More refereeing controversy ... On-the-whistle report: Barnsley 1 Rotherham United 0

More refereeing controversy ... On-the-whistle report: Barnsley 1 Rotherham United 0

By Paul Davis | 24/04/2021

More refereeing controversy ... On-the-whistle report: Barnsley 1 Rotherham United 0
Freddie Ladapo in action at Barnsley. Picture by Jim Brailsford

FOR the second time in four days a wrong refereeing decision conspired to send Rotherham United closer to Championship relegation.

The Millers went down 1-0 at South Yorkshire rivals Barnsley this afternoon, falling to a second-minute goal that should never have been allowed to count.

Defeat saw them remain in third-bottom spot four points away from safety with two games in hand.

Watching from the stand was banned midfielder Matt Crooks, unable to play after Darren Bond's baffling decision to send him off against Middlesbough on Wednesday.

Freddie Ladapo had a glorious second-half chance to equalise but failed to make contact when he had the entire net to aim from inside the six-yard box.

Rotherham, who haven't won at Oakwell for 50 years, made a calamitous start and were behind after only 81 seconds.

Cauley Woodrow had forced a flying tip-over from Viktor Johansson with just 33 seconds on the clock and when the corner came in Millers old by Carlton Morris headed home.

There was heavy contact and it looked like the striker's arm had struck the goalkeeper's face but referee Gavin Ward allowed the goal to stand.

Johansson had to be led off the pitch, before the match had kicked off again, after receiving prolonged treatement.

The Millers, seeting at the official's decision, responded well to the setback and took the game to the home side.

Chiedozie Ogbene had a sight of goal on 21 minutes but his shot was too close to keeper Brad Collins.

Twelve minutes later, Michael Smith had a big chance to equalise at the far post from Ladapo's cross but his first touch was poor and his subsequent shot blocked.

Then a touch from Richard Wood had Collins scrambling to hold on to a looping ball.

Nearly all the attacking was coming from the visitors and as half-time approached Ladapo slipped at the crucial moment as he shaped to shoot when he was in on goal.

There were six changes to the team that had lost in midweek against Boro as Rotherham, in deperate need of a result after three straight defeats, went with an attacking line-up.

Skipper Wood was back in defence, Lewis Wing, Shaun MacDonald and Jamie Lindsay were named in midfield while Ogbene - making his first start since a September knee injury - and Ryan Giles were given wing-back roles.

Crooks missed out as he started his three-match suspension and Joe Mattock, Ben Wiles, Kieran Sadlier, Wes Harding and Dan Barlaser dropped to the bench.

The Millers flew out of the box at the start of the second half and Ogbene, bursting into the penalty area and riding what appeared to be a foul in the 48th minute, tested Collins

Within seconds came the chance of the game but Ladapo, who had an open-goal tap-in from Smith's low cross, managed to connect only with fresh air.

Rotherham had been by far the better team since that second-minute injustice and kept up the pressure on a Barnsley side looking to seal a play-off place.

However, they were relieved to see Daryl Dike's 77th-minute effort get a touch off Wood and bobble wide.

They made attacking substitutions to try to force their way back into the contest and on 81 minutes Smith headed wide from Harding's cross when he should have hit the target.

With two minutes to go. Ogbene thought he'd earned a priceless point but his effort from close in was beaten away by Collins, before George Hirst's stoppage-time shot was deflected wide.

That was their last opportunity and now they have just four matches left to save their season.

Goals: Morris 2 (Barnsley).

Barnsley (3-4-3): Brad Collins; Mads Andersen, Michal Helik, Michael Solbauer (Toby Sibbick 51); Callum Brittain, Aapo Halme, Alex Mowatt, Callum Styles (Jordan Williams H-T); Daryl Dike, Cauley Woodrow, Carlton Morris (Victor Adeboyejo 90). Subs not used: Jack Walton, Conor Chaplin, Romal Palmer, Clarke Oduor, Jasper Moon, Cameron Thompson.

Rotherham (3-5-2): Viktor Johansson (Jamal Blackman 7); Michael Ihiekwe, Richard Wood (Wes Harding 79), Angus MacDonald; Chiedozie Ogbene, Lewis Wing, Shaun MacDonald (Ben Wiles 79), Jamie Lindsay (Florian Jozefzoon 79), Ryan Giles; Freddie Ladapo (George Hirst 58), Michael Smith. Subs not used: Joe Mattock. Trevor Clarke, Dan Barlaser, Kieran Sadlier.

Referee: Gavin Ward (Surrey).

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