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

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

By Paul Davis | 26/09/2020

On-the-whistle report: Birmingham City 1 Rotherham United 1
George Hirst on his first Millers start. Picture by Jim Brailsford

ROTHERHAM United are unbeaten in the opening two away games of their Championship campaign after their clash at Birmingham City ended in a double penalty drama.

The Millers thought they had taken all three points when they went in front from the spot with only four minutes to go.

But the home side hit back in the 90th minute with a penalty of their own to dash the victory hopes of Paul Warne's team.

Substitute Kieran Sadlier thumped the ball home from 12 yards for the visitors after Ben Wiles had been tripped by Jeremie Bela then Bela made amends with a cool finish when Billy Jones was adjudged to have fouled Jon Toral.

The Millers had the best of the first half and then defended well in the second when the home side came more into the game.

This was an encouraging performance and result after the opening-day 1-0 win at Wycombe Wanderers a fortnight ago.

Rotherham looked solid and had chances to win the contest but will be happy with a point.

They made a bright start and Angus MacDonald tested Neil Etheridge with a shot from outside the penalty area after six minutes.

The visitors continued to have the better of the play and Chiedoze Ogbene was wide with a low effort.

Home keeper Etheridge was called into action again, after 17 minutes, pushing Mickel Miller's long-distance effort for a corner following a driving breakaway by the debutant winger.

Birmingham thought they had taken the lead on the half-hour mark but Harlee Dean's header was ruled out for offside.

Rotherham continued to threaten and when Ogbene did well to poach the ball off the Blues' defence in the 36th minute his deflected shot flew only inches off target.

Miller wasn't as close as his teammate two minutes later with a 20-plus-yard free-kick he directed over the bar.

Rotherham lived dangerously on the stroke of half-time when the home side twice tried their luck.

First, Jamal Blackman's deflected clearance fell to Lukas Jutkiewicz whose attempt from distance was well wide of an empty net.

Then Ivan Sanchez tried to catch out Blackman at his near post with a free-kick but the Millers keeper made the save.

Rotherham boss Warne had made several changes to the side that had been unlucky to lose 1-0 at home to Millwall a week earlier.

Leicester City loan striker George Hirst came in for his first start, Matt Crooks and Ben Wiles were paired together in midfield and Miller was handed his debut.

Joe Mattock missed out with a thigh strain and was replaced at left-back by the experienced Billy Jones.

An attacking bench included strikers Michael Smith, Freddie Ladapo and Kyle Vassell.

Birmingham looked sharper after the break and Blackman clutched Ivan Sunjic's long-range drive at the second attempt seven minutes into the second period.

The Millers were pleased to see Bela's 58th-minute curler go wide when the City winger cut inside from the left as the home side exerted the pressure.

Warne's men should have gone ahead in the 67th minute but substitute Smith got his header all wrong at the far post from Shaun MacDonald's pinpoint corner.

Moments later, Birmingham went close at the other end when Jutkiewicz's header hit the bar.

The penalties were exchanged in quickfire fashion before Blackman rescued Rotherham in stoppage time.

The keeper got a hand to the ball when Bela was clean through and simply had to score, then Jones went from villain to hero with a point-saving block from Maxime Colin.

Goals: Sadlier pen 86 (Rotherham); Bela pen 90 (Birmingham).

Birmingham (4-2-3-1): Neil Etheridge; Maxime Colin, Harlee Dean, George Friend, Kristian Pedersen; Ivan Sunjic (Gary Gardner 77), Adam Clayton; Ivan Sanchez, Scott Hogan (Jon Toral 66), Jeremie Bela; Lukas Jutkiewicz. Subs not used: Andres Prieto, Marc Roberts, Daniel Crowley, Agus Medina, Caolan Boyd-Munce.

Rotherham (4-1-4-1): Jamal Blackman; Wes Harding, Michael Ihiekwe, Angus MacDonald, Billy Jones; Shaun MacDonald; Chiedozie Ogbene, Ben Wiles, Matt Crooks, Mickel Miller (Kieran Sadlier 69); George Hirst (Michael Smith 61). Subs not used: Viktor Johansson, Richard Wood, Jamie Lindsay, Freddie Ladapo, Kyle Vassell.

Referee: Andrew Madley (Wakefield).




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