Date: 4th March 2017 at 6:24pm
Written by:

Rotherham United suffered their twenty-sixth defeat of the season this afternoon after gifting visitors Aston Villa a first goal in their two-nil win at the New York Stadium. Yet, once again, we feel that the scoreline wasn’t the whole story.

Firstly I have to say I watched the Manchester United v Bournemouth game on TV and didn’t think I would see any worse refereeing than in that game – golly, was I wrong.

In the opening minutes of the first half Villa thought they should have had a penalty when Jonathan Kodjia got the better of Semi Ajayi and twisted Aimen Belaid before falling to the ground but referee Mr Martin shook his head. Jon Taylor made a brilliant run down the wing easing his way past Henri Lansbury only to find no-one to pass to into the box before some good work from Ben Purrington sent Anthony Forde on his way only for Sam Johnstone in the Villa net to get down to the ball. At the other end Kodjia and Ajayi came together with the ball falling nicely for Birkir Bjarnason who passed to Conor Hourihane. The former Barnsley player put the ball into the back of the net but the linesman had his flag up for off-side. Ten minutes in the visitors would have gone in front from Bjarnason but for some good goal line defending from Purrington and Ajayi. The Millers were forced into a substitution when, after treatment, Stephen Kelly couldn’t continue with Richie Smallwood replacing him. A Villa free-kick came to nothing when Kodjia put it over the bar before Lewis Price in the Millers goal made two excellent saves, firstly putting a Hourihane shot round the post and then from Albert Adomah when he was one-on-one with the ‘keeper. Just past the half-hour mark Bjarnason was forced off being replaced by Jack Grealish. A corner for the hosts taken by Forde saw Tom Adeyemi get a good head on it but Kodjia did well to hack it away before a low effort from Taylor had Johnstone holding his breath as it went just wide. A superb run from Taylor saw him get the ball towards Danny Ward but Johnstone did well to get there before the Millers striker before Belaid did well after Adomah lobbed Price but the defender was there to get it away. Grealish didn’t last long for Villa limping off to be replaced by Jordan Amavi. In time added on a free-kick for Villa found James Chester in the box but his shot was blocked.

The Millers began the second half with Lee Frecklington on for Danny Ward. Jerry Yates pounced on a loose ball and his shot hit the hand of Sam Johnstone before nestling into the bottom of the net but the referee Mr Martin blew for an earlier infringement. On the pitch just four minutes and Frecklington received the first yellow of the game for, what looked like a good challenge, on Alan Hutton. Will Vaulks saw a shot go inches wide before a free-kick for the visitors at the other end saw Lewis Price punch behind and then do well to claim the resulting corner. Jon Taylor limped off the pitch to be replaced by Joe Newell with Belaid being the next player to see yellow for a trip on Conor Hourihane. Disaster struck on sixty-eight minutes after Jonathan Kodjia broke down the right crossing the ball for Albert Adomah who put the ball across the face of goal and it bounced against Will Vaulks going into his own net. The Millers responded well and only a good block from James Chester stopped Forde equalising. At the other end Ben Purrington did well to get to a cross before Adomah before Price did well again to stop a shot from Jordan Amavi going in. Forde and Yates did well to get some movement in the box but Johnstone was there to claim before a shot from Hourihane went just wide when it looked easier to score. Newell and Purrington played a nice one-two but there wasn’t a red shirt up with them to get the ball in the area before Johnstone did well to save from Forde. Forde went on to win a couple of corners but Villa get away and only some good defending from Semi Ajayi stopped Kodjia making it two. At the other end Forde and Frecklington saw shots blocked before Villa again broke down the pitch with Kodjia shooting from just outside the area seeing his shot go in via the post. That was the Ivory Coast internationals last part of the game with him being replaced by Keinan Davis. The Millers had half a chance in the three minutes added on when a through ball from Belaid found Newell but the Millers player was offside.

The players tried this afternoon but, let’s be honest, they weren’t much of a match for Villa – we were too small and failed to win hardly any headers. We weren’t quick enough to counter attack and with twenty minutes to go were found lacking in fitness.