Rotherham United 1 Stockport County 0
Rotherham United made nine changes for tonight’s game from Tuesday’s Papa John’s Trophy penalty shoot-win while Stockport’s only change was forced with Ben Barclay coming in for the Injured Jordan Keane with former Millers’ loanee Zeki Fryers coming back from injury to earn a place on the bench.
The Millers started the highest ranking team in the competition and won the first corner of the game after a good ball from Michael Smith found Chieo Ogbene who saw his shot deflected behind by a Stockport defender. Mickel Miller took the resulting corner low which ended in it hitting the side netting. A free-kick for the visitors saw Ryan Rydal bend it in but it came to nothing. A clearance from Richard Wood deflected off a blue shirted player and almost found Scott Quigley but Josh Vickers in the Millers’ goal was quick to come out and collect. Minutes later Wood was on hand to clear before the advancing Quigley could get to the ball. On the quarter of an hour mark Will Collar won the ball and tried his luck from some twenty-five yards and although it bobbled up in front of him Vickers gathered. Stockport got their first corner when the ball deflected off Rarmani Edmonds-Green which was cleared by Wood before being deflected out for another corner and again was cleared. Michael Ihiekwe was probably lucky not to see yellow when he fouled Ben Hinchliffe in the visitors goal before the Millers went down the other end and Collar was booked after taking out Ogbene. The free-kick was taken by Miller which he bent in but saw the ball go over and minutes later Edmonds-Green did well to find Miller but he headed wide. On twenty-five minutes Quigley took the ball down, turned and sent a pile-driver towards the top corner but a brilliant one handed save from Vickers saw him tip the ball over. Ollie Rathbone received the ball down the line which went out for a throw-in from which they won a corner which was taken short and sent into the area and after a bit of pinball it fell to Ben Wiles who saw his shot go through a crowd of players and brought off a good save from Hinchliffe. Miller saw yellow for a challenge on Quigley who went down in agony getting up as soon as the card was shown. Mark Kitching was the next to go down as Smith went past him and although the Millers’ centre-forward had been pulled and pushed whenever he went for the ball it was him who saw yellow with five minutes of the half left. But it was Smith who had the last laugh after some excellent work by Rathbone saw him get the ball back and send it to Smith who hit the ball into the back of the net from close range to give Rotherham the lead. And it might have been two after Miller did well to get away from his marker and shot from twenty-five yards out with Hinchliffe doing well to save. At the other end some good defending from Edmonds-Green in time added on saw the Millers go in one-nil at the break.
The Millers started the second half with a change, Wes Harding on for Richard Wood. A ball from Ollie Rathbone towards goal fell to Chieo Ogbene after a deflection and he sent it back to Rathbone whose shot went out for a corner which was easy for Ben Hinchliffe to catch. Ogbene got the ball and flew down the pitch getting to the edge of the area but bent his shot wide. Some good work from Scott Quigley saw Michael Ihiekwe do well to close him down and put the ball out for a corner. The visitors brought on Paddy Madden, to cheers from the visiting two thousand three hundred with Will Collar making way. The corner came in flying around the area eventually finding Antoni Sarcevic who saw Josh Vickers flying through a crowd of players to collect. At the other end Rathbone got the better of his marker and rolled the ball back to Freddie Ladapo who looked to score only for Ash Palmer to get his body in the way and block. Ben Wiles won a free-kick with Macauley Southam-Hales seeing yellow with the Dan Barlaser set-piece coming to nothing. A foul on Quigley saw the Stockport man celebrate with the away fans like he’d won the cup the free-kick finding the head of Palmer who headed wide but was deemed to be off-side. A second change for the hosts saw Ollie Rathbone make way for Jamie Lindsay. Some good running from Ben Wiles saw him receive the ball from Ogbene with Hinchliffe saving at the second attempt. Ladapo was the next to see yellow after colliding with Hinchliffe. Some good work from Ladapo saw him get the ball to Wiles but it was easy for Hinchliffe. A Barlaser corner was header across goal by Michael Smith to Ihiekwe who put it wide and it was Smith’s last action with Will Grigg replacing him from the bench. A set-piece for County saw Madden put the ball in the net but the linesman’s flag was straight up for offside which was followed by a double substitution with Liam Hogan and Connor Jennings replace Ben Barclay and Ollie Crankshaw followed by two more changes for the hosts Joe Mattock and Hakeem Odoffin on for Mickel Miller and Dan Barlaser. Mark Kitching won a free-kick which saw Palmer get a head to the ball but Vickers was there to save. Two more changes for the visitors saw John Rooney and Arjan Raikhy for Ryan Croasdale and Kitching. A late challenge on Ihiekwe earned Sarcevic a booking in the final five minutes. Edmonds-Green and Ihiekwe did well to get the ball away from danger before Mattock got a yellow for a foul on Sarcevic. Rooney took the free-kick which saw a glancing back-header from Ihiekwe put the ball behind the corner finding Hogan who saw his header deflected for another corner which Rydale took to Rooney who sent it out to Madden who was off-side. In the final seconds of the game Stockport won a free-kick which was easily saved by Vickers seeing the Millers through to Round Three.
The Millers will know they’ve been in a fight this evening with Stockport never letting them settle in the game and I think we were all breathing a sign of relief when the referee finally blew the whistle.
Attendance – 6,466 (2,318 County fans)
Referee – Ollie Yates
Rotherham United 1 Stockport County 0
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