Town out-fought, out-thought and out of the top two after Millers defeat

Town suffered a first league defeat of 2020 after a 1-0 defeat at Rotherham United on Tuesday evening. A Richard Wood header just before the break was enough to seal the three points for the new leaders. Town did have a late flurry where James Norwood hit the post from an acute angle, but in truth the hosts were full value of the three points.

Town stayed with the same side that beat Lincoln on Saturday for this top of the table clash, with Blues backed as always by a good travelling support.

Matt Crooks sent a header well wide in the first foray into either box, Town responding with Luke Woolfenden looking to release Kayden Jackson with a ball over at top but Daniel Iversen was alert to the danger, then fellow ‘keeper Will Norris was called into action to prevent Michael Smith getting in.

Rotherham were inches away from an opener on 10 minutes, a clever free-kick from Crooks released Vassell and he smashed a right footer against the bar, Smith heading at Norris from the resultant corner.

The Town ‘keeper kept the scores level when we denied Adelakun as the Rotherham wideman raced in on goal, James Wilson in the right place to stop Vassell inside the box as the Millers pressed for the advantage.

Crooks had a header wide, Alan Judge with too much on a lofted pass for Will Keane, Norris then plucking Chiedozie Ogbene’s cross away from the waiting Smith.

Luke Chambers did well to keep out Vassell getting on the end of a cross but four minutes before the break the home side got the breakthrough, Wood on hand to force the ball in after Norris had saved Smith’s initial header.

Flynn Downes led the charge for an equaliser before the break, releasing Jackson on the right channel, the cross put behind and from the corner, the England U20 international headed wide from distance.

Wilson cleared eight yards out as Rotherham started the second-half in positive fashion, Chambers getting Town going with a precise pass to Judge, the cross evading the supporting Luke Garbutt at the far post.

Adelakun’s deflected cross managed to beat everyone including Ogbene who tried to head it in at the back post, Vassell’s acrobatic effort from Smith’s header blocked by Wilson, then the Millers had the ball in the net from a corner but referee Coggins curtailed the celebrations with a foul given on Norris.

Ogbene’s strike was beaten out by Norris’s feet, the ‘keeper doing well again to hold on to Vassell’s cross before Town made a first change with Norwood on for Keane midway through the half, Jon Nolan on for Emyr Huws soon after.

Norris punched clear from yet another cross, then did the same again from the corner as Smith challenged, Rotherham making a first change with Crooks making way for Ben Wiles.

Town’s keeper remained at the heart of the action, denying Vassell from a corner, Wiles firing wide from the edge of the box as the Millers continued to threaten a second goal.

Freddie Ladapo replaced Vassell for the closing stages, the Millers hitting the woodwork for a second time with a brilliant effort from Adelakun from 25 yards.

Jackson had a sight of goal but couldn’t beat Iversen before Freddie Sears replaced Judge in Town’s final change.

It needed an excellent save from Iversen to tip over Garbutt’s free-kick to preserve Rotherham’s lead, then Norwood hit the post from an acute angle before time ran out to leave Millers moving above Blues into pole position. 

Rotherham: Iversen, Mattock, Thompson, Wood, Vassell (Ladapo 75), Barlaser, Adelakun (Olosunde 90), Crooks (Wiles 72), Ogbene, Ihiekwe, Smith. Subs not used: Bilboe, MacDonald, Lindsay, Lamy. Booked: Crooks, Mattock.

Town: Norris, Chambers, Woolfenden, Wilson, Edwards, Downes, Huws (Nolan 67), Judge (Sears 80), Garbutt, Keane (Norwood 66), Jackson. Subs not used: Holy, Skuse, Bishop, Kenlock. Booked: Huws, Woolfenden.

Att: 9327
Report from ITFC Official Site