THE trip along the Silk Road to Moss Rose was anything but smooth for the Millers but they eked out a point on an afternoon of much effort and endeavour with a bit of frustration thrown in too.
They couldn’t break down a Macclesfield side who grafted and worked hard to deny them and there were few clearcut chances at either end.
The major threats tended to come from outside the area with nothing better or closer than the 89th minute effort from Millers’ sub Brett Williams when he saw his thunderous 25 yarder shudder the bar. For the Millers it was a second successive clean sheet and the first one away from home since the 6-0 win at Lincoln last March, thus making it a first away clean sheet under manager Andy Scott.
There was a painful welcome back to his former club for Gareth Evans. Out for a month, he got a recall to the side and in the opening couple of minutes got a whack from Diagne’s clumsy challenge and needed treatment on his ankle.
With the stiff wind behind them in the first half, it was a surprise when Schofield elected not to have a strike from around 25 yards when he had space and a bouncing ball. His attempt to find Wood was diverted to safety.
Harley did exactly what Schofield might have done when a clearance bounced towards him 35 yards out and he struck a left foot volley which was dipping under the bar until Veiga touched it over.
Revell was next to realise there could be some likely value in having a go with the wind behind it. His shot on the turn from 25 yards had Veiga diving away to hang on.
Otherwise the Millers found it hard to create opportunities against dogged, hard working opposition whose defensive record in recent times is pretty decent and they have also conceded only seven at home, second-meanest at home in the division.
When a Rotherham chance did come it was through keeper Veiga and Brisley colliding as they went for Tonge’s centre. The keeper dropped the ball, it bounced away and Revell spotted the opportunity to lift the ball towards goal. However, he got to much on it and the ball dropped over the bar as Veiga scrambled back anxiously.
It was a set-piece that produced their best first half opening. Shortly after Daniel had thumped in a 25 yarder that Logan beat away, the same Macc player closed on a Hamshaw corner but sent his header over the top.
With the home side now going with the wind, Rotherham’s defensive resolve would surely be tested at set-pieces and they had a long throw and a corner to confront in the opening 90 seconds of the half with Harrison making a particularly imnportant header from the corner.
Then Rotherham almost scored in their first threat of the half. The ball was worked across to Wood, his centre saw Grabban’s glancing header plucked out of the air by Veiga to prevent it arrowing inside the far post.
As the game began to open up, Macc could well have led when Daniel cut the ball back to the centre of the area but Donnelly’s shot was half-blocked by Mullins and Logan collected.
It was one of the final acts for Mullins who was led away looking groggy suffering from double vision although he was uncertain how it happened. Brown replaced him.
Rotherham were able to construct their attacking play a bit better this half and when Grabban’s shot was blocked it rolled to Schofield 25 yards out and he struck a fierce drive which Veiga dived to parry and Brisley got to the loose ball first.
It was looking increasingly like first goal winner and from another Bateson long throw, Tonge made a vital clearance after Brown flicked on.
Donnelly headed a decent chance wide from a Hamshaw corner but Rotherham, with Raynes prominent, generally looked solid enough.
Grabban’s shot from distance had Veiga saving by his post but nothing was closer or better than the late effort from Williams.
* MACCLESFIELD: Veiga 8, Bateson 6, Brown 7, Brisley 7, Tremarco 6 (Fairhurst 80), Hamshaw 7, Draper 6, Wedgbury 8, Daniel 6, Diagne 6, Donnelly 6, Unused: Morgan, Mendy, Hewitt, Fisher.
* ROTHERHAM: Logan 6, Tonge 7, Raynes 8, Mullins 6 (Brown 55), Harley 7, Evans 6 (Williams 80), Harrison 7, Schofield 6, Wood 7, Revell 6, Grabban 6. Unused: Warrington, Taylor, Marshall.
* Referee: Scott Mathieson (Stockport)