Norwich City 1 Rotherham United 0
A one-nil win at Carrow Road was enough to give Norwich all three points and see them go seven points clear at the top of the Championship whereas Rotherham United fall back into the bottom three.
The hosts started well but it was Rotherham who won the first corner of the game on four minutes after some good work between Ryan Giles and Matt Crooks with Lewis Wing’s set-piece making City ‘keeper Tim Krul work for his money by getting his hands to clear. At the other end Norwich could have opened the scoring when Kenny McLean saw Oliver Skipp making progress down the wing but his pass was too strong and only found Viktor Johansson in the Rotherham goal. A minute later and some great work from Teemu Pukki found Mario Vrancic in the box but the Bosnian International sent his shot wide. Under pressure from Ben Wiles Grant Hanley put the ball out for a corner which flew into a host of players and was put into the back of the net when the referee was the only person in the stadium to see a foul blew for a City free-kick. Michael Ihiekwe had to be on his toes to stop a Emiliano Buendia cross finding Pukki in a good position. But it was only a matter of time before Norwich took the lead and on the seventeenth minute Buendia did find him man and Pukki, one-on-one with Johansson shot the ball into the net. A minute later it probably should have been two when a loose ball fell to Todd Cantwell and with the Millers defence all at sixes and sevens he put his shot over the crossbar. On the half-hour mark some indecision between Max Aarons and his goalkeeper almost let Giles in before a long throw from Wes Harding found the head of Angus MacDonald whose flick found Michael Smith in the area but he couldn’t force the ball into the net. At the other end Clark Robertson did well to stop a Pukki cross finding Skipp in a shooting position and it was Robertson again who blocked a shot from Buendia when it looked like he’d make it two-nil. In the final five minutes of the half a Harding cross was intercepted by Christoph Zimmerman but only as far as Wiles whose effort flew over the crossbar. In the next minute Wing sent the ball to Giles who was in space whose shot was straight at Krul before Robertson did well at the other end to get to a Cantwell cross and clear.
Rotherham started the second half with Matt Olosunde coming on for Angus MacDonald. The Millers started the second half well and following a corner the ball fell to Ben Wiles just outside the box who let fly rattling the crossbar. A Millers free-kick found the head of Michael Ihiekwe who in turn found Clark Robertson but the Scot sent his header wide. Emiliano Buendía’s through ball found Teemu Pukki who found Viktor Johansson in fine form as he made a brilliant diving save although the Finn was flagged off-side. Buendia was causing problems and a minute later his cross found Todd Cantwell who sent his shot wide. A foul on Buendia by Ihiekwe bought the Millers captain for the day the first yellow card of the game. Mario Vrancic and Kenny McLean had shots that came to nothing before a Buendia corner caused problems in the box with Robertson clearing off the line. A double change for the Millers saw Freddie Ladapo and George Hirst replace Dan Barlaser, who had took a knock to the face earlier and Michael Smith followed by a Matt Crooks shot towards goal blocked by a Norwich defender. With twenty minutes to go Johansson brought off another good save from Pukki after he’d been sent clear by McClean. At the other end the Millers came close to equalising when Ladapo took the ball into the area sending the ball to Crooks who saw his shot well blocked by Max Aarons with both players ending on the deck and receiving treatment, Crooks eventually being replaced by Kieran Sadlier. The Millers won a free-kick which found it’s way to the head of Robertson who headed down to Ladapo with Tim Krul coming out to claim. At the other end Cantwell and Pukki played well together with the latter dragging a shot wide which was followed by another Millers change with Wes Harding making way for Florian Jozefzoon. Again Robertson had to be aware to block a shot from Pukki. As the board went up for a further seven minutes Norwich brought on Lukas Rapp for Todd Cantwell and Adam Idah for Teemu Pukki (Ed Note: if only they’d done that half-an-hour ago!) with Alexander Tettey replacing Mario Vrancic a couple of minutes later. As the clock ticked towards the end of the game Sadlier had a chance for the visitors from outside the box but it might even have been too high if he’d been playing rugby.
In the end we were beaten by the better team today but, with Sixpence’s rose-tinted specs on, we can take a positive from the game by it being only one-nil. We had chances to score but, guess what, we didn’t take them again. We have to take them on Tuesday night when Forest are the visitors to the New York Stadium.
Millers Lose Out To Pukki Goal
Norwich City 1 Rotherham United 0