Rotherham United 0-0 Ipswich Town - Half-Time
Saturday, 11th Aug 2018 16:05
The Blues’ first away game of the season at Rotherham remains 0-0 at half-time but with Town on top.
Toto Nsiala and Jon Nolan were handed their Blues debuts from the start with this week’s other new signing Kayden Jackson on the bench.
Nsiala, who joined from Shrewsbury in a joint-£2 million deal along with Nolan on Wednesday, was at centre-half with skipper Luke Chambers, while Janoi Donacien and Jonas Knudsen were the full-backs.
In midfield, Cole Skuse and Trevoh Chalobah filled the deeper roles with former Millers loanee Grant Ward back from suspension and on the left of the trio ahead of them instead of Freddie Sears, who dropped to the bench.
Gwion Edwards was on the right with Nolan in the centre and Ellis Harrison continuing as the lone striker. Rotherham included ex-Town keeper Lewis Price on their bench.
Prior to kick-off there was a minute’s applause for Barry Chuckle, a Rotherham life president and fan, and former club chairman Syd Wood, who both died this week.
Town threatened first in the second minute from a quickly taken Donacien throw on the right. The St Lucian found Edwards, who crossed low but Zak Vyner nipped in ahead of Harrison and the ball was subsequently turned behind for a corner. From the flag-kick, Nsiala volleyed well wide.
The Blues quickly went on the offensive again, Harrison escaping down the right and crossing for Nolan, whose shot from the edge of the box was deflected behind for a second corner.
Town continued to dominate the early stages and in the 10th minute Chalobah found Edwards with a superb crossfield pass. The Welshman took the ball into the area but lost his footing as he sought to turn his man, preventing what might have been a terrific goal.
The Blues should have gone in front in the 20th minute when an Nsiala freekick from inside his own half found Harrison, who held off his man and tried to take the ball round Millers’ keeper Marek Rodak, who thwarted the Welshman with an outstretched hand.
Town had dominated possession and controlled the game with all the chances at the Rotherham end. The only occasional moments of concern for the Blues were largely self-inflicted but with Bartosz Bialkowski still untested.
In the 23rd minute Nolan felt he should have been awarded a penalty when he cut in from the left and appeared to be brought down by one-time Town trialist Semi Ajayi. But referee David Webb, who had failed to give one or two earlier clear freekicks much the annoyance of both sets of fans, wasn’t interested. The Blues new number 11 looked to have a very decent case.
A minute later, from a deep corner from the right, Edwards smashed an overhead kick against a defender.
Town kept pressing and as the half hour approached Donacien hit a powerful strike from the edge of the box which Ajayi diverted over the bar.
Rotherham began to see more of the ball as the half moved into its final 10 minutes but still without creating an opportunity.
On 38 Knudsen sold Chambers short with a pass allowing Kyle Vassell to send away Jon Taylor down the right but Nsiala got across to dispossess the Millers’ midfielder and cleared.
Three minutes later, Edwards dispossessed the hesitant Joe Mattock on the right but played his pass to Harrison too far in front of the striker. A minute later, Matt Palmer was fouled for tripping Ward as he burst into the home side’s half.
In the 44th minute, after good work from Nolan, Chalobah cleverly threaded in Knudsen on the left of the box but keeper Rodak did well to save the Danish international’s save down to his left.
Rotherham managed their first shot on target in the final scheduled minute of the half but Taylor’s deflected strike following Vyner’s long thrown bounced harmlessly through to Bialkowski.
There was just time for one more Town corner, which Rodak claimed, before an entertaining half was brought to an end.
The Blues had had much the better of it, dominating possession, and really ought to have gone in ahead having created virtually all the chances.
Harrison’s one-on-one was the best opportunity, while it also took an impressive save from Rodak to stop Knudsen’s late effort. Nolan’s penalty claim also looked very credible.
At the other end, occasional moments of Town indecision had largely led to the few occasions on which the Millers had threatened, but Bialkowski hadn’t been forced into a serious save.
Manager Paul Hurst will want more of the same in the second half but with the addition of a goal or two.
Town: Bialkowski, Donacien, Nsiala, Chambers (c), Knudsen, Skuse, Chalobah, Edwards, Nolan, Ward, Harrison. Subs: Gerken, Jackson, Spence, Roberts, Sears, Edun, Kenlock.
Rotherham: Rodak, Vyner, Mattock, Vaulks, Ajayi, Wood (c), Palmer, Taylor, Vassell, Newell, Smith. Subs: Price, Forde, Ball, Williams, Wiles, Raggett, Jones. Referee: David Webb (Lancashire).
Photo: Action Images
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