On-the-whistle report: Salford City 1 Rotherham United 1 (Salford win 4-2 on penalties)

On-the-whistle report: Salford City 1 Rotherham United 1 (Salford win 4-2 on penalties)

By Paul Davis | 05/09/2020

On-the-whistle report: Salford City 1 Rotherham United 1 (Salford win 4-2 on penalties)
The Millers in action at Salford. Picture: Jim Brailsford

ROTHERHAM United made a first-round, penalty-shoot-out exit from the League Cup as they returned to action 182 days since their last game.

The Championship Millers dominated at League Two Salford City and created plenty of chances but needed a stoppage-time equaliser to take the contest to spot-kicks.

They were beaten 4-2 in the shoot-out as Kyle Vassell hit a post and Joe Mattock's attempt was saved. Freddie Ladapo and new boy Kieran Sadlier scored.

Earlier, they had been staring defeat in the face deep into extra time before forcing a scrambled 96th-minute leveller.

Ian Henderson had given Salford an undeserved 83rd-minute lead from the spot - the home side's only attempt on target in the entire match before the shoot-out.

It looked like Matt Crooks got the final touch in the 96th minute to keep the match alive.

Manager Paul Warne handed debuts to a trio of summer signings, goalkeeper Jamal Blackman, right-back Wes Harding and winger Sadlier.

Sadlier was the pick of the three, showing quality with both feet. Blackman had little to do but looked hesitant and was at fault for the spot-kick, colliding with Salford substitute Tom Elliott when he should have cleared the ball.

Rotherham, playing for the first time since coronavirus shut down football, could have been ahead after less than a minute but Michael Smith lifted his effort over the bar after being fed by strike partner Freddie Ladapo.

The visitors threatened much more than the visitors before the break, with Sadlier looking dangerous on the left flank for his new club.

Chiedozie Ogbene was off target from distance in the 20th minute and seconds later brought a good save from Hladky before Smith was ruled offside as he looked to latch on to the rebound.

On the half-hour mark, Sadlier had Hladky scrambling as he cut inside and fizzed a shot wide.

The Millers' superiority was really starting to show and Hladky was called into action again, on 38 minutes, making a flying save from Jamie Linsday's drive following slick link-up play between Ogbene and Ladapo.

The Ammies keeper had an easier task two minutes, holding on to a Michael Ihiekwe that had power but not enough direction.

Eight minutes after the interval, the busiest man on the pitch denied the Millers once more, Hladky keeping out Wes Harding's shot.

And he was at it again in the 57th minute, getting himself in the way of Ogbene's low strike.

It was all Rotherham. Salford still hadn't tested visiting goalkeeper Blackman by the time Sadlier shot wastefully wide after a quick Millers break with 63 minutes on the clock.

However, everything changed seven minutes from time when Blackman erred and Henderson, a former Millers player, stepped up to put City into the lead.

Warne's men went close when Ash Eastham headed against his own bar before they finally made the breakthough in the last few seconds of time added on.

Their luck was out in the shoot-out as they lost on a day when they had enough opportunities to comfortably win.

Warne's thoughts will now turn to next Saturday's league opener at Wycombe Wanderers.

Goals: Henderson, pen, 83 (Salford), Crooks 90+6 (Rotherham).

Salford (4-3-3): Vaclav Hladky; Oscar Threkeld, Tom Clarke, Ash Eastham, Ibou Touray; Darron Gibson, Ash Hunter (Jordan Turnbull 87), Jason Lowe; Bruno Andrade (Brandon Thomas-Asante 79), Ian Henderson, Luke Armstrong (Tom Elliott 64). Subs not used: Nick Hayes, James Wilson, Alex Denny, Tylor Golden.

Rotherham (4-4-2): Jamal Blackman; Wes Harding (Billy Jones 76), Michael Ihiekwe, Richard Wood, Joe Mattock; Chiedozie Ogbene, Shaun MacDonald, Jamie Lindsay (Matt Crooks 71), Kieran Sadlier; Freddie Ladapo, Michael Smith (Kyle Vassell 58). Subs not used: Viktor Johansson, Adam Thompson, Angus MacDonald, Clark Robertson.

Referee: James Oldham (Derbyshire).

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