson but only as far as Edmonds-Green who cleared the ball into the stands. With five minutes of the half left Ben Wiles was first to a loose ball finding Ferguson who looped the ball into the area for Smith to head into the back of the net to put the hosts in front. But the joy was short-lived when two minutes later Bolton equalised after Afolayan got the better of Ladapo and found Johnson who sent the ball into the area with Doyle easily beating Wood and sent the ball under the diving body of Johansson. Chieo Ogbene went on a run and was brought down by Afolayan who saw yellow for the challenge. Bolton might have made it two in time added on after hitting the Millers on the break when Kachunga found Thompson who saw his shot held well by Johansson.

Rotherham started the second half the quicker when a cross from Shane Ferguson was put wide by Ben Wiles followed by Ricardo Almeida Santos stopping a Chieo Ogbene cross finding a red shirt and a cross-come-shot from Rarmani Edmonds-Green being put over the cross bar by Will Aimson. Ogbene was booked for pulling back George Johnston. Wiles aimed a good ball into the area for Freddie Ladapo but Joel Dixon did well to get there first and fall on it. Some good play from Elias Kachunga saw him get the better of one defender before knocking the ball over another defender only for his shot to go wide before a shot from Declan John was pushed behind by Viktor Johansson. The first change of the game saw the Millers replace Ben Wiles with Kieran Sadlier just after the hour mark. A cross from Ferguson found the head of Michael Smith but was easy for Dixon to save before a Ferguson cross fround Ladapo whose shot was high and wide. After wasting time from the opening few minutes referee Eltingham had had enough booking Dixon on sixty-nine minutes which seemed to spur the ‘keeper on with him making a fantastic point blank save from Ladapo before managing to claw away a shot from Edmonds-Green. The visitors brought on Amadou Bakayoko for Eoin Doyle with Joshua Kayode coming on for Freddie Ladapo for the Millers. With sixteen minutes to go Ogbene set off on a run getting the better of his marker and sent a ball into the box which Smith stooped and conquered getting his header into the net sending the majority of the nine thousand seven hundred crowd wild. A cross from Ferguson found the head of Ogbene who saw the ball go wide which was followed by another change for Bolton with Adam Senior making way for Harry Brockbank. Bolton thought they should have had a free-kick and Richardo Santos saw yellow for his protests before a foul on Oladapo Afolayan saw Edmonds-Green also booked. A last change for the visitors saw Liam Gordon replace Declan John. A headed pass from Ogbene found Smith in the area but he put his shot wide before Sadlier tried his luck from just outside the box with his shot also going past the post. The board went up for five extra minutes with the Millers fetching on Jamie Lindsay for Ollie Rathbone on the third of those. Bolton nearly got a point after Afolayan saw a shot well saved by Johansson but only finding Brockbank whose wild shot went flying well over the crossbar before a long throw found Afolayan who volleyed over from close range.

Phew.

There were times today when I thought we hadn’t got any control of the game and were gifting balls right, left and centre and there were times when I couldn’t see us being beaten – though, to be fair, more of the former than the latter. But we hung on for three points and went back to the top of the league and perhaps we will have to be satisfied with that!

Referee – Geoff Eltringham

Crowd – 9,736 with 991 Bolton fans making the trip

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