Date: 26th November 2019 at 9:48pm
Written by:

Portsmouth 3 Rotherham United 2
Curtis (1)              Ladapo (15, 62 (pen))
Marquis (37)
Close (66)

Rotherham United suffered a rare defeat on the road this evening despite twice coming from behind against Portsmouth.

The Millers started the game with three changes – Trevor Clarke, Kyle Vassell and Freddie Ladapo impressing enough off the bench at the weekend to get a start – while Portsmouth started with the same eleven as Saturday.

The game was just a minute old when former Miller Ryan Williams sent a ball over to Ronan Curtis whose curled shot from the edge of the box found the top corner of the net to give the hosts the lead. Rotherham came close to a quick equaliser but the ball was taken off the toes of Freddie Ladapo before he had time to get a shot away. A free-kick for the Millers saw Daniel Barlaser looking for Ladapo but Christian Burgess was there for Pompey to head away and at the other end Brandon Haunstrup found Ben Close in space but Daniel Iversen the Rotherham ‘keeper gathered. Pompey ‘keeper Craig MacGillivray saved well from Kyle Vassell which was followed by a free-kick for the Millers taken by Vassell whose shot was spilled by MacGillivray and there was Ladapo to put the ball into the back of the net to get the equaliser for Rotherham. And a few minutes later it might have been two when a cross from Carlton Morris found the head of Trevor Clarke who put the ball inches over the crossbar. A good cross in from Curtis found John Marquis but didn’t bother anyone before more good work from Clarke who found Ladapo free in the box with MacGillivray doing well to get down to his shot. On thirty-five minutes a lovely cross from Ellis Harrison found Close in space in the area but the midfielder fluffed his lines and put the ball way over the crossbar. But the Millers didn’t learn and a cross in not two minutes later found the head of Harrison who in turn found the forehead of Marquis who put the ball in from close range to make it two-one to the hosts. Vassell and Ladapo were working well together with Vassell sending a ball for Ladapo who was stopped in his track with a good tackle by Burgess when he might have been better to give the ball straight back to Vassell. In time added on there could have been two goals, firstly for the Millers when a header from Morris went just wide and then for Portsmouth when a Curtis cross found the head of Marquis, who was, again, in acres of space, but Iversen was there to save.

Rotherham started the second half with Chiedozie Ogbene coming on for Matthew Olosunde. Portsmouth had the ball in the back of the net in the opening minutes of the second half but Ellis Harrison bundled Daniel Iversen over so it was never going to count. And it was Harrison who saw the first yellow of the game after he brought down Billy Jones just a minute afterwards. Wiles sent Ogbene on his way who beat his marker and eventually won a corner which came to nothing. With the Millers expecting to get a free-kick after Ogbene went down the Rotherham sub looked bemused when he was shown a yellow cards. After some good work from Wiles the midfielder won a corner which came to nothing but minutes later some good work from Trevor Clarke saw him find Carlton Morris who won a free-kick off Lee Ball. Kyle Vassell took the set-piece finding Ogbene at the far post but under pressure he couldn’t do anything with it. Just after the hour mark the Millers won a penalty after Oliver Hawkins brought Vassell down in the box. Up stepped Ladapo who sent the ‘keeper the wrong way to get his, and the Millers, second equaliser of the night sending the two hundred travelling fans wild. Harrison got the ball to Ryan Williams whose shot was well saved by Iversen. Ogbene flew down the wing getting the ball to Ladapo who tried his luck from distance but saw the ball go wide. On sixty-six minutes the hosts got a corner and after the ball had bounced about in the box for a while it eventually fell to Ben Close on the edge of the area who seemed to scuff his shot but it found the back of the net to make it three-two. Minutes later Portsmouth were on the ascendency again and the ball went to Curtis who let fly but Iversen was there to keep the ball out. Morris and Ladapo both had shots blocked while Harrison was doing well in the air for the hosts and Iversen having to save from him. The Millers made a double substitution fetching on Jamie Lindsay and Matt Crooks for Dan Barlaser and Kyle Vassell. Pompey’s first substitution of the night saw former Miller Ryan Williams replaced by Marcus Harness. Rotherham played the last ten minutes or so with ten men after Billy Jones went off with an injury. The Millers had a chance after a Ben Wiles corner fell to Ladapo which was put behind for a second corner by Christian Burgess. This one came in again but was tidied up and Portsmouth counter-attacked but some brilliant defending from Trevor Clarke probably stopped the scoreline getting worse for the visitors. In the final minutes of the game Close found Harkness just outside the box with the winger sending the ball over the crossbar. Morris saw yellow for a late challenge on Marquis. As the board went up for a further four minutes the Millers worked forward with Lindsay trying to find Ladapo but the striker was offside.

The Millers were hard done by this evening not least by having to play with ten men for the final ten minutes or so after Billy Jones hobbled from the pitch.

We take a break from the league now for a week as it’s Cup action next with a Monday night away game at Solihull Moors.

Attendance -16,355 (204 Millers)
Referee – Anthony Coggins

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