ANALYSIS: Second half improvement but still no Millers win

By Joe Cawthorn | 13/02/2017 0 comments

ANALYSIS: Second half improvement but still no Millers win

THE less said about the first half of Rotherham United's Championship tussle with fellow strugglers Blackburn Rovers the better.

The lack of attacking threat shown by either team throughout the opening 45 minutes of Saturday's 1-1 draw at the AESSEAL New York Stadium highlighted just why both are at the wrong end of the table.

The Millers hadn't netted in their previous four games and had only won one of their last eight in all competitions, meaning they kicked off 15 points from safety.

The visitors had problems of their own, floundering in the relegation zone amid protests from fans about the board and manager Owen Coyle, despite winning last time out against QPR.

The first half wasn't one for the football purists and the children who had turned up as part of a Kids for a Quid initiative must have wished they'd stayed at home on what was a murky Saturday afternoon.

Defender Stephen Kelly had the first chance after 11 minutes when he found himself surging towards the area with the ball at his feet but his shot lacked conviction and sailed wide.

Coyle's side came the closest to breaking the deadlock. First striker Danny Graham powered an effort inches wide before skipper Jason Lowe took advantage of a ponderous Jon Taylor to force Richard O'Donnell to tip a rasping long-range effort onto the bar.

A change of formation by Paul Warne from 4-1-4-1 to 4-4-2 almost bore fruit ten minutes before the break when Joe Newell found himself in space wide on the left.

His clipped cross evaded everyone and as Tom Adeyemi arrived late, he got his feet in a tangle and harmlessly thighed the ball back to Blackburn 'keeper Jason Steele.

The second half couldn't have been as lacklustre as the first and, indeed, it proved much more entertaining.

It was the Millers who hit first just minutes after the break when Adeyemi poked a ball through to Taylor in the area. He drilled low under Steele via a deflection before revealing a message to best mate and Brighton defender Connor Goldson, who may never play again due to a heart condition.

At this point Warne's men were rampant and a second goal would have just about killed off a Blackburn side whose confidence was frail.

O'Donnell was forced to pull off the save of the game from a close-range Charlie Mulgrew header, tipping it on to the bar, but it was the Millers who looked the most likely, causing the visiting supporters to belt out "We want Coyle out" numerous times.

Newell forced Steele into a finger-tip save from 18 yards and both Taylor and Danny Ward went close to doubling the advantage before the cruellest of fate struck five minutes from time.

Substitute Connor Mahoney whipped in a corner which landed at the back post, hitting Kelly on the leg and bouncing over the line.

In the closing moments sub Marvin Emnes had the chance to wrap up the points for Rovers but his header landed the wrong side of the post.

The long wait for a goal had come to an end but the wins Rotherham need if they're to perform a miracle are still hard to come by.

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