MATCH REPORT: Ajayi is last-gasp hero for ten-man Millers

By David Beddows | 16/12/2017

MATCH REPORT: Ajayi is last-gasp hero for ten-man Millers

SEMI Ajayi  pounced in stoppage time to rescue a deserved point for ten-man Rotherham United against Plymouth Argyle.

After having skipper Richard Wood sent off early in the second half, the Millers look destined for defeat when Rotherham-born Ryan Taylor struck eight minutes from time.

But the spirit and attacking intent they showed either side of that goal was rewarded when Ajayi pounced from close range to make it 1-1.

Manager Paul Warne had gone with the players and formation which had come back to win at Blackpool the previous week, with Jerry Yates and David Ball up front in a 4-4-2.

It looked a wise move in the first half-hour as the Millers found pockets of space in midfield and stitched together some fine passages of play against the deep-sitting visitors.

Both Will Vaulks and the free-running Ryan Williams worked keeper Kelle Roos, who along with Toumani Diagouraga and Taylor was one of three former Rotherham men in the Pilgrims’ starting line-up.

Ball exemplified the skill Rotherham showed in attacking areas in the first period. His deft back header drifted across the goal face, with no-one there to capitalise, and he drew warm applause with a lovely first-time take and shot from Semi Ajayi’s raking pass.

The only snag was that there were no goals to show for the dominance.

The feel of the match took a turn four minutes into the second half when Wood, already on a yellow, chopped down Taylor on halfway and was dismissed. Vaulks took the armband and filled the gap in central defence.

A man up, Plymouth at last showed more ambition and Gary Sawyer tested Rodak Marek from 20 yards. Rotherham didn’t settle just for survival either, getting back in numbers and still causing anxious moments for the visitors.

Joe Mattock looped one just over and it took another good stop from Roos to thwart Anthony Forde from close range. Rodak stooped low to deny sub Lionel Ainsworth but was powerless to stop the breaking through on 82 minutes.

A corner came in and Taylor got in at the near post to flash home a header. The striker was booked for his celebration in front of the home fans and booed when he was later substituted.

The five minutes of stoppage time was enough for the Millers to have one last push. Substitute Joe Newell swung in a corner and in the ensuing scramble, Ajayi slammed in to secure a thoroughly warranted share of the spoils.

Millers: Rodak; Emmanuel (Clarke-Harris 86), Ajayi, Wood, Mattock; Forde (Newell 86), Vaulks, Towell, Williams; Yates (Frecklington 54), Ball

Plymouth: Roos; Taylor-Sinclair, Sawyer, Bradley, Fox, Edwards; Carey, Fox, Diagouraga; Grant (Wylde 76), Taylor (Fletcher 89), Jervis (Ainsworth 70)

Referee: Andy Haines (Tyne and Wear)

Attendance: 7,562 (456 visitors)


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