No change at the top ... on-the-whistle report: Wycombe Wanderers 0 Rotherham United 0

No change at the top ... on-the-whistle report: Wycombe Wanderers 0 Rotherham United 0

By Paul Davis | 12/03/2022

No change at the top ... on-the-whistle report: Wycombe Wanderers 0 Rotherham United 0
Michael Smith in action at Wycombe. Picture by Jim Brailsford

ROTHERHAM took another step towards promotion by grinding out a draw at Wycombe Wanderers that maintained the distance between them and their closest challengers this afternoon.

The gap between the League One leaders and third-placed MK Dons remained at four points and the Millers have a game in hand during the business end of the run-in.

Wigan, in second, are also four back after drawing at MK. The Latics have played two fewer matches but that won't bother Paul Warne's men as a top-two spot and going up automatically is their overriding priority.

It was by no means a classic at Adams Park and Rotherham have to survive a spell of second-half pressure to earn a deserved share of the spoils.

Josh Vickers was called into action as early as the fourth minute, the Rotherham goalkeeper getting down smartly to turn away Jason McCarthy's angled shot.

Soon afterwards, Sam Vokes headed over as the home side made the brighter start.

The visitors played their way into the game and Michael Smith, making his 200th appearance for the Millers, tested David Stockdale for the first time on 15 minutes after being played through by Chiedozie Ogbene.

Former Rotherham loan boy Lewis Wing was in the play-off-chasing Wycombe side and being booed by away fans who remembered the comments he made in the summer about not wanting to return to the club.

A terrific Millers break instigated by Ollie Rathbone and continued by Shane Ferguson and Ben Wiles finished with Wes Harding's 23rd-minute goalbound effort being kept out.

Eight minutes before the break, Dan Barlaser picked out Smith with a free-kick and the header from the 24-goal hitman was tipped over by Stockdale.

It was warm and sunny in Buckinghamshire and both teams were working up a sweat in a hard-fought contest as they refused to yield to each other.

Vokes hooked a shot over the bar and then one wide of the post as a tight half closed goalless, meaning Rotherham still haven't conceded in the opening 45 minutes of an away league game this season.

The Millers, hit by injuries in their striker department, had chosen flying wing-back Ogbene to partner Smith down the middle.

The 24-year-old had done well on rare club outings in that role in the past and has also impressed there for the Republic of Ireland.

Young centre-forward Josh Kayode was fit enough after a swollen knee to be on a bench carrying plenty of pace and firepower.

Rotherham had a lot of defending to do in the opening 15 minutes of the second period and were equal to the task.

On the hour mark, in a bid to increase their attacking threat, they brought on Mickel Miller for Ferguson, moved Ogbene to wing-back, Harding to right-back and pushed Wiles forward to play off Smith in a 4-4-1-1 formation.

The ball had been in play for only 39 minutes of the 102 at AESSEAL New York Stadium back in October's 0-0 stalemate between the sides but there was little of Wycombe's time-wasting on this occasion.

Wing, desperate to silence the boos, blazed wide as the clock ticked down and Joe Mattock fired a free-kick over at the other end.

At the final whistle, it was as you were: no change to the top three, with another game ticked off.

Wycombe (4-3-2-1): David Stockdale; Jason McCarthy, Anthony Stewart, Ryan Tafazolli, Joe Jacobson; Lewis Wing, Sam Scowen, Daryl Horgan; Garath McCleary, Anis Mehmeti (Brandon Hanlan 73); Sam Vokes (Adebayo Akinfenwa 77). Subs not used: Tyla Dickinson, Jack Grimmer, David Wheeler, Jack Young, Chris Forino.

Rotherham (3-5-2): Josh Vickers; Angus MacDonald, Richard Wood, Michael Ihiekwe; Wes Harding (Joe Mattock 83), Ben Wiles, Dan Barlaser, Ollie Rathbone, Shane Ferguson (Mickel Miller 60); Michael Smith, Chiedozie Ogbene. Subs not used:Viktor Johansson, Rarmani Edmonds-Green, Hakeem Odoffin, Jordi Osei-Tutu, Josh Kayode.

Referee: Craig Hicks (Surrey).

Attendance: 5,742 (988).