No goals in the wind and cold ... on-the-whistle report: Oxford United 0 Rotherham United 0

ROTHERHAM United held on to top spot in League One despite being kept goalless in the wind and cold at Covid-hit Oxford United this afternoon.
Freddie Ladapo in action at Oxford. Picture by Jim BrailsfordFreddie Ladapo in action at Oxford. Picture by Jim Brailsford
Freddie Ladapo in action at Oxford. Picture by Jim Brailsford

The stalemate stretched the Millers' unbeaten run to 16 games and they were left to rue two instances in the first half when chances came back off the woodwork.

Play-off contenders Oxford, without seven players because of coronavirus, put up a good fight and Paul Warne's men were made to work hard for their point.

Only the width of a post prevented Rotherham taking the lead in the tenth minute.

Fit-again Ollie Rathbone played the ball wide to Mickel Miller and when the cross came in Michael Smith smacked the upright with his header.

Rathbone was making his presence felt and shot just over eight minutes later after Ben Wiles and Chiedozie Ogbene had made progress down the right.

The wind brought in by Storm Arwen was making life difficult for both sides and Marcus McGuane's deflected cross carried on a strong gust before bouncing awkwardly just in front of Viktor Johansson's goal and over the bar.

It was as cold as it was windy at the Kassam Stadium and Millers assistant boss Richie Barker had ditched his usual shorts in favour of tracksuits bottom for the second game in a row.

Just past the half-hour mark, Rotherham were denied by the frame of the goal again. Smith turned and fired in a wonderful cross and Freddie Ladapo's leaping header clattered the bar.

In a fairly even encounter the visitors were having the better opportunities and close to half-time Miller's cross landed on Smith's head after a short-corner routine only for the striker to loop his effort wide of the target.

Rotherham had made three changes to the side that triumphed 2-0 at Ipswich Town in midweek.

Rathbone came straight back into the side following his recovery from illness, with Jamie Lindsay making way, and Wes Harding was in the back three, allowing veteran Richard Wood to take a rest on the bench after playing twice in four days.

Shane Ferguson had been a scorer at Portman Road but was among the substitutes as Miller started against the U's.

Two Millers old boys play for Oxford but both missed out on today's clash. Anthony Forde was one of the Covid seven while fellow winger Ryan Williams didn't feature in a squad that contained only six substitutes.

Rotherham were on the front foot immediately after the restart and Wiles sent a cushioned volley just over the bar before Dan Barlaser wasn't far away with a curling shot.

Oxford responded with a Nathan Holland drive saved by Johansson and a Herbie Kane off-target free-kick.

In the bitter cold, Rotherham were being cheered on by more than 1,000 travelling fans who were watching their side weather  spell of pressure from the home team.

Steve Seddon tested Johansson who tipped the ball around the post in the 72nd minute as the contest hung in the balance and the Millers brought on Wood to stiffen their rearguard.

Neither team came close to a winner as the clock ticked down.

In the circumstances, a draw was a better result for weakened Oxford than Rotherham but the Millers move on with their momentum unchecked.

Oxford (4-3-3): Connal Trueman; Jamie Hanson, Luke McNally, Sam Long, Steve Seddon; Marcus McGuane (Dan Agyei 70), Cameron Brannagan, Herbie Kane; James Henry, Gavin Whyte, Nathan Holland (Joel Cooper 87). Subs not used: Eddie Brearey, Sam Winnall, Billy Bodin, James Golding.

Rotherham (3-5-2): Viktor Johansson; Rarmani Edmonds-Green, Michael Ihiekwe, Wes Harding; Chiedozie Ogbene (Richard Wood 75), Ben Wiles, Dan Barlaser, Ollie Rathbone (Jamie Lindsay 67), Mickel Miller; Freddie Ladapo (Josh Kayode 83), Michael Smith. Subs not used: Josh Vickers, Hakeem Odoffin, Shane Ferguson, Will Grigg.

Referee: Sam Purkiss (London).

Attendance: 7,620 (1,001).