On-the-whistle report: Rotherham United 0 Wycombe Wanderers 3

On-the-whistle report: Rotherham United 0 Wycombe Wanderers 3

By Paul Davis | 05/04/2021

On-the-whistle report: Rotherham United 0 Wycombe Wanderers 3
Michael Smith in action against Wycombe. Picture by Kerrie Beddows

ROTHERHAM United's Championship survival hopes suffered a crippling blow as they were beaten by bottom club Wycombe Wanderers on a grim afternoon at AESSEAL New York Stadium.

Just when they needed to be at their best, the Millers turned in one of their worst displays of the season and found themselves two goals behind after only 24 minutes.

A third goal towards the end killed the contest and possibly their season.

With closest rivals Coventry City winning against Bristol City, the gap to safety has now stretched to six points. Paul Warne's men have games in hand but it will take an amazing turnaround in their last ten matches to keep them out of League One.

A switch in system from 3-5-2 to 4-4-2 didn't work and changes were made at half-time but by then the damage had been done.

Rotherham got off to a disastrous start and were behind after only 87 seconds as their defence was parted by a ball down the middle and Admiral Muskwe applied the finish.

They had a chance to equalise soon after when Matt Crooks flashed a header off target from Dan Barlaser's centre.

But their defence, lacking the suspended Richard Wood, was looking suspect and Muskwe fired over from a good position when the home side failed to clear before Anis Mehmeti hit the side-netting after a breakaway.

On 15 minutes, Michael Ihiekwe was close to a leveller, heading Wes Harding's cross just wide, and five minutes later Freddie Ladapo looked certain to turn in Michael Smith's low delivery only for Jack Grimmer to get a crucial touch and flick the ball away from the Millers striker.

However, things grew even worse for the home side in the 24th minute when Jason McCarthy was allowed too much time and space at the edge of the area and his shot deflected past Viktor Johansson into the net.

Crooks fired wide after being set up by Ladapo on the half-hour mark and a Smith header brought a comfortable save from David Stockdale as the Millers tried to respond but they were second best to a busier, sharper Wycombe team who were winning the majority of tackles and were quick to work the ball forward.

Finally Rotherham got on top and Stockdale denied Ben Wiles from a tight angle and then produced a superb stop as Jamie Lindsay tried to despatch the rebound.

As half-time approached, Lewis Wing let fly from from outside the box and Stockdale was again called into action.

Midfielder Lindsay had come in for his first start since damaging his hamstring two months ago as Warne made two alterations to the side that lost 1-0 with ten men at Millwall on Good Friday.

Wiles also returned, although at left-back rather than his usual midfield berth in a formation switch brought on by the absence of centre-half and skipper Wood who was serving a one-match following his red card at the New Den.

Wiles had struggling defensively and was sacrificed at the break with Dan Barlaser, with Warne trying to kick-start a Rotherham response by bringing on two wingers, Chiedozie Ogbene and Florian Jozefzoon, and reverting to the usual 3-5-2 shape.

The changes failed to have an effect and neither goalkeeper was troubled until Johansson held on to Dennis Adeniran's long-range effort after 60 minutes

Five minutes later Wing was only a whisker wide as he was found by Smith's cut-back and soon after Angus MacDonald couldn't get the clean connection he needed inside the box and Stockdale dived gratefully on to the ball.

Seven minutes remained when David Wheeler ran in on goal after Ade Akinfenwa beat Angus MacDonald in the air and slid the ball beyond Johansson.

George Hirst hit the post for the Millers but the game had well and truly gone.

Goals: Muskwe 2, McCarthy 24, Wheeler 83 (Wycombe).

Rotherham (4-4-2): Viktor Johansson; Wes Harding, Michael Ihiekwe, Angus MacDonald, Ben Wiles (Florian Jozefzoon H-T); Dan Barlaser (Chiedozie Ogbene H-T), Jamie Lindsay (Ryan Giles 76), Matt Crooks, Lewis Wing; Michael Smith, Freddie Ladapo (George Hirst 76). Subs not used: Jamal Blackman, Matt Olosunde, Trevor Clarke, Shaun MacDonald, Kieran Sadlier.

Wycombe (4-2-3-1): David Stockdale; Jason McCarthy, Jack Grimmer, Josh Knight, Joe Jacobson (Anthony Stewart 44); Dennis Adeniran, Curtis Thompson (Daryl Horgan 87); Admiral Muskwe (Garath McCleary 87), Anis Mehmeti (David Wheeler H-T), Fred Onyedinma; Uche Ikpeazu (Adebayo Akinfenwa 78). Subs not used: Ryan Allsop, Scott Kashket, Giles Phillips, Alex Samuel.

Referee: James Linington (Isle of Wight).




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