Survival setback ... On-the-whistle report: Luton Town 0 Rotherham United 0

Survival setback ... On-the-whistle report: Luton Town 0 Rotherham United 0

By Paul Davis | 04/05/2021

Survival setback ... On-the-whistle report: Luton Town 0 Rotherham United 0
Michael Smith in action at Luton Town. Picture by Jim Brailsford

ROTHERHAM United's survival fate is out of their own hands again as they drew a blank in their Championship draw at Luton Town tonight.

They had chances to secure the victory they craved but didn't take them, something which has become a recurring theme during their packed run-in.

The battle to stay up stay up goes to Saturday's final day of the campaign but even if Paul Warne's men beat Cardiff City they are relying on Derby County failing to triumph against Sheffield Wednesday.

An away point was a creditable result in their last match in hand but not enough when they were trying to claw back a three-point gap on the Rams.

Lewis Wing had the first effort on target with a low 25-yard free-kick on six minutes that forced Simon Sluga into a save.

There was nothing pretty about the opening quarter of an hour but that won't have bothered Rotherham who, at this stage of the campaign, were bothered only about points, not performances.

A power drive from Ben Wiles was heading for goal in the 18th minute until a Luton defender got in a crucial block but the biggest chance of the game so far came soon afterwards at the other end when Elijah Adebayo's shot beat Jamal Blackman and smacked the bar.

Michael Smith should have opened the scoring for the Millers after 25 minutes, glancing his header wastefully wide when he was picked out by Ryan Giles' quality delivery from the left.

An open match was low on real quality but not on opportunities and the woodwork came to the visitors' rescue for a second time.

On the half-hour mark, a Luton corner was swung in and a goal seemed the likely outcome only for a combination of Blackman and the post to keep the ball out.

Either side were capable of breaking the deadlock and three minutes before the break Crooks thought he'd done it Rotherham.

His deft touch bounced towards goal and the Millers claimed, more in hope than certainty, that it had gone over the line before Sluga reached it but the officials disagreed.

Paul Warne's men headed into the break looking like they could score in this game. Unfortunately, exactly the same could be said of the 12th-placed Hatters who had nothing at stake but were putting in plenty of effort as they looked to extend their unbeaten run to six matches.

Rotherham had brought midfielder Crooks straight back after a three-match ban and Blackman kept his place in goal, with Viktor Johansson on the bench following his concussion.

Angus MacDonald's troublesome calf wasn't risked and Wes Harding was selected in a three-man backline.

Wiles, Dan Barlaser and Matt Olosunde returned to the side and Freddie Ladapo, Shaun MacDonald and Chiedozie Ogbene, all starters against Blackburn Rovers last Saturday, were among the substitutes.

Openings became more scarce after the interval but a huge one fell to Crooks on 72 minutes. He rose to meet Giles' cross and seemed set to score only to miss the target.

They went 4-4-2, with Crooks pushed up front with Ladapo, to allow Giles and Ogbene to operate as wingers and Wing brought a scrambling save from Sluga with an 85th-minute free-kick but they couldn't force a breakthrough.

The bid for safety isn't over but survival looks very unlikely.

Luton (4-2-3-1): Simon Sluga; James Bree, Matty Pearson, Sonny Bradley, Kal Naismith; Ryan Tunnicliffe (Kazenga Lualua 76), Glen Rea; Dan Potts (Harry Cornick H-T), Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, James Collins (Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu 63); Elijah Adebayo. Subs not used: James Shea, Martin Cranie, James Moncur, Sam Nombe, Joe Morrell, Dion Pereira.

Rotherham (3-5-1-1): Jamal Blackman; Michael Ihiekwe, Richard Wood, Wes Harding; Matt Olosunde (Chiedozie Ogbene 66), Lewis Wing, Dan Barlaser (Joe Mattock 74), Matt Crooks, Ryan Giles; Ben Wiles; Michael Smith (Freddie Ladapo 66). Subs not used: Viktor Johansson, Angus MacDonald, Shaun MacDonald, Jamie Lindsay, Florian Jozefzoon, Kieran Sadlier.

Referee: David Webb (Lancashire).

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