On-the-whistle report: Rotherham United 1 Birmingham City 3

On-the-whistle report: Rotherham United 1 Birmingham City 3

By Paul Davis | 22/04/2019

On-the-whistle report: Rotherham United 1 Birmingham City 3
Scorer Matt Crooks

ROTHERHAM United's stay in the Championship is coming to an end after the Millers slipped to defeat against Birmingham City in the game they couldn't afford to lose.

Matt Crooks scored his third goal in three matches but it wasn't enough to rescue the Millers' season as they conceded three times in the second half.

Crooks put the home side into a deserved first-half lead in a match manager Paul Warne had described as "must-win" if his side were to stay in the survival race.

But Rotherham were hit by a Blues comeback after the break at AESSEAL New York Stadium to stand on the precipice of the drop.

With just two matches left, the third-from-bottom Millers are three points behind Millwall who have a game in hand.

The crowd played their part, responding to the club's appeal for them to wear red and white  and creating a raucous atmosphere, but Rotherham couldn't claim the victory they desperately needed despite an excellent first-half display.

Warne's men took the lead in the 22nd minute and it was the man who can't stop scoring who put them ahead.

Will Vaulks played in Ryan Williams down the right and, when the cross came in, midfielder Crooks applied a cool finish for his third goal in three games.

Before then, Marek Rodak had comfortably dealt with an early Che Adams shot while justified Millers shouts for a ninth-minute penalty when Richard Wood was pulled over in the box went unheeded by referee Andy Davies.

Rotherham should have been further ahead on 36 minutes when Semi Ajayi's goalbound header from Joe Newell's corner was blocked in the six-yard box and Vaulks could only direct the loose ball over the bar.

However, not for the first time this season, the Millers gave up a lead soon after the interval, Jacques Maghoma taking aim and firing home from 18 yards on 56 minutes.

And worse was to come eight minutes later when Adams cut-back the ball from the right byline was met by Jota who steered the ball low into the Millers' net.

With their campaign on the line, Rotherhham sent on attacking subs and played three at the back, but it was the visitors who came closest to scoring again when Craig Gardner's 86th-minute free-kick hit the outside of the post.

Birmingham substitute Kerim Mrabti wrapped up proceedings for Gary Monk's side in time added on.

The Millers head to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday when their fate could be confirmed.

Rotherham (4-1-4-1): Marek Rodak; Billy Jones, Semi Ajayi, Richard Wood, Joe Mattock; Will Vaulks; Ryan Williams, Matt Crooks, Richie Towell, Joe Newell; Michael Smith. Unused: Lewis Price, Michael Ihiekwe, Clark Robertson, Ben Wiles.
Subs: Jon Taylor (for Newell, 61), Anthony Forde (for Wood, 68), Kyle Vassell (for Williams, 77).

Birmingham (4-4-2): Lee Camp; Maxim Colin, Harlee Dean, Michael Morrison, Kristian Pedersen; Jota, Gary Gardner, David Davis, Jacques Maghoma; Che Adams, Lucas Jutkiewicz. Unused: Connal Trueman, Craig Gardner, Charlie Lakin, Wes Harding.
Subs: Kerim Mrabti (for Yota, 77), Isaac Vassell (for Jutkiewicz, 81), Marc Roberts (for Adams, 86).

Goals: Crooks 22 (Rotherham); Maghoma 56, Jota 64, Mrabti 90+3 (Birmingham).

Referee: Andy Davies (Hampshire).

Attendance: 10,703 (2,573).