Norwich City 3 Rotherham United 1
Cantwell 55 Towell 11
Rotherham United’s seven game unbeaten run came to an end this afternoon at a wet Carrow Road which saw Norwich City go back to the top of the Championship after temporarily being over taken by Leeds United earlier in the day.
The Millers started well and the game was just eleven minutes old when a Joe Newell short corner found Anthony Forde, starting his first game since the end of August which was at Goodison Park in the Cup, who in turn found Will Vaulks on the edge of the box. The Millers’ skipper sent a cracker of a shot towards goal which was pushed away by City ‘keeper Tim Krul but only as far as Richie Towell who put the ball over the line to give the visitors the lead and send the five hundred or so travelling fans wild. The Millers had a number of corners following the goal with both Towell and Vaulks having close calls for goals. With twenty minutes gone the Millers probably should have been two up after some nice work from Newell saw him get the ball to Ryan Williams who tried his luck from just outside the box only to see the ball cannon off the upright and go to safety. Just before the half-hour mark Norwich had their first real chance when some good work between Todd Cantwell and Jamal Lewis saw the ball fall to Marco Stiepermann whose shot was well blocked by Joe Mattock. A couple of minutes later Millers defender Zak Vyner started a move in his own half before running into the box to get to a cross from Forde but saw his header go inches over the crossbar. Three minutes before half-time Newell limped off and was replaced by Jon Taylor for the visitors. With the half in time added on the Millers came under a bit of pressure with both Emiliano Buendia and Cantwell missing chances.
The Millers started the second half with Richard Wood replacing Clark Robertson. Norwich started this half the better and after a number of corners it wasn’t much of a surprise when they equalised with ten minutes of the half gone. A nice ball from Mario Vrancic found Teemu Pukki who put the ball across the box towards Todd Cantwell and with the Millers defence looking on he fired home. Joe Mattock did well to stop first Maximillian Aarons and then Vrancic with a free-kick from the latter going just wide before Marek Rodak in the Millers’ goal did well to hold onto a strike from Emiliano Buendia. But the ‘keeper could do nothing on the seventy-first minute when Cantwell’s superb clip into the box was met by Aarons who headed home his first goal for the Canaries. The Millers last substitution of the afternoon saw Anthony Forde replaced by Jamie Proctor. A foul on Ryan Williams saw a Will Vaulks free-kick find Michael Smith who couldn’t get his header right under pressure from the Norwich defence before Zak Vyner found Williams with a neat pass but Tim Krul came out to collect. Rodak did well to palm away a shot which looked destined for the back of the net from Buendia which then fell to Teemu Pukki who shot across an empty box putting the ball wide. But the Finish forward made up for the miss six minutes from time when a short pass from Williams put Semi Ajayi under pressure and after a bit of dithering from the usual calm Nigerian, Marco Stiepermann got the better of him to pass to Pukki who slotted home to make it three-one. The hosts made three late changes fetching on Jordan Rhodes, Tom Trybull and Ben Godfrey for Jamal Lewis, Marco Vrancic and Teemu Pukki who brought off a superb save from Rodak before he went off. Minutes after coming on Rodak was again on form to stop Trybull getting a goal.
It really was a game of two halves this afternoon at Carrow Road. The Millers looked confident from the start of the first half and had the better of the half and although I can’t say they ‘fell to bits’ in the second half they were run a little ragged by the team who sit on top of the table this evening.
Crowd – 25,858
Referee – Steve Martin