Shoot-out success in the EFL Trophy quarter-final ... on-the-whistle report: Rotherham United Cambridge United 1 (Millers win 7-6 on penalties)

Shoot-out success in the EFL Trophy quarter-final ... on-the-whistle report: Rotherham United Cambridge United 1 (Millers win 7-6 on penalties)

By Paul Davis | 25/01/2022

Shoot-out success in the EFL Trophy quarter-final ... on-the-whistle report: Rotherham United  Cambridge United 1 (Millers win 7-6 on penalties)
The Millers take the lead through Wes Harding. Picture by Dave Poucher

ROTHERHAM United are only one match away from a Wembley final after winning a nail-biting penalty shoot-out against Cambridge City to reach the last four of the EFL Trophy tonight.

The Millers triumphed 7-6 in sudden death at AESSEAL New York Stadium after their quarter-final clash against fellow League One side Cambridge City had finished 1-1 after 90 minutes.

Every Rotherham player who stepped up to the spot scored and goalkeeper Viktor Johansson was the hero as he saved Adam May's attempt from 12 yards.

Shane Ferguson, Freddie Ladapo, Mickel Miller, Ben Wiles, Joe Mattock, Jamie Lindsay and Michael Ihiekwe all hit the target to put the Millers into Saturday's semi-final draw.

Wes Harding, opening his Rotherham account in his 75th match for the club, and Paul Digby had scored in regulation time.

Josh Kayode had already headed Tolaji Bola's corner over the bar before the home side swept into a ninth-minute lead.

Harding fired the ball low past Dimitor Mitov for the first ever goal of his pro career.

Rotherham were attacking well and Bola, Will Grigg, Kieran Sadlier and Mattock were all denied by goal-saving blocks as the home players queued up to shoot in a 13th-minute episode of penalty-area pinball.

Soon after Kayode headed over again and then somehow directed the ball too high with his thigh from only a couple of yards out.

The first real moment of danger for Cambridge, who arrived in South Yorkshire on the back of five straight wins, came just before the half-hour mark when Liam Bennett cut in from the right and forced a save from Viktor Johansson.

Even at this advanced stage of the tournament only half of New York was open. Around 100 hardy U's souls had made the journey north and were making themselves heard in the East Stand.

The visitors, beaten twice in the league by the Millers this season, came right back into the contest but had only a couple of speculative long-range efforts to show for their neat, incisive football.

That changed in the 40th minute when James Brophy and Adam May broke quickly down the left to set up Digby for a well-executed equaliser.

Sadlier had returned after illness as the Millers made a raft of changes to the side that had beaten Cheltenham Town 1-0 in League One at the weekend.

Mattock, Hakeem Odoffin, Bola all made starts, having played big parts in getting Rotherham to this stage of the competition.

Youngster Kayode was up front following his first goal for the club in the previous round and there was a place on the bench for Angus MacDonald, the centre-half who is nearing full fitness after being out since pre-season.

Kayode had yet another opportunity within two minutes of the restart but headed straight at the goalkeeper from close range and then had a shot blocked as Rotherham applied the pressure as they went towards the North Stand.

As the clock started to tick down, Adam May headed off target for Cambridge when Johansson came and didn't collect but chances had been at a premium for most of a hard-fought second half.

Chiedozie Ogbene dragged a stoppage-time shot wide and so the contest was decided amid the drama of a shoot-out.

PENALTIES:

Shane Ferguson scores

Sam Smith scores

Freddie Ladapo scores

Harrison Dunk scores

Mickel Miller scores

James Brophy scores

Ben Wiles scores

George Williams scores

Joe Mattock scores

Harvey Knibbs scores

Jamie Lindsay scores

Dimitar Mitov scores

Michael Ihiekwe scores

Adam May saved

Rotherham (3-5-2): Viktor Johansson; Rarmani Edmonds-Green, Michael Ihiekwe, Joe Mattock; Wes Harding (Chiedozie Ogbene 66), Jamie Lindsay, Kieran Sadlier (Ben Wiles 66), Hakeem Odoffin, Tolaji Bola (Mickel Miller 66); Will Grigg (Freddie Ladapo 66), Josh Kayode (Shane Ferguson 86). Subs not used: Josh Vickers, Angus MacDonald.

Cambridge (4-1-4-1): Dimitar Mitov; Liam Bennett, George Williams, Jubril Okedina, Harrison Dunk; Paul Digby; Harvey Knibbs, Adam May, Ben Worman, James Brophy; Sam Smith. Subs not used: Will Mannion, Jonah Gill, Tom Dickens, Harvey Beckett, Kai Yearn, Glenn McConnell, Saleem Akanbi.

Goals: Harding 9 (Rotherham); Digby 40 (Cambridge).

Referee: Martin Coy (County Durham).

Attendance: 2,239 (133).



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