EVERTON 3 ROTHERHAM 1
Sigurdsson (28) Vaulks (86)
Rotherham United bowed out of the Carabao Cup last night at the hands of Premier League outfit Everton but came away with heads held eye after putting in a fighting performance.
The Millers had the first sight of goal when an Everton defensive mix-up saw the ball land at the feet of Jamie Proctor but his long range effort was off target. Another move saw a Joe Newell cross just narrowly miss the toes of Ben Wiles and was cleared in the Everton box. At the other end Oumar Niasse had the first sight of goal for the hosts but Semi Ajayi stood tall and strong and blocked his shot. With twenty minutes gone Lewis Price in the Millers’ goal did well to get down to a shot from Gylfi Sigurdsson but was fouled in the process and had to have some on-pitch treatment. But the Millers didn’t really take heed of that movement and just before the half-hour mark Sandro Ramirez got the better of the Millers defence and sent a shot which fell to the Icelandic International Sigurdsson who put the ball into the net to give Everton the lead. Minutes later the Millers nearly equalised when an Anthony Forde free-kick was headed on by Sean Raggett and when the Toffees Kurt Zouma tried to get the ball away he ended up hitting the post and was lucky it went on the outside and not the inside. Ramirez was proving a difficult opponent for the Millers defenders and again got a good ball into the box but this time Price got a hand to it and there was no one there to put it in. A cross from Zac Vyner found David Ball who put his shot wide before Newell put in a perfect ball for Raggett but the Norwich loanee put the ball way over the crossbar when it looked easier to score. Moments later Price did well to get his hand to a Tom Davies shot which looked like it was heading for the bottom corner before he managed to smother a ball from Dominic Calvert-Lewin from twenty yards out. In time added on Everton got the chance to double their lead when Jonjoe Kenny put a superb ball in for Oumar Niasse but the Senegal striker blazed the ball into the Everton fans behind the goal.
The Millers started the second half with Will Vaulks on for Ben Wiles. In the opening minutes of the second half Lucas Digne put a shot over the bar before Lewis Price had to be on hand to gather a shot from Dominic Calvert-Lewis. The fist (and only) yellow of the game saw Digne booked for a poor challenge on Anthony Forde with the free-kick coming to nothing. Kieren Dowell sent in a good ball for Kenny who found Clark Robertson too strong for him. Just after the hour mark the Millers second substitution of the night saw Kyle Vassell on for David Ball and just seconds later the hosts were two up. A Gylfi Sigurdsson free-kick hit the Millers wall but only went as far as Digne who crossed for Calvert-Lewis who headed home to make it two-nil to Everton. At the other end Sean Raggett saw another header go over the crossbar before Everton really should have made it three when a cross into the box found Oumar Niasse all on his own at the back post only for him to head over with no one challenging him. Everton’s first change of the night saw Theo Walcott replace Sigurdsson while the Millers last change saw Jon Taylor on for Joe Newell followed by Cenk Tosun coming on for Oumar Niasse for the hosts. A superb run from Taylor saw him get the ball across to Vaulks who saw his shot blocked by Davies before Semi Ajayi sent a lovely ball down the wing to Vassell who appeared to slip and put the ball wide before a flick from Ajayi found Jamie Proctor who tried a shot from fifteen yards out which went just over. But the Millers pressure paid off on eighty-six minutes when a Forde corner went into the box and Vaulks jumped highest and headed into the back of the net – cue the Millers fans on their fee, cue Vaulks’ trademark back flip goal celebration. Unfortunately, minds looked to be elsewhere when Everton kicked off and within a minute Davies sent the ball into the box at the other and and there was Calvert-Lewis to make it three-one to the hosts.
No disgrace after that fine battling display from the Millers at Goodison Park yesterday evening. The lads did all we could ask them to do – except perhaps take the chances they had, but we won’t hold that against them.