On-the-whistle report: Oxford United 1 Rotherham United 3

By Paul Davis | 11/01/2020

On-the-whistle report: Oxford United 1 Rotherham United 3
Kyle Vassell opens the scoring. Picture by Trevor Price

ROTHERHAM United climbed to the top of League One with a devastating first-half goal blitz at Oxford United.

The U's hadn't been beaten at home in the league since August 20 but the Millers destroyed them in the opening period at the Kassam Stadium to lead 3-0 at the break.

Oxford fought back at the interval but couldn't do enough to dent Paul Warne's side who have now won their last four third-tier games and are unbeaten in six.

Kyle Vasssell struck twice and Richard Wood added a third goal as the away fans spent the afternoon singing about promotion.

Paul Warne's men were superb, continually stretching Oxford with their pace and intent.

They took the lead in the 16th minute when Chieozie Ogbene burst down the right and sent in a low ball for the man in form, Vassell, to tap home.

With three goals in his last four outings, Vassell soon added a fourth, beating Simon Eastwood with a lovely lob on 32 minutes to make it 2-0 to the visitors.

Dan Iversen, in the Millers net, saved a Josh Ruffels header when the score was 1-0 but was otherwise untested.

A 34th-minute Ruffels shot over the bar was the home side's only other effort before the break.

Just before Vassell struck for the second time, a lightning Rotherham break saw debutant Hakeeb Adelakun fire over from the edge of the box after he was picked out by Michael Smith's pass from the right flank.

Vassell turned provider on the stroke of half-time, crossing to the back post for Wood to head home a third Millers goal against the shell-shocked U's.

Oxford made changes at the break and applied the pressure but Rotherham still looked a threat and Eastwood had to save from Vassell after a 61st-minute run through the middle by the powerful forward.

The home side reduced the arrears in the 71st minute when substitute Marcus Browne smashed the ball past Iversen and fellow U's sub Matt Taylor missed a golden chance four minutes later, sliding the ball wide with only Iversen to beat.

The Millers were now defending for their lives and Iversen needed to be at full stretch to keep out sub Nathan Holland's fierce drive on 79 minutes.

Browne then fizzed a free-kick just wide and Taylor headed tamely at Iversen but Rotherham roused themselves and Freddie Ladapo spurned an 87th-minute opportunity to kill the contest by shooting straight at Eastwood before Ruffels was off target for the U's.

The Millers had been tested in the second half but victory was theirs and so was top spot.

Oxford (4-3-3): Simon Eastwood; Sam Long, Rob Dickie, Elliott Moore, Josh Ruffels; Cameron Brannagan (Nathan Holland H-T), Alex Gorrin (Marcus Browne H-T), Shandon Baptiste; Tarique Fosu-Henry, Mark Sykes, Jamie Mackie (Matt Taylor 60). Subs not used: Jack Stevens, Rob Hall, John Mousinho, Liam Kelly.

Rotherham (4-4-2): Daniel Iversen; Ben Wiles, Michael Ihiekwe, Richard Wood, Matt Olosunde; Chiedozie Ogbene, Dan Barlaser, Matt Crooks, Hakeeb Adelakun (Jamie Lindsay 71); Kyle Vassell (Freddie Ladapo 76), Michael Smith. Subs not used: Laurence Bilboe, Trevor Clarke, Juien Lamy, Jake Hastie, Josh Kayode.

Goals: Vassell 16, 32, Wood 45+1 (Rotherham); Browne 71 (Oxford).

Referee: David Webb (Lancashire).

Attendance: 8,077 (894).

 



 

Paul Davis

01709 803564

Oxford United * Rotherham United *

ROTHERHAM United climbed to the top of League One with a devastating first-half goal blitz at Oxford United.

The U's hadn't been beaten at home in the league since August 20 but the Millers destroyed them in the opening period at the Kassam Stadium to lead 3-0 at the break.

Oxford fought back at the interval but couldn't do enough to dent Paul Warne's side who have now won their last four third-tier games and are unbeaten in six.

Kyle Vasssell struck twice and Richard Wood added a third goal as the away fans spent the afternoon singing about promotion.

Paul Warne's men were superb, continually stretching Oxford with with their pace and intent.

They took the lead in the 16th minute when Chieozie Ogbene burst down the right and sent in a low ball for the man in form, Vassell, to tap home.

With three goals in his last four outings, Vassell soon adding a fourth, beating Simon Eastwood with a lovely lob on 32 minutes to make it 2-0 to the visitors.

Dan Iversen, in the Millers net, saved a Josh Ruffels header when the score was 1-0 but was otherwise untested.

A 34th-minute Ruffels shot over the bar was the home side's only other effort before the break.

Just before Vassell struck for the second time, a lightning Rotherham break saw debutant Hakeeb Adelakun fire over from the edge of the box after he was picked out by Michael Smith's pass from the right flank.

Vassell turned provider on the stroke of half-time, crossing to the back post for Wood to head home a third Millers goal against the shell-shocked U's.

Oxford made changes at the break and applied the pressure but the Millers still looked a threat and Eastwood had to save from Vassell after a 61st-minute run through the middle by the powerful forward.

The home side reduced the arrears in the 71st minute when substitute Marcus Browne smashed the ball past Iversen and fellow U's sub Matt Taylor missed a golden chance four minutes later, sliding the ball wide with only Iversen to beat.

The Millers were now defending for their lives and Iversen needed to be at full stretch to keep out sub Nathan Holland's fierce drive on 79 minutes.

Browne then fizzed a free-kick just wide and Taylor headed tamely at Iversen but Rotherham roused themselves and Freddie Ladapo spurned an 87th-minute opportunity to kill the contest by shooting straight at Eastwood before Ruffels was off target for the U's.

The Millers had been tested in the second half but victory was theirs and so was top spot.

Oxford (4-3-3): Simon Eastwood; Sam Long, Rob Dickie, Elliott Moore, Josh Ruffels; Cameron Brannagan (Nathan Holland H-T), Alex Gorrin (Marcus Browne H-T), Shandon Baptiste; Tarique Fosu-Henry, Mark Sykes, Jamie Mackie (Matt Taylor 60). Subs not used: Jack Stevens, Rob Hall, John Mousinho, Liam Kelly.

Rotherham (4-4-2): Daniel Iversen; Ben Wiles, Michael Ihiekwe, Richard Wood, Matt Olosunde; Chiedozie Ogbene, Dan Barlaser (Trevor Clarke 90+2), Matt Crooks, Hakeeb Adelakun (Jamie Lindsay 71); Kyle Vassell (Freddie Ladapo 76), Michael Smith. Subs not used: Laurence Bilboe, Juien Lamy, Jake Hastie, Josh Kayode.

Goals: Vassell 16, 32, Wood 45+1 (Rotherham); Browne 71 (Oxford).

Referee: David Webb (Lancashire).

Attendance: 8,077 (894).


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