Rotherham United will feel somewhat cheated after only getting a point this afternoon against former Manager Steve Evans’ Peterborough side at the New York Stadium.
Evans and his number two Paul Raynor got a good reception before the game from the Millers fans although when the visiting Posh supporters began singing ‘Steve Evans’ blue and white army’ the home fans immediately drowned them out with ‘there’s only one Paul Warne’.
Posh won the first free-kick of the game which Marcus Maddison took with the Millers defence holding steady and on the counter attack perhaps should have opened the scoring when Anthony Forde found himself one-on-one with Conor O’Malley but the visiting ‘keeper came out and foiled the Millers winger. Just before the quarter of an hour mark the visitors had a shout for a penalty when Jack Marriott went down under a challenge from Semi Ajayi but referee Oldham shook his head. Straight down the other end and the hosts had another good chance when Joe Mattock tried his luck only for O’Malley to get the ball away from danger. Some good work between Michael Smith, Joe Newell and Matty Palmer saw a cross from Palmer find David Ball at the back post who put the ball just wide followed by a Newell free-kick finding the head of Ajayi only for his header to loop up over the crossbar. Minutes later a superb cross in from Newell was just a little too high for Smith while at the other end Marriott got the better of Ajayi but sent his shot into the Posh fans behind the net. Josh Emmanuel was then involved at both ends of the pitch firstly getting a cross in to Smith whose shot was too high before blocking off a cross from Danny Lloyd at the other end before it could get to Marriott. Another superb save from O’Malley saw him get to a Forde cross before any red shirt in the area before Rodak Marek was brought into the game after a lovely ball from Maddison found Marriott who saw his shot saved by the Millers’ ‘keeper at pitch level. With half-time approaching Newell was stopped in the area by Ryan Tafazolli before Rodak did well to punch a Maddison cross-cum-shot from under his own crossbar.
The second half began with black skies which soon brought forth March hail making the pitch wet and slippy which also saw Conor O’Malley in the right place at the right time to catch a header from Michael Smith. A Josh Emmanuel cross found the head of Richie Towell but his header was well blocked by Liam Shephard followed by another good cross in from Emmanuel which O’Malley got to. Some good build-up work between Joe Newell and Joe Mattock gave Towell the chance to send a swerving ball which went inches over followed by O’Malley getting to a chipped shot from David Ball. The first substitution of the afternoon saw Posh replace George Cooper with Junior Morias swiftly followed by Danny Lloyd making way for Joe Ward. After flattening Forde the first yellow of the afternoon went to Ryan Tafazolli with the Newell free-kick coming to nothing before the Millers first substitution saw Caolan Lavery on for David Ball. Newell should have done better on the hour mark but his control let him down and the ball went out of play. Minutes later a cross from Newell hit a Peterborough player and fell to Lavery but he put the ball wide when he really should have made O’Malley work. Minutes later Richie Towell tried a shot from distance which flew over the crossbar. But on sixty-nine minutes the Millers took a deserved lead after a Forde free-kick seemed to be controlled by the arm of Anthony Grant but as the ball fell into the path of Lavery he shot sending the ball through a sea of defenders and O’Malley to hit the back of the net sending the Millers fans wild. A couple of minutes later Will Vaulks tried a shot from distance which troubled no-one except the visiting Posh fans. Objecting to having a foul go against him Marcus Maddison saw yellow which was followed by Tafazolli slowly making his way off the pitch with Lewis Freestone taking the place of the injured central midfielder. O’Malley managed to hold onto a shot from Newell before he made a wonderful fingertip save from a Smith header. At the other end Rodak proved what O’Malley could do he could do better and at full stretch turned a superb shot from Jack Marriott round the post for a corner. Some great work from Smith saw him set up Newell who decided to shoot, with Mattock free on the back post, seeing the ball go wide. Mattock limped off soon after that with Michael Ihiekwe replacing him. In an already unbelievable six minutes of time added on the visitors got a corner which found Marriott who put it wide and Rodak had to be alert to keep a couple more shots out. Smith, who had been kicked, trod on, held all game was booked for delaying the game and Richie Towell limped off holding his left hamstring which saw Ryan Williams come on. In the eighth minute of time added on the Millers were dealt a harsh blow when Morias got the ball from a free-kick and sent it to Marriott who stuck the ball into the middle of the net earning the visitors a point.
So disappointing after having a big part of the game for the Millers but what have we always said about taking your chances – and we had plenty of chances. Hey ho and onto the long drive to The Valley for the Easter Monday game.