Doncaster Rovers 2 Rotherham United 1
Coppinger (66) Hastie (37)
Rotherham United threw away a one goal lead to come away with nothing this afternoon against Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat.
The Millers started the livelier of the sides although it was the hosts who had the first foray up front when Kazaiah Sterling tried to get the better of Michael Ihiekwe with the Millers man stopping him in his tracks. A free-kick from debutant Jake Hastie was headed behind for a corner which Ben Wiles sent into the area but the referee blew for a foul. In the Millers next move Freddie Ladapo got the ball but he had the ball taken off him before he got into the box. It was Ladapo again minutes later who received the ball from Lewis Price in the Millers goal who sent Hastie on his way but Rovers’ ‘keeper Ian Lawlor got there before the Millers’ Rangers loanee. Another super free-kick from the Scotsman was heading towards skipper Richard Wood but a defender got there first to put it behind for a corner which did find the head of Wood who sent it just wide. Hastie’s next free-kick was claimed by Lawlor before the hosts got forward and Ben Whiteman put the ball just over the crossbar before a strike from James Coppinger was blocked by the purple shirted defenders. Wood did well to get the ball from Coppinger sending the ball wide to Hastie who was challenged and the ball went out for a corner. Wiles’ corner was a good one and found the head of Ihiekwe who put the ball just wide of the upright. Hastie was having a good first forty-five for the Millers and again he won the ball with his cross to Lapado being blocked then cleared. With thirty-seven minutes gone Sterling brought Wiles down with Hastie whipping the following free-kick into the box which sailed over everyone and straight into the back of the net to send the Millers following wild at the other end of the pitch. Two minutes later it might have been two-nil when Hastie again delivered a great ball to Wiles at the back post but the Millers’ number eight headed just wide. With two minutes of the first half left the first yellow of the game went to Wood who didn’t have much choice but to bring down Sterling before he got into the box with no other Miller around. Having not had much to do Price claimed the ball in his area but as he was on his way down Tom Anderson decided to help him sending the visiting ‘keeper clattering to the floor with the Rovers defender seeing yellow.
Rovers came out for the second half with Niall Ennis coming on for Kazaiah Sterling. Jamie Lindsay and Freddie Ladapo had early chances for Rotherham before some good work from Matthew Olosunde saw him send the ball towards Ladapo who had it taken off his head by a Rovers’ defender. A Jake Hastie corner saw Richard Wood rise highest only for his header to end up on the top of the net. Former Miller Jon Taylor was stopped as he tried to run down the wing with Ladapo seeing yellow for the challenge with the resulting James Coppinger free-kick being headed behind for a corner which came in to find the head of Taylor who put the ball high and wide. A second substitution for the hosts saw Kieran Sadlier on for Alfie May which seemed to see Rovers’ tempo go up and when Ben Sheaf sent a pile driver in which brought off a brilliant save from Lewis Price. But he could do nothing four minutes later when some good work from Ennis saw him get a cross in to Coppinger who shot into the net to make it one-one. The visitors were forced into a change when Shaun MacDonald limped off the pitch with Matt Crooks taking his place. Jon Taylor tried his luck from distance which stung the palms of Lewis Price and a minute later Reece James had a shot which Price did well to get down to. Sadlier was the next to try his luck with the ball going inches past the upright before Hastie was subbed with Joe Mattock coming on. Having lost their outlet player in Hastie the Millers looked a bit disjointed and when Michael Smith came on for Carlton Morris it didn’t look a lot better to be honest. Rovers took off Jon Taylor, who was booed by some of the visiting fans but applauded by others, being replaced by Matty Blair. Ennis had time in the box but Wood blocked his shot before Price picked it up and Price then made another good save from Ennis putting the ball behind with the following corner seeing Sadlier putting the ball high and wide. With three minutes of the ninety to go the hosts got into the area again with Ennis who was brought down by Michael Ihiekwe. Ben Whiteman took the spot-kick which flew into the bottom corner of the net to give Rovers a two-one lead. And Whiteman might have added another minutes later when his effort bent but went just wide of the post. In time added on a cross from Mattock found the head of Ladapo who saw the ball cleared before a foul on Ben Wiles saw a header from Wood fall to Lindsay whose shot went wide.
Questions I heard asked as I left the ground were – why can’t we hold onto a lead? Why can we only play forty-five minutes. Why on earth did Warne take Jake Hastie off?
Answers on a postcard I suppose.
The Millers outplayed Rovers in the first half and, to be truthful, for the first ten minutes of the second half but once the hosts went in front we were always hanging on – why it always seems to be like that I don’t know.
A week before the next game and we could really do with the first three points of the season at home when the ‘new look’ Bolton are in town.
Referee – Martin Coy
Attendance – 11,407 (really? They must have all been hiding somewhere) – 3,392 Millers