On-the-whistle report: Southend United 2 Rotherham United 2

On-the-whistle report: Southend United 2 Rotherham United 2

By Paul Davis | 14/12/2019

On-the-whistle report: Southend United 2 Rotherham United 2
Joe Mattock in action at Southend. Picture by Trevor Price

ROTHERHAM United fought back to earn a draw after staring a shock defeat in the face at struggling Southend United.

The Millers found themselves 2-1 down in the second half against a side that had taken only a single League One point at home all season.

It needed Freddie Ladapo to spare their blushes, the striker pouncing for his 11th goal of the campaign on the hour-mark to earn a share of the spoils.

The result moved Rotherham two places up the table to sixth, back in the play-off spots.

The visitors led at the break through the only goal of the opening period and, in keeping with the rest of the half, it was a scrappy affair.

Hastie sent a corner low into the six-yard box and Southend defender Rob Kiernan looked to have got the final touch in the scramble that ensued before the ball found its way into the net.

The Millers could have been ahead as early as the second minute when Ladapo, after a turn and run, let fly from 20 yards and tested goalkeeper Nathan Bishop.

The home side had first-half sights of goal through Jason Dimitriou, twice, Stephen McLaughlin and Sam Mantom but never troubled Dan Iversen in the Rotherham goal.

Rotherham went closest to a second goal of the game as Ben Wiles connected well with a volley just outside the penalty area in the 35th minute that wasn't far off target.

The Shrimpers hadn't won in the league at home all season and the game was there for Rotherham's taking.

However, Paul Warne's men suddenly found themselves 2-1 down as Southend scored twice in three minutes at the start of the second half.

First, Demetriou sent Iversen the wrong way from the spot in the 49th minute after Chiedozie Ogbene had handled inside the area, then Sam Mantom hit the target with a cool finish as he ran in on goal.

Just when the Millers needed their top scorer, Ladapo was on hand on 60 minutes to equalise from close range moments after Hastie had rapped the bar with a fierce drive.

With the game now completely opened up, Southend also hit the bar, McLaughlin's 66th-minute effort bouncing up after being hit into the ground.

Ladapo almost won it for Rotherham in the 90th minute, clipping the ball towards goal at the near post only to be denied by Bishop, and again deep into time added on when he forced another stop out of the keeper.

Southend (4-5-1): Nathan Bishop; Elvis Bwomono, Timothee Dieng, Rob Kiernan, Harry Lennon; Stephen McLaughlin (Simon Cox 83), Jason Demetriou, Mark Milligan, Sam Mantom (Isaac Hutchinson 75), Brandon Goodship (Layton Ndukwu 87); Stephen Humphrys. Subs not used: Mark Oxley, Ethan Hamilton, Matt Rush, Eren Kinali.

Rotherham (4-4-2): Daniel Iversen; Matt Olosunde, Michael Ihiekwe, Clark Robertson, Joe Mattock; Chiedozie Ogbene, Dan Barlaser, Ben Wiles, Jake Hastie; Michael Smith (Carlton Morris 77), Freddie Ladapo. Subs not used: Lewis Price, Adam Thompson, Trevor Clarke, Shaun MacDonald, Kyle Vassell, Julien Lamy.

Goals: Kiernan og 29, Ladapo 60 (Rotherham); Demetriou pen 49, Mantom 52 (Southend).

Referee: Charles Breakspear (Surrey).

Attendance: 5,652 (423).


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