Rotherham United 2 Fleetwood Town 2
Ladapo (62) Evans (26, 63)
A Matt Crooks equaliser gave the Rotherham United fans something to cheer about in their last game before Christmas this afternoon at the New York Stadium.
The Millers were playing this game on half-strength with players out injured and many of those playing suffering with illness or injury or both including goalkeeper Daniel Iversen who we were told were playing with broken fingers.
It wasn’t a good first half from the Millers and Fleetwood could have gone in front before they did with Matt Crooks doing well to block a shot from Danny Andrew and Kyle Dempsey seeing his shot hit the woodwork before Iversen saved from the follow up shot from Ched Evans. Crooks was on hand later to stop a low cross from Wes Burns causing any problems followed by a rare foray up front from the hosts with a cross from Trevor Clarke only finding the arms of William Crellin in the Town goal. Joe Mattock was the first of the afternoon to see yellow for an alleged shirt pull on Burns with Iversen easily saving from the following free-kick. Michael Smith won the Millers a free-kick which Kyle Vassell took and Kyle Vassell made a right hash off if we’re being truthful. Clarke then saw yellow as Burns went down with the following set-piece blocked by the Millers defence. On twenty-six minutes the visitors went in front – and, to be honest, it had been coming. Burns pulled the ball back to Lewie Coyle who saw Evans in space sending him the ball high into the area the former Sheffield United striker headed past Iversen to open the scoring. It might have been two minutes later when Jack Sowerby looked certain to score but blasted over. Rotherham tried to get back into the game with a cracker of a shot from Mattock who shot over from thirty yards out. Just after the half hour mark the Millers had a shout for a penalty when Smith worked himself into the box and went down under a challenge from Coyle but referee Peter Clarke said ‘no’. Clarke, who was looking more and more ill as the game went on did well to get a challenge in to stop Burns in his tracks before the hosts had a chance with Smith getting the ball down to Freddie Ladapo who twisted and turned before shooting which Crellin was equal too. With the half drawing to a close Dempsey got the better of Ben Wiles and got to the edge of the box unchallenged but his shot went over the crossbar when he should have punished the Millers more.
The Millers started the second half with Chiedozie Ogbene on for Trevor Clarke. Kyle Vassell did well to get into a position to send the ball towards the front post where Freddie Ladapo was lurking but the Millers striker put the ball just past the post. At the other end Daniel Iversen had to be on his toes to parry the ball away from a Wes Burns shot before two Millers corners came to nothing. Michael Smith was being pulled and pushed by Lewie Coyle and at the third attempt the referee finally gave a free-kick which Dan Barlaser curled in but William Crellin was always getting there. In the next minute Coyle clattered into Joe Mattock and, eventually, was shown a yellow card. With sixty-three minutes gone Ogbene left his marker for dead and found Matthew Olosunde who looked up and sent in an inch perfect ball for Ladapo who header the ball onto the post and the seven thousand seven hundred Rotherham fans were delighted to see it nestle in the corner of the back of the net for the equaliser. But while the Millers were still celebrating Fleetwood went in front for the second time. Ched Evans was allowed to run forward unchallenged and with Olosunde and Adam Thompson sleeping and Iversen way off his line Evans hit the ball under the body of the Millers’ ‘keeper and it rolled over the line in front of the one hundred and twenty-six travelling fans. Evans had another chance five minutes later but this time Iversen pulled off a great save. At the other end Ogbene, who had certainly livened the Millers up since coming on, sent Olosunde on his way who in turn found the head of Smith but the Rotherham striker put the ball wide. A one-two between Ogbene and Ladapo saw the latter have a shot at goal which was blocked which was followed by Jake Hastie replacing Ben Wiles. A late challenge on Evans saw a yellow card for Thompson with the Rotherham player getting on the end of a Dan Barlaser cross a minute later only for his shot to be saved by Crellin but there was Crooks on the line to put the ball into the net. Carlton Morris was the last Millers sub coming on for Michael Smith while Fleetwood brought on Ashley Eastham and Josh Morris for Evans and Jack Sowerby. Rotherham had another shout for a penalty when Mattock was bundled over by Coyle in the area but again the referee said ‘no’. As the board went up for an extra six minutes Ogbene got the ball and ran past a number of Town players before dashing into the box and presenting Morris with the chance for the winner but the substitute fluffed his lines and falling over fired over.
Again, not a very good display at home and there were boos at half-time but whether that was for the referee or the Millers performance I’m not sure. So, in the light of that I suppose a point wasn’t that bad.
Attendance – 7,883 (126 Fleetwood Fans)
Referee – Peter Wright