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Rovers 1 Rotherham 1

11 November 2017

Late drama at the Keepmoat Stadium meant Rovers had to settle for a point, as they drew 1-1 with Rotherham United in a lively South Yorkshire derby at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Manager Darren Ferguson made one change from last Saturday’s FA Cup win at Ebbsfleet United, with Joe Wright returning in place of Craig Alcock who dropped to the bench.
 
Captain James Coppinger also started for his 550th appearance for Rovers.
 
It was Rovers who enjoyed much of the game’s early chances, with Tommy Rowe being the first to test the Rotherham defence.
 
A corner routine caught out the Millers, with captain James Coppinger putting it low across the box, but Rowe’s goal-bound effort was blocked away.
 
Coppinger then put the ball in the back of the net not long after, but he was adjudged to be offside as he rounded Richard O’Donnell to slot home.
 
Yet another corner for Rovers saw almost Rotherham come unstuck once again, as Coppinger again found Rowe, but this time his back-heel flick was blocked, but Rovers were enjoying themselves in the game’s early stages.
 
Rotherham clawed their way back into the match though, and almost scored with their first proper attack of the game.
 
Jon Taylor’s cross into the box was met by Semi Ajayi, however his header was saved by Ian Lawlor, but after a scramble, the ball flicked up to Richard Wood.
 
The Millers skipper headed off the underside of the bar, with the travelling Millers’ fans behind that goal adamant the ball had crossed the line, but it ended up safe in the hands of Lawlor.
 
It was the visitors who then went close with the final chance of the half, as a free kick was pumped into the area by Joe Newell.
 
Newell’s ball in was met by the head of the league’s top scorer, Kieffer Moore, but his header was deflected wide for a corner by Andy Butler and the resulting set-piece was cleared without any danger.
 
The Millers then came out after the interval firing, and could’ve taken the lead inside the opening minute.
Taylor’s free kick from near the halfway line was met again by Moore, who was proving to be a handful for the Rovers defence, however he could only put his header just wide of Lawlor’s far post.
 
Rovers weren’t to be outdone though, and had a great chance of their own moments later.
Coppinger’s corner was cleared, but eventually the ball fell to Jordan Houghton who crossed back into the area.
 
Houghton’s ball in caused a scramble in the area, before John Marquis could finally get a shot away, but his strike was blocked with by the Rotherham defence and claimed by O’Donnell.
 
In what was becoming a lively encounter at the Keepmoat, it was the home side who struck first.
Rovers broke from the back, with Coppinger releasing Rodney Kongolo down the right-hand side.
 
Kongolo’s ball in was poked home past his own keeper by Millers’ captain Wood, and gave Rovers the lead.
 
It could have been two just minutes later, as yet another ball in from Kongolo was cleared out, but only as far as Mathieu Baudry, but his low strike whistled past the post.
 
In similar fashion to the visitors in the first-half, Rovers then had two great chances in the space of just a few seconds to go in front.
 
A Coppinger free-kick from the left fell for Marquis, but his strike was blocked, before the ball flicked up for Baudry to head on goal, but the ball was claimed by O’Donnell in the Millers’ goal.
 
Marquis was next to go close just a few minutes later, as he volleyed from the edge of the box after a knock back from Joe Wright, but his effort skimmed the roof of the net.
 
Rotherham came forward, and but for a heroic block from Houghton, they surely would have been level.
 
A ball into the box was headed out by Butler, only as far as Will Vaulks on the edge of the area.
 
But as he struck on-goal, Houghton got down low to stop the shot from finding the back of the net and ensured that Rovers stayed on top.
 
Moore then had yet another effort blocked, this time by substitute Craig Alcock, as United desperately went in search of a leveller.
 
That leveller almost came as the game entered the final five minutes, in yet another dramatic period of this South Yorkshire derby.
 
A ball right over the top of the home defence was controlled superbly by former Rovers’ loan-man Jonson Clarke-Harris.
 
He opened up enough space to get a shot on goal, and struck low against the base of Ian Lawlor’s near post.
 
The rebound then fell to the on-rushing Vaulks, but his effort was diverted behind for a corner by Baudry as Rovers once again held on to their lead.
 
The action wasn’t short of stopping as the game now headed towards added time, and once again it was Rowe who went very close to extending the lead.
 
He rose highest to meet a Harry Toffolo free kick into the area, but his header went narrowly wide of O’Donnell’s far post.
 
But in what was a cruel twist of fate, Rotherham struck in the sixth minute of added on time to earn a share of the spoils.
 
Taylor went through on goal with just Lawlor to beat, but whilst the Irishman got down well to save, Moore was there to smash home and he stole a late point for the visitors.
 
Rovers next travel to Fleetwood Town in Sky Bet League One on Saturday November 18, and they will look to make amends and grab all three points on the road.
 


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