Rotherham United 1 Blackpool 0
Crowd – 9,512 (682 Blackpool Fans)
Rotherham United won their last home game of the campaign against an organised Blackpool side this afternoon, knowing at the end that they face Scunthorpe United in their two-legged play-off game next week.
It was a hot afternoon and it showed with the players not really putting a lot of effort in during the opening minutes although it was the hosts who had the first sight of goal after a long punt up-field from goalkeeper Marek Rodak which Michael Smith flicked on towards David Ball but before he could get his foot round it Curtis Tilt got it away. At the other end Rodak did well to get down to a ball before Sean Longstaff could get a toe to it. With ten minutes gone Smith received a super ball from Ryan Williams but saw his shot go wide. Joe Mattock, recalled to the side after injury, got away from his marker but put the ball wide. Michael Ihiekwe got the first yellow of the game for a challenge on Nathan Delfouneso which saw the visitors get a free-kick in a dangerous position. Longstaff took the kick but Rodak did well to get down and smother the ball. Mattock and Ball did well and the ball went into the area towards Richard Wood but he put the ball wide followed by a free-kick that eventually fell to Smith whose shot was well blocked by a Blackpool defender. Minutes later Williams found Ball who sent a superb ball to the onrushing Will Vaulks who slammed the ball towards goal but saw his effort go wide. With the half coming to an end Viv Solomon-Otabor saw his shot at goal deflected behind by Williams with the resulting corner coming to nothing before Matty Palmer at the other end had a shot from the edge of the area which was a bit soft and troubled no-one.
Blackpool started the second half with a substitution seeing Callum Cooke replace Jimmy Ryan. The visitors started well and the Millers have Joe Mattock to thank for putting the ball behind from a dangerous cross which had Marek Rodak beaten. A Rotherham corner from Jon Taylor saw Michael Smith rise above everyone but ‘Pool ‘keeper Christoffer Mafoumbi was well placed to catch. That was Smith’s last action of the game with Caolan Lavery coming on in his place. And it paid dividends because just three minutes later the Millers took the lead. David Ball gave the ball to Jon Taylor who sent it into the area for Ryan Williams to head down for Will Vaulks and from just inside the area the Millers number four took aim and scored sending the nine thousand home fans wild and producing his now famous trademark back-flip goal celebration. But Blackpool rallied and looked the more likely to score and only a super save from Rodak stopped Colin Daniel equalising. Just after the hour mark Callum Cooke shot from some twenty yards out which went whistling over the crossbar followed by the visitors making a double substitution with Daniel Agyei and Mark Cullen on for Viv Solomon-Otabor and Sean Longstaff. Taylor played a lovely ball to the feet of Ball but the Millers striker, just a yard or so away from goal, didn’t connect and it came to nothing. Ryan Williams leaves the pitch making way for Anthony Forde. Rodak had to be on his toes to make a superb save from Daniel but the visitors really should have gone ahead minutes later when Clark Robertson’s header fell for the lively Nathan Delfouneso who put the ball wide with an empty net to aim at. The Millers last sub of the day saw Richie Towell on for David Ball who was soon in the action when Forde found him on the edge of the area but leaning back his effort flew into the Millers fans behind the goal. Mafoumbi brought off a great save from Vaulks who tried his luck from twenty yards out before Rodak did the same at the other end to prevent a header from Mellor going into the top corner. With five minutes to go Agyei swept aside the Millers defence and let fly with Rodak not getting near the ball went inches wide before a Cullen saw put the ball way over the crossbar when it looked easier to put it in the net. And as the game was drawing to a close the pair worked together which saw Agyei put a shot wide with Oliver Turton doing the same thing minutes later.
Rotherham lived life dangerously in the last twenty minutes of this game but came away with all three points going into the play-off games with Scunthorpe who drew with Bradford City.
Play-Off Semi Final Dates
Saturday, 12 May – Scunthorpe v Rotherham – 1230 ko
Wednesday, 16th May – Rotherham v Scunthorpe – 1945 ko