On-the-whistle report: Rotherham United 1 Middlesbrough 2

On-the-whistle report: Rotherham United 1 Middlesbrough 2

By Paul Davis | 05/05/2019

On-the-whistle report: Rotherham United 1 Middlesbrough 2
Matt Crooks in action against Middlesbrough. Picture by Steve Mettam

ROTHERHAM United bowed out of the Championship with a 2-1 AESSEAL New York Stadium defeat at the hands of Middlesbrough.

The already-relegated Millers tried hard in the second half to come back from a 2-0 half-time deficit but couldn't quite force an equaliser and had to settle for Michael Smith's 86th-minute penalty in their last game in the second tier.

Boro arrived at New York with hopes of gatecrashing the play-off places but results elsewhere saw them miss out.

Rotherham made a bright start yet found themselves two goals down at the break as Tony Pulis' side took control of the contest.

Britt Assombalonga scored from the spot after 28 minutes when Clark Robertson was adjudged by referee Andy Madley to have pulled down the visiting striker and John Obi Mikel fired in a rocket following a corner ten minutes later.

For the Millers, Michael Smith tested Darren Randolph with an early shot from the right, Semi Ajayi headed over from a good position and Joe Newell's free-kick required a fingertip save from the Boro keeper.

But better chances had come at the other end, with Assombalonga missing two one-on-ones and Ryan Shotton heading an inviting opportunity over.

After the interval, Ajayi came close to reducing the arrears when only a brilliant Randolph stop kept out his header, the home team's huge shout for a penalty for handball went unheeded by Madley and substitute Kyle Vassell had a clear sight of goal but couldn't deliver the power to trouble Randolph.

Then Vassell produced a storming run and fierce shot against the woodwork before being tripped by Obi Mikel, leaving Player of the Year Smith to have the final say in the Millers' one-year stay in the Championship from the spot.

Rotherham United (4-1-4-1): Lewis Price; Billy Jones, Michael Ihiekwe, Clark Robertson, Joe Mattock; Semi Ajayi; Anthony Forde, Matt Crooks, Ben Wiles, Joe Newell; Michael Smith. Unused: Zak Vyner, Richard Wood, Matt Palmer, Richie Towell.

Subs: Ryan Williams (for Forde, H-T), Darren Potter (for Crooks, 66), Kyle Vassell (for Newell, 76).

Middlesbrough (3-5-1-1): Darren Randolph; Paddy McNair, Aden Flint, Ryan Shotton; Jonny Howson, Lewis Wing, John Obi Mikel, Mo Besic, George Saville; Ashley Fletcher; Britt Assombalonga. Unused: Dimi Konstantopoulos, Jordan Hugill, Rudy Gestede, Djed Spence.

Subs: Stewart Downing (for Fletcher, 76), Adam Clayton (for Besic, 82), Marcus Tavernier (for Wing, 85).

Goals: Assombalonga pen 28, Obi Mikel 38 (Boro); Smith pen 86 (Rotherham).

Referee: Andy Madley (West Yorkshire).

Attendance: 11,051 (2,608).