Rotherham United 2 Blackpool 1
Smith (21) Gnanduillet (34)
Rotherham United ended the Christmas period in second place in League One after three consecutive wins, the third coming this afternoon in the home game with Blackpool.
The Millers started brightly with Dan Barlaser and Matthew Olosunde working well together with the former causing problems to the visiting defence with his crosses into the area. Some nice work between Chiedozie Ogbene and Matt Crooks saw Crooks have a shot which went wide. A flick-on from Crooks minutes later found Freddie Ladapo but Oliver Turton got the better of the Millers striker and set-up a counter attack which saw Nathan Delfouneso with too much space in the area but as he was getting teed up to shoot Adam Thompson put him under pressure and the ball blazed over the crossbar. The hosts had had most of the play and were rewarded on twenty-one mintues when Ogbene did well to win a corner which was taken by Barlaser with Michael Smith rising above everyone else to put the ball in the net and give the Millers the lead. It might have been two a few minutes later when another Barlaser corner was whipped into the area which ‘Pool ‘keeper Mark Howard managed to hold on to after the ball came down off the crossbar. A free-kick from Barlaser saw Howard fumble the ball and it fell to Michael Ihiekwe who saw his half-shot cleared by the Blackpool defenders. At the other end the visitors won a corner and Rotherham seemed to be asleep when it was taken short and went in to Armand Gnanduillet at the far post who headed home with both Rotherham players and fans alike asking for off-side – the players even asking the linesman Mr Pashley (or Mr C. Rap as we were calling him) to look at the incident when it was showing on the TV Screen in the corner. Minutes later the hosts had another chance after Ogbene proved too much for his marker and raced down the wing with the ball and got himself into a shooting position but saw the ball go inches over. As the board went up for three further minutes Olosunde did well to get to a ball before Sullay Kaikai who might have punished the Millers further.
Blackpool started the second half with a double substitution seeing Joe Nuttall and Curtis Tilt on for John Thompson and Sulley Kaikai. Matthew Olosunde did well to see Michael Smith in space with the Rotherham striker seeing Mark Howard clasp the ball to his body. The Millers appealed for a penalty five minutes into the half when Smith appeared to be dragged to the floor by Tilt but Mr Adcock wasn’t interested and he was just as uninterested when Michael Ihiekwe was held in the area a few minutes later. Adam Thompson did well to get the ball out to Chiedozie Ogbene who himself did well to get a shot away only to see it go over the crossbar. At the other end James Husband did well only for his shot to miss everyone in the area. The Millers first sub of the afternoon saw Kyle Vassell on for Freddie Ladapo which was followed by some good work by the hosts who saw Ogbene’s shot come back off Howard with the ball falling to Smith who shot towards goal only to see Ryan Edwards hook it off the line and to safety. And it might have been another for the Millers when Vassell saw a chance and hit the ball towards the net only for Howard to stretch out a leg and stop it going in. The second substitute for the hosts saw Ben Wiles make way for Jake Hastie. Some poor decision making from Nuttall saw him look to get the ball to Armand Gnanduillet when it might have been better for him to shoot and the Millers cleared. The first yellow card of the game went to Matthew Virtue-Thick for a terrible challenge, and not for the first time, on Osolunde. Vassell could have scored after a Dan Barlaser corner first found Adam Thompson who in turn found the Millers substitute only for Vassell to head over in front of goal and again a few minutes later when he won a free-kick, took it himself but blazed it just the wrong side of the post. Carlton Morris was the last change for the Millers who came on for Michael Smith for the final ten minutes. A header from Blackpool’s goalscorer down to Nuttall saw the striker put the ball wide, although Millers’ ‘keeper Daniel Iversen looked to have it covered. Morris got the ball from Iversen only to be stopped in his tracks by a silly foul which saw Jay Spearing booked. The resulting free-kick was taken by Barlaser whose shot flew into the top right hand corner of the goal sending the majority of the eight thousand six hundred fans wild. Blackpool threw on Liam Feeney for Oliver Turton for time added on. Iversen did well to get down and smother a shot from Spearing before Mat Crooks was booked for a foul on Tilt and a minute later Husband was booked for the same sort of challenge on Morris.
Three points and we can’t have asked for a better start to 2020 than that!
As a Millers fan it’s been a very very Merry Christmas!
Attendance – 8,689 (588 from Blackpool)
Referee – James Adcock