Date: 15th December 2019 at 11:45am
Written by:

Southend United 2 Rotherham United 2
Demetriou (49)            Kiernan (og) (30)
Mantom (52)                Ladapo (60)

Rotherham United moved back into the top six after getting a point away in a pretty lifeless game at Roots Hall yesterday afternoon.

The Millers were the quickest out of the blocks with a powerful shot from Freddie Ladapo, who was back at a former stamping ground, was put round the post by Southend ‘keeper Nathan Bishop. The hosts responded minutes later with a header from Stephen McLaughlin was put out for a corner before Jason Demetriou put one over from the edge of the box. At the other end a Dan Barlaser free-kick forced a corner which came to nothing followed ten minutes later by a Clark Robertson ball brought a fumbling save from Bishop who collected at the second attempt with Ladapo ready to pounce. Free-kicks from Barlaser and Jake Hastie found Chiedozie Ogbene and Robertson but neither bothered Bishop. With thirty minutes on the clock the visitors got another corner which Hastie sent into the box and after it seemed to hit various players the ball ended in the back of the net with the credit originally going to Barlaser before being given as a Rob Kiernan own goal. Five minutes later it might have been two when Ben Wiles got to a loose ball and let fly from some twenty yards out only to see the ball go inches wide with Bishop rooted to his goal line. An off the ball incident earned Barlaser a yellow card with Michael Smith getting the same five minutes later after tripping Timothee Dieng. As the half came to an end Matthew Olosunde sent a hopeful ball in towards Ladapo but the strikers header went well wide.

The Millers might have doubled their lead in the opening minutes of the second half after Jake Hastie had left three Southend players in is wake to win a corner which Daniel Barlaser took finding Clark Robertson who really should have done better with his header. It was a bit of a disappointment when referee Charles Breakspear took out a yellow card for Chiedozie Ogbene on forty-eight minutes for handling the ball in the area followed by him pointing to the spot for a penalty which Jason Demetriou stuck in the bottom right-hand corner to give the hosts the equaliser. And it was doubly disappointing not three minutes later when the Rotherham defence seemed to stop and left Millers’ ‘keeper Daniel Iversen one-on-one with Sam Mantom who made it two-one from just outside the box. But the Millers got back into the game on the hour mark when a shot from Hastie rattled the crossbar coming back to Michael Ihiekwe who got the ball to Robertson who in turn saw Freddie Ladapo waiting who fired home to make it two-two making the travelling four hundred happy. At the other end Stephen McLaughlin appeared to mis-kick but the ball hit the ground and clipped the crossbar on it’s way over before the Millers thought they’d got a penalty when a ball in from Ben Wiles appeared to hit the arm of a Shrimpers defender but the flag was already up for off-side. A cross from Ogbene saw Michael Smith’s header saved by Nathan Bishop followed by a Barlaser ball finding Ihiekwe whose header was also saved by the Southend goalie. With fifteen minutes to go Isaac Hutchinson replaced Sam Mantom for the hosts and minutes later Carlton Morris came on for the Millers for Smith. A poor challenge on Olosunde brought a yellow for Brandon Goodship followed by a bookings for protesting about the challenge for Robertson and Ihiekwe – surely, as captain, Ikie is allowed to ask the question? An injury to Stephen McLaughlin saw him subbed with Simon Cox taking his place followed minutes later with  Layton Ndukwu coming on for Brandon Goodship. As the board went up for an extra six minutes a super save from Bishop stopped Ladapo getting the winner for the visitors.

At the start of the season I really thought we’d got some great attacking options – I know we have injuries but we really do seem to be, apart from Freddie, struggling to put the round thing in the back of the net. I’m also a bit worried about the way our defenders all appear to go walk-about at the same time. Luckily we have the ‘never give up attitude’ which is possibly one of the only things going for us at the moment.

Saying that it’s an away point and away points aren’t to be scoffed at in this league.

Referee – Charles Breakspear

Attendance – 5,652 (423 Millers)

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