- English Football League - Championship
- Wednesday, October 3rd 2018
- AESSEAL New York Stadium
James Crawley reports from AESSEAL New York Stadium
Report: Rotherham United 0-0 Bristol City
Wednesday, October 3rd 2018
City hit the woodwork twice as they recorded a midweek 0-0 draw away to Rotherham United.
The Millers proved an attacking threat from the off with City warming into the tie and Niki Mäenpää made a number of smart stops to keep a clean sheet at the New York Stadium.
City improved after the break with Marley Watkins hitting the post, before Jamie Paterson’s finesse shot bounced back off the crossbar.
The result, the Robins’ second draw in a row, sees them occupy 10th spot in the Sky Bet Championship.
Up front, Famara Diédhiou returned to the starting XI ahead of Matty Taylor - Lee Johnson’s only change to the side which kicked-off against Aston Villa last Friday. Zak Vyner, who is on loan in South Yorkshire, was ineligible to feature against his parent club.
City on the back foot
The visitors were forced to soak up a certain amount of early pressure after Diédhiou almost slid in Andreas Weimann, but for the outstretched leg to block from a Millers defender.
Lloyd Kelly has his own defensive duties to take of when he knocked the ball away from the advancing Michael Smith, before Mäenpää was able to deal with the danger.
Judging by the initial exchanges, City would need to be clinical on the counter and Weimann nearly played Diédhiou in behind the Millers backline, but for Will Vaulks last-ditch tackle. The Senegal striker took a tumble under the challenge, as City appealed for a free kick on the edge of the box, but the forward was quickly back on his feet.
Ryan Williams headed wide as the home side took control of possession but it was City who did have the ball in the back of the net first. It came as Diédhiou guided a volley beyond Marek Rodak from Josh Brownhill’s first-time cross but the official’s flag was raised for offside.
Joe Newell tried the spectacular, as he flicked the ball his marker and struck a volley wide, via a deflection. It would have been some individual goal but they continued the pressure with the resulting set piece, which found the unmarked Smith, who blazed his fierce effort wide.
Jack Hunt was then well-placed to cut out a dangerous cross from Jon Taylor, before Mäenpää showed smart reactions to parry a Vaulks header at his near post.
City finally looked the have more about them as half-time approached and Diédhiou nearly found Brownhill through the centre, but the ball was always getting away from the advancing midfielder as Rodak raced off his line to smother the ball.
More attack after the break
Both sides had attack in mind as they entered the pitch for the second half and the hosts went close to breaking the deadlock when Smith headed over the bar, before a double substitution from Johnson.
On came Watkins and Taylor, to replace Niclas Eliasson and Callum O’Dowda, respectively. With what appeared to be a forward three, Diédhiou struck City’s first real chance direct on goal, forcing Rodak into a comfortable save, before Watkins’ low driven effort had the keeper at full stretch to tip away his shot.
It was more promising from City and not long after it was Hunt throwing himself forward. He burst into space down the right-wing, before cutting inside and forcing a corner with a deflected left-footed shot in front of the travelling supporters.
At the other end, Ryan Manning tried a half volley from the edge of the area after good work from Williams to ghost forward, but Mäenpää was grateful for the tame effort which was hit straight at him.
Watkins goes close
Then came City’s greatest chance to open the scoring. Hunt headed the ball toward’s Diédhiou, whose flicked ball into the box touched a Rotherham defender on its way through to Watkins, ensuring the summer signing was onside. Rodak blocked as the Wales forward tried to guide the ball beyond him but he couldn’t get enough power on the ball. Watkins then looked destined to score but couldn’t head the ball over the line as it rebounded back his way, eventually hitting the post as Rotherham got back to defend.
But as one side tried to attack, so to did the other and the hosts came to within a glancing touch of going ahead. Ben Wiles hit a thunderous shot into the box and a number of Rotherham players looked to poke the ball into the net but Mäenpää got their first.
Paterson would be Johnson’s final roll of the dice with ten minutes remaining but with City looking to attack, a route-one ball almost caught them out; Williams raced on to Vaulks’ pass over the top but Mäenpää would not be beaten at his near post.
The Millers went close on more than one occasion towards the end though, as the City keeper dived but was grateful to see Manning’s late free kick curl the wrong side of his post, before he parried an angled-effort from Smith.
Crossbar denies a winner
The latter came after Paterson rattled the crossbar with a curling effort. Striker Taylor initially did well to lay the ball off to Brownhill, who found his teammate unmarked to his left, but the City number 20’s effort wouldn’t dip in time.
City return to league action when they host Sheffield Wednesday at Ashton Gate on Sunday (October 7th, 1.30pm).
- Joe Newell, Matthew Palmer
- Callum O'Dowda, Niclas Eliasson, Andreas Weimann