Manchester City 7 Rotherham United 0
Ajayi og (45+1)
Rotherham United’s forage into this season’s FA Cup was stopped at the first hurdle this afternoon by a rampant Manchester City side at the Etihad Stadium who put seven past the bewildered Millers.
The game was just two minutes old when some good work from Kevin De Bruyne slid a pass to Gabriel Jesus who smacked the ball onto the crossbar with a header. A minute later only some good work from Semi Ajayi denied Raheem Sterling a look at goal as the England striker fired wide before Millers’ ‘keeper Marek Rodak raced out to claim with Sterling ready to pounce. At the other end Ben Wiles sent a good ball through to Anthony Forde who tried to get it to Rotherham’s loan striker Michael Smith but City were equal to it and got the ball away. After trying to set Jesus up Riyad Mahrez had a shot himself which Rodak did well to get his fingertips too so it was no surprise on twelve minutes when City went ahead after a superb pass from De Bruyne found Sterling who eased past his marker and shot into the bottom corner of the goal. Minutes later the Millers had a chance when Ajayi managed to get the ball in the area and shot only to see it blocked for a corner which came to nothing. On eighteen minutes the visitors had a great chance after a back pass from John Stones put his ‘keeper, Ederson, in all sorts of trouble with Anthony Forde racing into the area but is deemed to have fouled the ‘keeper when it looked like he might have a shot. There was then a short stoppage as one of the linesman got an injury and needed replacing with Ben Wiles being the first to be shown a yellow after it was deemed he pulled Sterling back when play resumed. Ederson again found himself with problems with another poor back pass with Forde again getting to the ball and sending it towards Jon Taylor who was beaten to it by Kyle Walker. Only some good defending stopped the hosts doubling their lead before Ilkay Gundogan fired over from distance. A poor challenge on Smith saw Sterling the next player get a yellow card. A high cross into the box from Zak Vyner, who had been having a bit of a torrid time marking Sterling, was aimed at Taylor but he became the filling in the sandwich between Stones and Ederson. With two minutes to go before half-time everyone in a dark shirt seemed to stop to admire a run by Phil Foden leaving Clark Robertson to deal with the England U21 midfielder by throwing himself in front of him to block his shot. But seconds later he wasn’t there to do the same when Gundogan set Foden on his way and the eighteen year old scored his first goal at the Etihad. Rodak did well to save a header from Mahrez but could do nothing moments later when Walker harassed Ajayi in the box and the Millers big centre-half trying to clear put it into his own net sending City in at half-time with a three-nil lead.
It didn’t get much better in the second half although Semi Ajayi did well to stop Gabriel Jesus getting to a cross from Raheem Sterling but could do nothing to help minutes later when this time Jesus met the cross from Sterling and made it four-nil to the hosts. The Millers had an appeal for a penalty when Joe Mattock seemed to be pulled over in the box but referee David Coote said ‘no’. The Millers looked a little relieved on fifty-seven minutes when Sterling was taken off but it didn’t last long because he was replaced by German international Leroy Sane. Riyad Mahrez saw a shot go over from some twenty-yards out followed by some lovely footwork from Jesus which Marek Rodak did well to tip over the crossbar. Lovely work from Ben Wiles saw him send Anthony Forde on his way Sane got in the way of the wingers shot. Philippe Sandler came off the bench for Kevin De Bruyne who was applauded by both sets of supporters. Sane got past Zak Vyner but the Bristol City loanee recovered with a superb tackle at the expense of a corner which Sane took and Rodak did well to save. With just over fifteen minutes to go City got goal five after Mahrez and Gundogan played a one/two with the German sliding the ball under the Millers’ keeper. Jon Taylor made way for Sean Raggatt for the Millers and City replaced John Stones with Danilo. In between the substitutions Ben Wiles had a shot from distance which had Ederson scurrying across his goal before Rodak had to parry a shot from Kyle Walker to safety with the resulting corner seeing Nicolas Otamendi rise highest to head home. More good work from Wiles ended with Will Vaulks being pushed to the floor with the free-kick being taken by Forde who got it into the box for Ajayi who in turn found Michael Smith but Ederson had it covered followed by a cross in from Clark Robertson minutes later which went just over the crossbar. With five minutes to goal City made it seven when a good ball from Gundogan found Sane who got the better of Ajayi and a deflection took it into the net. Straight from that Ederson made a smart save from Smith after a lovely ball in the box from Forde. With a minute left the Millers put on Richarr Wood and Matty Palmer for Zak Vyner and Ryan Williams but they hadn’t time to get dirty before the referee blew for full-time.
Well what can you say that the score doesn’t already tell you. Manchester City are a class act who play some lovely football which, even though I’m a Miller, was a pleasure to watch. Did the Millers disgrace themselves? Well, you can’t say yes but, on the other hand, they didn’t really compete.
Concentrate of the league I hear you all shout!
Referee – David Coote
Crowd – 52,708