Last-gasp misery again as Millers fail to seal survival deal ... on-the-whistle report: Rotherham United 1 Cardiff City 2

ROTHERHAM United were hit by late heartache for the second match in succession as they tried to seal their Championship safety against survival rivals Cardiff City tonight.
Ollie Rathbone in first-half action. Picture by Kerrie BeddowsOllie Rathbone in first-half action. Picture by Kerrie Beddows
Ollie Rathbone in first-half action. Picture by Kerrie Beddows

After losing 2-1 at Bristol City in stoppage time at the weekend, the Millers conceded in the 85th minute to suffer a defeat by the same margin.

Their fate remains in their own hands and they have two matches left to safeguard their place in the second tier. They slipped a place, to 20th, three points above third-bottom Reading.

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This was the replayed clash after the original fixture on March 18 was abandoned because of a freak rainstorm. There was no such downpour this time, just a torrent of disappointment at AESSEAL New York Stadium where a win would have made Matt Taylor's men all but mathematically safe.

Rotherham started quickly and came close to taking the lead after only two minutes. Wes Harding crossed and Jordan Hugill's header was touched on to the bar by goalkeeper Jak Alnwick.

From the ensuing corner Richard Wood headed wide and, soon afterwards, Hugill was sent racing clear by Conor Coventry's raking pass only to lose his footing as he bore down on goal.

At the other end, Viktor Johnsson dived low to keep out Mahlon Romeo's shot as the Bluebirds came into the game and the visitors took an 11th-minute lead when Kion Etete forced himself on to Perry Ng's cross to head it home on the first bounce.

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The Millers had been boosted by the return to the starting 11 of key midfield man Ollie Rathbone whose groin complaint had eased sufficiently enough to play.

He was in the thick of the battle as the rain fell at New York but nowhere nearly as heavily as it had on that soaked Saturday last month.

A Coventry shot gave Alnwick a comfortable 25th-minute save as Rotherham tried to respond but the visitors were looking the more dangerous side.

Etete was running the Millers ragged and his strike partner, Sory Kaba, got in on the act on 26 minutes, bringing a fine stop from Johansson with a fierce drive.

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Manager Matt Taylor had switched from the usual 4-3-3 formation to match the 3-5-2 shape of Cardiff who had dominated in midfield in the initial match at New York.

Only six Rotherham players who began that game - Johnasson, Lee Peltier, Cameron Humphreys, Coventry, Chiedozie Ogbene and Hugill - were in the side this evening.

The Millers rallied, took the contest to the Bluebirds and got the reward they deserved with an equaliser in the 37th minute.

Harding crossed from the right, the referee missed a Wood push on a defender and Ogbene gleefully head home, first bounce - just like Cardiff's opener - at the back post.

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Rotherham had a huge let-off in time added on at the end of the opening period when Kaba crashed a penalty against the bar after Coventry had slid into Jaden Philogene inside the box.

New York erupted, fully realising the potential significance of the moment at such a crucial stage.

In a team showing three changes to the one that had started at Ashton Gate last Saturday, captain Wood was at centre-half and Harding had come in at right-wing-back.

Tariqe Fosu and Domingos Quina dropped to the bench while Tyler Blackett missed out entirely because of his hamstring issue.

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Sights of goal were at a premium after the break, although the home crowd were lifted by the introduction of Georgie Kelly who screwed a shot wide within seconds of coming on.

Only three minutes of the regulation 90 remained when the Millers suffered a savage setback.

Johansson saved superbly from Etete but the ball was only half-cleared and when it was headed back into the danger zone Cedric Kipre rammed it into the roof of the net.

Not the end or the result anyone in S60 wanted. The tension mounts.

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Rotherham (3-5-2): Viktor Johansson; Lee Peltier (Domingos Quina 85), Richard Wood, Cameron Humphreys; Wes Harding, Jamie Lindsay, Conor Coventry (Ben Wiles 85), Ollie Rathbone (Tariqe Fosu 70), Cohen Bramall; Chiedozie Ogbene, Jordan Hugill (Georgie Kelly 67). Subs not used: Robbie Hemfrey, Leo Hjelde, Shane Ferguson.

Cardiff (3-5-2): Jak Alnwick; Perry Ng, Cedric Kipre, Mark McGuinness; Mahlon Romeo, Ryan Wintle, Joe Ralls, Jaden Philogene (Romaine Sawyers 90), Callum O'Dowda (Jack Simpson H-T); Sory Kaba (Connor Wickham 71), Kion Etete. Subs not used; Rohan Luthra, Sheyi Ojo, Mark Harris, Andy Rinomhota.

Goals: Etete 11, Kipre 87 (Cardiff); Ogbene 37 (Rotherham).

Referee: Oliver Langford (West Midlands).

Attendance: 10,219 (864).