Loan stars see Millers keep climbing the table ... on-the-whistle report: Cheltenham Town 0 Rotherham United 2

Loan stars see Millers keep climbing the table ... on-the-whistle report: Cheltenham Town 0 Rotherham United 2

By Paul Davis | 02/10/2021

Loan stars see Millers keep climbing the table ... on-the-whistle report: Cheltenham Town 0  Rotherham United 2
Ollie Rathbone in action at Cheltenham. Picture by Jim Brailsford

PROMOTION-CHASING Rotherham United headed into the international break on the back of another victory after two second-half goals settled their League One contest at Cheltenham Town.

Will Grigg pounced for his second strike in two games and fellow loanee Rarmani Edmonds-Green added a superb second to open his account for his new side and stretch the Millers' unbeaten run to five matches.

Paul Warne's men climbed a place to fifth and are now only two points behind the  top two.

At rain-lashed Whaddon Road, they weren't quite at their all-action best but fully deserved to come away with the victory after yet another encouraging display.

The game was over as soon as Edmonds-Green's 75th-minute shot hit the back of the net and there were prolonged celebrations in the away end for the rest of the afternoon.

Only three minutes were on the clock when Rotherham had the game's first effort on goal, Kieran Sadlier shooting straight at keeper Scott Flinders after being picked out on the right by Ollie Rathbone.

Eight minutes later, Will Grigg was only inches away from connecting with Shane Ferguson's dangerous cross before Cheltenham took advantage of a Richard Wood slip to free Conor Thomas who fired wide when he should have opened the scoring.

Michael Smith thought he'd scored his eighth goal in ten league games as he stooped to head Sadlier's cross towards goal but Flinders pulled off the save.

The action was going end to end and Taylor Perry shot just wide for the home side.

It had rained all day and the ball was skidding off a wet surface, making for for a fast-paced encounter in which both teams were fancying their chances of breaking the deadlock.

A slick, sharp attack involving Rathbone, Ben Wiles and Grigg shredded the Cheltenham defence and ending in Rathbone bringing a flying save from Flinders.

Wing-backs Sadlier and Ferguson were seeing plenty of the ball and the Robins' box was being peppered by crosses.

As the half-hour mark approached, Rathbone, involved in everything good that Rotherham were doing, picked out Sadlier out the back post and the Millers man should have done much better than direct a tame header at Flinders.

Both teams continued to go forward but, with the rain falling as strongly as ever, that was the end of the first-half chances.

Rotherham had chosen to rest winger Chiedozie Ogbene, bringing in Sadlier on the right flank, and Wiles was selected in a midfield lacking the injured Jamie Lindsay.

Ogbene was on the bench in case his explosive pace was needed at any stage while Mickel Miller was also among the subs after missing three matches because of a ban and two with a hamstring niggle.

In the opposition dugout was Millers old boy Kyle Vassell.

The Millers needed only six minutes of the second half to take the lead and it was down to an unfortunate fumble from Rotherham-born Flinders.

Dan Barlaser shot, the keeper let the slippy ball squirm from his grasp and Grigg didn't need a second invitation from less than a yard out at the end housing the Millers supporters to score for the second successive match.

Ferguson shot from distance soon afterwards, forcing a sprawling save from Flinders who then kept out Smith's follow-up attempt.

Alfie May curled a shot wide for Cheltenham but Rotherham were well on top now and Edmonds-Green enjoyed a moment to remember with 15 minutes to go, arrowing a low shot into the far bottom corner from well outside the area.

Wiles could have added a third after a devastating break from Ogbene, heading over the bar from a good position.

There was concern at the other end when Viktor Johansson spilled the ball, but he immediately redeemed himself with a fine save from Taylor Perry, and then Smith wasted a golden opportunity in the last few seconds by lifting the ball straight into Flinders' hands when he was clean through.

No matter. The job had already been done.

Cheltenham (4-4-2): Scott Flinders; Matty Blair, Sean Long, Mattie Pollock, Lewis Freestone; Conor Thomas, Dylan Barkers, Liam Sercombe (Ellis Chapman 81), Taylor Perry;  Kyle Joseph (Kyle Vassell 74), Alfie May (Christian Norton 81). Subs not used: Owen Evans, Andy Williams, Elliot Bonds, Grant Horton.

Rotherham (3-5-2): Viktor Johansson; Rarmani Edmonds-Green, Richard Wood, Michael Ihiekwe; Kieran Sadlier (Chiedozie Ogbene 67), Ben Wiles, Dan Barlaser, Ollie Rathbone, Shane Ferguson (Mickel Miller 67); Will Grigg (Freddie Ladapo 77), Michael Smith. Unused subs: Josh Vickers, Wes Harding, Hakeem Odoffin, Joshua Kayode.

Goals: Grigg 51, Edmonds-Green 75 (Rotherham).

Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire).


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