Rowe’s praise for young guns' attitude
Posted: Friday, December 11th 2020
Saturday, December 12th 2020
City endured a frustrating afternoon as Rotherham United pressed their way to a 2-0 win at the AESSEAL New York Stadium.
The Millers were the better side overall with City off the pace against a physical Rotherham side who found the beating of City from the wide areas.
Dean Holden had touched on their set-piece threat and found his side behind inside the fourth minute when Matt Crooks headed in from a free kick.
It was minutes before the end of the first half when they struck again, this time striker Michael Smith got himself ahead of Zak Vyner on his return to Rotherham, to tap the ball into the net and double the host’s lead.
Famara Diédhiou came off the bench and went closest when he forced Viktor Johansson into a low save, but the Millers had frustrated the visitors all afternoon with the Robins struggling to get a foothold on the game.
And despite the experienced second-half substitutions, City would head back to Bristol pointless.
Holden named an unchanged XI for their trip to the New York Stadium, as Holden chased what could have been a second, consecutive win in the Sky Bet Championship.
But their task was made all the harder in a disappointing start to the game. Rotherham, making themselves known for their presence from set pieces, delivered again as quickly as the fourth minute with a free kick.
Captain Tomas Kalas was caught on the ball and conceded a foul from which Dan Barlaser would whip in the resulting free kick. It was perfect delivery however, and it was guided into the net by the head of Crooks.
City soon had a free kick of their own but stopper Johansson was equal to Wells’ shot, while Bakinson fired over as the Robins tried to find a way into the game.
But Rotherham were a fighting force and they hit back to frustrate City with a low save from Dan Bentley denying Smith as the hosts threated a second.
At the other end, Antoine Semenyo drilled a shot wide and after a break in play with Johansson requiring treatment, it was all near-enough one-way traffic before the interval as the Millers put the visitors on the backfoot.
They had loud cries for a penalty dismissed when referee Leigh Doughty judged Tommy Rowe – already on a yellow card – had got enough on the ball as he challenged Matt Olosunde.
But Rotherham United had been looking for the long passes, getting in behind and balls into the box at every opportunity and their gameplan worked with a second goal shortly before half-time. Olosunde was involved again as he managed a cross while in acres of space from the right and its target Smith steered the ball under Bentley.
Chasing the game, Head Coach Holden made a double change at the break as Jack Hunt and Vyner made way for Adrian Mariappa and Diédhiou.
Their experience would give City the chance to try and manage the game, find a way back into it but still the Millers fought to frustrate and City’s passing needed to be better on occasion. But when they did build an attack, Diédhiou was nearly the man on the scoresheet for the second game in a row.
It came after good build-up play with Semenyo sliding a ball into Wells who opted to flick the ball back into the path of Diédhiou and City’s number nine struck low which was matched by Johansson.
But with City struggling overall, Holden looked for more experience when Chris Brunt replaced Tyreeq Bakinson just after the hour-mark.
A tangle between Ben Wiles and Diédhiou and later a touch on the back of Semenyo’s legs led to half-hearted penalty appeals for the Robins but the referee dismissed both, as the game entered its latter stages.
But the Robins were running out of steam and came close to conceding a third when Jamie Lindsay burst through and hit a deflected cross which Wiles steered wide.
Han-Noah Massengo and Opi Edwards then came on for Nagy and Semenyo, respectively, as Holden tried to find a way into the game but Bentley was called into action as the Millers threat continued. The City keeper did well to turn away Barlaser’s fierce free kick, while Smith’s header from the resulting corner was a more comfortable catch.
Wells had one final chance in stoppage time but he misguided a header which sailed wide in a result which would see City slip to seventh, one point outside the play-off spots.
Holden will now gear up his players for Tuesday’s return to Ashton Gate where City will face Millwall (December 15th, 7.45pm KO). The match will be streamed live on Robins TV, with passes available to buy for just £10. The pre-math coverage will start at 7.15pm.
Photography by JMPUK.