Goals dry up but Millers unbeaten run goes on

Kieran Agard battles to hold off Ryan Dickson
Kieran Agard battles to hold off Ryan Dickson
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Rotherham stretched their unbeaten run to ten matches and, in the process, also extended their remarkable sequence of being unbeaten in Tuesday night away games since August 2012 - also ten games!

It was another point towards their goal and further strengthened their place in the play-off places by extending their lead over the seventh placed club to 15 points.

But it was an undistinguished game, dogged opposition battling every inch of the way and not giving them much scope in the final third.

It was never short on effort and endeavour on a poor surface but there were few clear-cut chances. Rotherham, below par, had the better of the few noteworthy efforts.

A few minutes from time Lee Frecklington took a heavy blow to the face and went off looking groggy.

There was early action for the recalled Miles Addison who twice conceded corners in early home threat and he went on to have a solid game.

Millers danger saw Kieran Agard’s shot deflected and Ben Pringle’s goalbound follow-up effort desperately blocked.

It was a big contrast last week and Deepdale’s vibrant atmosphere, a quiet stadium (the 158th different one the Millers have played at in their history) with swathes of empty seats.

It was stop-start and error-strewn, and a set-piece saw the second opportunity.

Pringle’s corner was nodded down by Craig Morgan and Addison struck his shot wide of the near post. Colchester thought they’d gone ahead when Adam Collin didn’t hold a high centre and Sanchez Watt finished off but ref Brendan Malone had spotted a push on the keeper.

It looked marginal.

In the lead-up, Richie Smallwood had lost possession in his own half and manager Steve Evans rushed onto the touchline to give the midfielder a fearful rollicking and seemed to be indicating that if it happened again he’d be off.

That was ref Malone’s last action. Injured earlier, he was replaced by Fred Graham, from Essex, a Football League referee.

The first on-target effort at either end arrived in the 45th minute, Agard’s shot from the corner of the area held by Walker.

In first-half stoppage time, Agard - taking control on his chest - was knocked over from behind by the giant Okuonghae and Rotherham thought they had been denied a clear penalty. The way Evans dashed from the dug-out, arms spread wide, he certainly thought so!

It had been a scrappy affair, out of keeping with most of Rotherham’s games this season, with few openings.

There was a glimpse straight after the break when Agard’s acrobatic volley flashed over from a Frecklington cross.

More threat saw a Vuckic shot almost sneak under Walker who then held from Agard under the bar. As Rotherham stepped it up, Alex Revell took a Vuckic pass but Walker diverted the shot wide.

Rotherham had a real let-off midway through the half. For once, they were caught out at the back. Watt had a clear sight of goal and his effort struck the bar.

With Michael O’Connor following Nicky Adams on to the field, Rotherham showed they were going for the win.

Only a great challenge denied Frecklington eight yards out from Revell’s knockdown before Adams had a chance from Tavernier’s cross but volleyed over.