MATCH REPORT: Another blank away day for Millers

A BRAVE rearguard effort from Rotherham United came to nothing as their miserable Championship campaign continued with a narrow defeat at Bristol City.

 Paul Warne’s side defended well and caused one or two nervous moments for the home side before they were beaten by a solitary goal from substitute Milan Djuric 17 minutes from time.

The 15th away defeat from 16, it leaves them rooted to the bottom of the table, now 15 points behind Bristol and the same distance from safety with 16 games to go.

With Joe Mattock pushing up into an unaccustomed midfield role to accommodate newcomer Ben Purrington at left-back and Joe Newell recalled in a 4-1-4-1 formation, Rotherham were pressed back for large parts of the first half.

Nineteen-goal man Tammy Abraham should have punished them from a shot on the turn and Richard O’Donnell was kept busy by his old team and had to be at his best to parry a header from Jens Hegeler.

Coming into the match on the back of a club record eight defeats and a solitary draw, City were nervous at the back. Anthony Forde carried a threat down the right and after Danny Ward stabbed one effort just wide at the near post, the lively winger flung in a centre that home defender Mark Little very nearly put into his own net.

Under-pressure manager Lee Johnson didn’t exactly endear himself to the home fans by substituting danger man Abraham, just moments after O’Donnell had shown brilliant reflexes to claw away his header.

When O’Donnell produced his next good save, parrying a header from substitute Jamie Paterson on 73 minutes, fellow replacement Milan Djuric was on hand to nod home the loose ball.

The goal was hard on the Millers, who had worked so hard to stay level, and despite the fresh legs of substitutes Jerry Yates, Jon Taylor and Dexter Blackstock and a switch to three up front, they weren’t able to fashion another clear chance. Their wait for a goal now stretches to more than six hours of football.

Bristol City: Giefer, Little (Taylor 58), Wright, Flint, Golbourne, Hegeler, Pack, Cotterill, Bryan, Tomlin (Paterson 58), Abraham (Djuric 58)

Millers: O’Donnell; Kelly (Blackstock 85), Purrington, Wood, Ajayi, Smallwood,  Forde (Taylor 67), Vaulks, Newell, Mattock (Yates 63), Ward

Referee: Peter Bankes (Merseyside)

Attendance: 18,737 (210 visitors)