Magnificent Millers close in on safety in face of adversity ... on-the-whistle report: Rotherham United 2 Burnley 2

Jamie Lindsay in the thick of the action. Picture by Kerrie BeddowsJamie Lindsay in the thick of the action. Picture by Kerrie Beddows
Jamie Lindsay in the thick of the action. Picture by Kerrie Beddows
HEROIC Rotherham United claimed a crucial survival point against Burnley despite losing two key men at half-time in their battle with the champions-elect.

On a night of high drama at AESSEAL New York Stadium, goalkeeper Josh Vickers and striker Jordan Hugill didn't appear for the second period and that meant the Millers were forced to hand a career debut to rookie shot-stopper Robbie Hemfrey.

The untried Scottish youngster went on to play a full part as the home team pulled of a superb result to boost their bid for Championship safety.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

They were losing 2-1 late on only for the other interval substitute, Georgie Kelly, to strike in front of the kop to earn a famous draw.

The draw left them in 18th spot and saw them increase the gap between them and the drop zone to four points.

They stand on the brink of staying up, and staying up is what they deserve to do after a performance like this in the face of their injury nightmare.

Vickers was called into action after five minutes as he parried Connor Roberts' shot following Anass Zaroury's low left-flank cross.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The visitors started quickly but Rotherham were well in the game and their first sight of goal came ten minutes later when Jamie Lindsay hooked the ball wide from Shane Ferguson's inswinging corner.

Under the New York lights, the Millers were competing hard against the top team in the division who had arrived in South Yorkshire already promoted and 12 points clear of second-placed Sheffield United.

The Clarets knew that they if they bettered the result of the Blades against Bristol City the same evening they would lift the title.

The runaway leaders hadn't lost in the league since November 5, three days after they'd beaten the Millers 3-2 at Turf Moor with two added-time goals.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

That was a run of 21 games and they took a huge step to making it 22 in the 26th minute when Scott Twine volleyed home a cross from the right to give them the lead.

Soon after, Lyle Foster curled an effort wide as the class of the Clarets began to tell. Rotherham had a lot of defending to do, although Domingos Quina was offering flashes of danger with his trickery in attack.

New York erupted on the stroke of half-time when the home side stunned Burnley by forcing their way back into the contest.

Ferguson swung over another dangerous corner and, between them, Vitinho and Ameen Al-Dakhill could do no more at the back post then put the ball into their own net.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Manager Matt Taylor had handed a first start since January to captain Richard Wood and, after impressing from the bench, Quina had come in for his first Millers start since his New Year loan switch from Watford.

Ferguson returned to the side following an injection in his troublesome groin and there was a place on the bench for Ben Wiles after nearly four months out with an ankle injury. He came on to a rapturous reception near the end.

Hemfrey made the first save of his Rotherham career within four minutes of the restart, getting down sharply to keep out Johann Gudmundsson's low effort, and minutes later denied the same player again as Burnley upped the pressure.

The home crowd were getting right behind their side, appreciating the defiance they were showing, and there were cheers as Hemfrey excelled once more, beating out Roberts' shot.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Rotherham were a threat on the counter-attack, particularly through Chiedozie Ogbene, but it was nearly all backs-to-the-wall resolve as they continued to hold out.

Kelly got in a header on target on 67 minutes, from Cohen Bramall's cross, but it lacked the power to trouble Bailey Peacock-Farrell. At the other end, Gudmundsson headed Roberts' cross wide.

In the 74th minute applause rang out for Dave Johnson, a lifelong Rotherham fan who had sadly passed away two days earlier.

Burnley went in front when sub Manuel Benson bent in a stunning effort late on but their lead lasted only four minutes before Kelly pounced from close range on Ogbene's cross

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Rotherham could have even won in the dying stages through Ogbene and Tariqe Fosu.

Burnley will win the league. But, tonight, on this great night, they couldn't beat the Millers.

Rotherham (4-3-3): Josh Vickers (Robbie Hemfrey H-T); Lee Peltier, Cameron Humphreys, Richard Wood, Cohen Bramall; Jamie Lindsay, Conor Coventry (Ben Wiles 85), Shane Ferguson (Wes Harding 62); Chiedozie Ogbene, Jordan Hugill (Georgie Kelly H-T), Domingos Quina (Tariqe Fosu 70). Subs not used: Leo Hjelde, Hakeem Odoffin.

Burnley (4-2-3-1): Bailey Peacock-Farrell; Connor Roberts, Ameen Al-Dakhill, Jordan Beyer, Ian Maatsen; Johann Gudmundsson (Jack Cork 83), Josh Cullen; Scott Twine (Michael Obafemi 77), Vitinho (Manuel Benson 70), Anass Zaroury; Lyle Foster (Ashley Barnes 77). Subs not used: Arijanet Muric, Taylor Harewood-Bellis, Samuel Bastien.

Goals: Twine 26, Benson 81 (Burnley), Vitinho own goal 45+2, Kelly 85 (Rotherham).

Referee: Robert Madley (West Yorkshire).

Attendance: 10,566 (2,202).

Related topics: