Date: 17th April 2013 at 12:27am
Written by:

Rotherham United moved into the final automatic promotion place this evening after beating Yorkshire rivals Bradford City at Valley Parade.

The game was just four minutes old when the home side thought they had taken the lead after a Gary Jones corner was headed in by James Hanson but referee Mark Haywood had already blown for a foul on Millers` defender Claude Davis. A few minute later the Bantams were awarded a free-kick which Kyel Reid took and only a punch out from Scott Shearer in the Millers goal saved the ball from finding the back of the net. The game was ten minutes old before the visitors first shot at goal which came from Lee Frecklington which was easily saved by Bantams` ‘keeper Jon McLaughlin. Just after the half-hour mark Garry Thompson had the ball in the back of the net but this time a linesman`s flag came to the rescue of the Millers. Although the Millers were seeing quite a bit of the ball the only real shot they had before half-time was from Alex Revell whose downward header was well smothered by McLaughlin. In the final minute of the half Michael O`Connor who hadn`t really recovered from an early challenge by Wells and Mitch Rose took his place. As the half came to an end only a reflex save from Shearer stopped Jones from scoring while Craig Morgan did well to block again from Jones.

In the first minute of the second half Ben Pringle saw a pass intercepted by Rory McArdle while a shot from Thompson at the other end went harmlessly high. Pringle then had a shot saved by McLaughlin while Craig Morgan cleared a cross-cum-shot from Reid at the other end of the pitch and minutes later Kari Arnason managed to block a shot from the same player. On sixty-seven minutes a Pringle corner found Morgan who in turn got the ball to Revell but the striker`s shot from inside the area went over the crossbar. There was a lot of stopping and starting during the middle of the half with the referee getting a bit pernickety and awarding free-kicks for next to nothing until the seventy-ninth minute when Revell and Michael Nelson challenged for the same ball and the Bradford substitute handled in the area giving the referee no choice but to give a penalty to the Millers. After a lot of argy bargy and the referee getting people out of the area Lee Frecklington kept his nerve and stroked the ball into the net in front of the delighted two thousand Millers following. Bradford came straight back at the Millers and only a block on the line from Joe Skarz kept Thompson`s shot out while Alan Connell missed an absolute sitter minutes later. In time added on the Bantams were awarded a corner and goalkeeper McLaughlin went up to try and help force an equaliser but Shearer cleared the ball upfield to Kieran Agard who was that quick the home defenders and McLaughlin, who actually did well not to bring the Millers striker down, couldn`t catch him and he stuck the ball into the bottom corner of the empty net to send the Millers fans home happy and singing.

It was exactly what the doctor ordered today – a team effort, passion when needed, defending at it`s best and all three points.

* If the stand behind the goal holds 1,500 and there were people stood all over as there weren’t enough seats and there were at least 500 in the side stand – I think 1,700 Millers is being a little conservative)