Date: 31st August 2019 at 6:34pm
Written by:

Rotherham United 1 Tranmere Rovers 1
Wiles (73)                         Payne (90+5)

Rotherham United let a one goal lead slip in the final minute of the game to get their first point at home when, with a bit better defending, it could well have been three.

It was very much a stop-start game with Matthew Olosunde being targeted by the Rovers players from the start. The Millers number twenty-two was brought down by Paul Mullin on three minutes with Dan Barlaser’s resulting free-kick finding the head of skipper Richard Wood but his header was over the head of Kyle Vassell going for a goal kick. Six minutes later another Barlaser free-kick was punched clear by Tranmere ‘keeper Scott Davies finding Michael Smith who crossed to Clark Robertson whose header was saved by Davies. New boy Chiedozie Ogbene started the game on the bench but made an early debut after Vassell was forced off on twelve minutes injured. Freddie Ladapo tried his luck from distance but the ball only troubled the crowd behind the goal Daniel Iversen did well at the other end to get down to a shot from Kieron Morris. Olosunde was stopped in his tracks by former Miller Darren Potter with Barlaser’s free-kick hitting the wall and going to safety. An Olosunde long throw was scrambled to safety by the visiting defence before it could reach Ladapo before Ogbene found Michael Ihiekwe whose shot was hooked clear by a Rovers defender. Some great running from Ben Wiles got the Millers a corner which was punched by Davies into a ruck of bodies in the area before going to safety. Matt Crooks and Wiles worked well with the latter sending a ball into the area which Davies caught before Ladapo could get near with Ihiekwe doing well at the other end to block a David Perkins effort. The Tranmere faithful thought they should have had a penalty with five minutes of the half to go when a cross from Morris was blocked by a red shirt but referee Andy Haines said ‘no’. Some good work from Wiles saw him get a shot through a number of players in the box with the ball fooling the ‘keeper and coming back off the bottom of the post. Stefan Payne, who had really be treading a fine line since the opening minutes, was booked as the half ended for a poor challenge on Wood before a hooked shot from Crooks was easy for Davies to catch.

Rotherham started the second half with Jamie Lindsay replacing Dan Barlaser. Chiedozie Ogbene flew down the wing with his cross into the box headed away by Emmanuel Monthe and a minute later Ogbene again got the better of his marker sending the ball across the box towards Michael Smith but the Millers forward couldn’t get to it. At the other end the home defence was found wanting when Jamie Potter got through the middle sending the ball to Paul Mullin whose initial shot was fumbled by Daniel Iversen going just wide of the post. Another good run from Ogbene saw him get the ball to Crooks who really should better with his shot which flew over the ball into the Millers fans behind. At the other end Mullin got the better of Richard Wood sending the ball to Connor Jennings who fluffed his lines with the ball ending up near the corner flag. On the seventy-third minute a superb cross from Matthew Olosunde wasn’t dealt with by the visiting defence and fell to Ben Wiles who got himself in front of the defenders and shot into the roof of the goal to give the Millers the lead – and this time he gets to keep his goal! Just a minute later Rovers should have equalised when Potter shot towards goal which hit Wood on the way and flew across the line just evading the outstretched foot of Stefan Payne. Tranmere’s first sub of the afternoon saw Paul Mullin replaced by Rushian Hepburn-Murphy. The visitors were looking for an equaliser and Potter had a shot blocked before a Morris cross found Sid Nelson whose header was saved by Daniel Iversen. At the other end Crooks did well to evade his marker and fired a shot which looked to be heading for the top corner of the net but went inches wide before the Millers number seventeen sent a lovely ball in for Freddie Ladapo who shot straight into the waiting arms of Scott Davies. As the game headed towards the ninety minute mark Ogbene got a yellow followed by Joe Mattock replacing Ladapo and Rovers’ Nelson making way for Calum Wood. Five minutes extra minutes went on the board which seemed to spur the visitors on with Connor Jennings seeing a shot go wide and Hepburn-Murphy having a header blocked. With the five minutes up Tranmere were again on the run and despite the ball looking like it went out of play Morris swung the ball into the box and with the Millers defenders stood watching Payne toe-poked the ball over the line to give Rovers a share of the spoils. The game ended with yellow cards being shown to a number of people stood around the Tranmere management.

We really have to learn that the game doesn’t end when the ninety minutes is up on the clock. The Millers got their first home point of the season this afternoon but, although a draw was probably a fair result, it should have been three points. When are we going to learn to hold onto a lead? Even I know, sitting in the stands, the only way with the players we have to defend a lead is to go forward – which is why I’m scratching my head over the final substitution.

Referee – Andy Haines Ed Note – how can someone referee a game when he stands five yards away from the action? How can a player who trips a ‘keeper up when he’s got the ball in his hands when there are only the two of them in the area not get a yellow card? How can he not see handballs? This man was never up with play for the whole of the ninety-five minutes. Let’s hope we don’t meet him again for a very long time.

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