The ref, the time-wasting and the wall the Millers couldn't break down ... the story of Rotherham United 0 Shrewsbury Town 0

By Paul Davis | 22/09/2019

The ref, the time-wasting and the wall the Millers couldn't break down ... the story of Rotherham United 0 Shrewsbury Town 0
Carlton Morris in action against Shrewsbury. Picture by Steve Mettam

THE official signaled a time-out.

Granted, it was warm at AESSEAL New York Stadium as summer bequeathed its last burst of heat before giving way to autumn.

An impromptu, 25th-minute drinks break was called for, decided referee Carl Boyeson.

Neither side asked for it and Rotherham United certainly didn't want it as they strived for a first-half breakthrough against Shrewsbury Town.

It wasn't the first time proceedings had been interrupted on Saturday and it turned out to be far, far from the last.

Time-wasting was rearing a head even uglier than some of the football on show.

The Millers are big fish in League One's competitive pond and must find a way to combat teams who come to New York, slow down the game and keep men behind the ball.

Lincoln City and Tranmere Rovers have already done it. The Shrews took it to new levels.

Paul Warne is acutely aware of the issue. "We've got to get used to it," the Rotherham manager said. "Shrewsbury are above us in the league but they were more than happy to take a point."

Now let's just pause while Shrews goalkeeper Max O'Leary shapes to take a goal-kick, then meanders across to the other side of his area, slowly places the ball, replaces the ball, re-replaces the ball and finally hoofs it back into play.

Back to Warne: "Of our four home league games, only Bolton have tried to take us on and, obviously, we took them out. The other three games have been really frustrating. We are going to have to get better at it because we get frustrated and make rash decisions on the ball. ​

"I think the officials quite enjoy a bit of downtime. It means there's less game for them to officiate.

Freddie Ladapo in possession

"I'm not saying refs aren't fit enough. I'm just saying that on a hot day like today if the goalie took a minute to take a goal-kick, that's a minute where the referee doesn't have to referee anything. He can just walk about and catch his breath.

Boyeson halted the encounter again in the closing stages for another round of refreshments.

"It ruins the game," Warne said. "Drinks breaks and all that ... we didn't want drinks breaks. Our lads are pretty fit and just want to get on with it. That's another wait."

THE GAME

Rotherham's players wore T-shirts saying 'KIck It Out' as they warmed up.

Maybe they took that message too literally as they lacked quality, composure and imagination in their haste to puncture a massed defence and too many passes failed to find their man.

"I think if we had taken a chance early on it would have been a completely different game," Warne said. "Shrewsbury would have had to come at us and that would have suited us. 

"Every time we got on the ball, they got everyone behind it and we found it difficult to break them down.​

"It's Shrewsbury's prerogative to play like that. You need a bit of brilliance. You need someone to run past someone or pull a ball back. We just didn't have that spark."

After half-chances for Freddie Ladapo and Carlton Morris, New York was baying for a penalty when Morris went down in the 14th minute under Ollie Norburn's challenge.

Ladapo stung visiting goalkeeper Max O'Leary's hands with a fierce shot and Morris fired over before Daniel Iversen was required to make his only save of the match as Ryan Giles jinked inside from the left, ran 40 yards and took aim.

"I don't know if it was a penalty, to be honest," said Warne. "At the time, I thought it was, probably like every home fan in the stadium. But, just by looking at Carlton's face after the incident, maybe it wasn't."

Anyway, on to the second half.

Bur first we'll hang around because the Shrews have been awarded a corner, only Shaun Whalley appears to have forgotten it's his job to take it and it's an age before he leisurely drags his feet towards the touchline.

"It's so frustrating," Warne said. "Everything is slow and it's hard to get any impetus. It's hard to get the fans engaged as well. They were quiet today. I understand why because they're not witnessing 50 shots on target.​

Jake Hastie on the run

"The good thing is that we haven't lost against a team who are above us in the table. I thought we were significantly better than them."

Rotherham huffed and puffed after the break but created little. Weak shots from Ben Hastie and Ben Wiles were their only efforts until Morris wasted the chance of the match by hooking wide in the 77th minute.

With top scorers Ladapo and Hastie both being substituted, the game petered out in Millers frustration and discontentment once Michael Ihiekwe's 81st-minute header was clawed away by O'Leary.

"Our best chance fell to Carlton six or seven yards out and you would fancy him to score from there," Warne said. "I can't knock the lads' efforts. They're down in the dumps in the dressing room."

Rotherham, unbeaten in their last three outings and with games in hand on nearly every team above them, moved up a place to 13th in the table. They could have climbed to tenth with a victory.

Hang on, we have another hold-up. The ball has gone out of play and there's protracted uncertainty in the Shrews ranks about who should throw it back in.

This was a contest, much like this report, with no flow.

THE REF

At times, Boyeson almost noticed what was going on, pointing sternly at his watch in the pretence that he might, at some stage, actually do something about such dastardly deeds.

In the end, however, there were five minutes of added time, not the 15 that were probably justified, and zero bookings for dawdling.

He was booed off.

Rotherham were rushed, impatient, frustrated and made wrong decisions. Without the touch of magic Warne was talking about it, they could find no way through.

Loud, laughing voices in the away dressing room after the final whistle told you what Shrewsbury thought of the result. A perfect away display in their eyes on very imperfect Millers day.

Warne had appealed to the officials to do something.

"I lose my voice speaking to the fourth official and the ref," the boss complained. "We ask them to speed it up. It was so stop-start."

In keeping with the theme of the afternoon, he was wasting his time.

Rotherham (4-4-2): Daniel Iversen; Billy Jones, Michael Ihiekwe, Clark Robertson, Joe Mattock; Ben Wiles, Matt Crooks, Jamie Lindsay, Jake Hastie (Shaun MacDonald 83); Freddie Ladapo (Michael Smith 67), Carlton Morris. Subs not used: Lewis Price, Jake Cooper, Richard Wood, Dan Barlaser, Julien Lamy.

Shrewsbury (5-4-1): Max O'Leary; Donald Love, Ro-Shaun Williams, Ethan Ebanks-Landell, Omar Beckles, Ryan Giles; Shaun Whalley (Brad Walker 90), Sean Goss, Ollie Norburn, Josh Laurent (Dave Edwards 86);  Callum Lang (Jason Cummings 74). Subs not used: Sam Agius, Scott Golbourne, Romain Vincelot, Daniel Udoh.

Referee: Carl Boyeson (East Yorkshire).

Attendance: 8,380 (429).


The fact you are here means you are interested in what goes on in your town.

We want to continue holding local authorities to account, attending court and council meetings, as well as providing breaking news, competitions and offers – but it costs money. Online advertising does not cover costs, therefore we feel the need to ask for your help in ensuring we can provide the best possible coverage, online and in our printed products.
For as little as £1, you can support the Rotherham Advertiser – and it only takes a minute.
Click here to support local news.


Spotted something we should know about?

Call our Newsdesk on 01709 768146
Or email newsdesk@rotherhamadvertiser.co.uk
Message us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TheRotherhamAdvertiser/