A STUNNING equaliser from Ryan Taylor enabled Rotherham United to overcome a second half penalty miss by Adam Le Fondre and secure a well earned point last night.
Behind from the 17th minute, Rotherham laid siege to the Torquay goal in the second half and should have levelled just before the hour only for Le Fondre to see his spot kick brilliantly saved by Danny Potter.
It seemed all their pressure might be in vain but Taylor’s excellent finish from just outside the area was fully deserved and they were so close to a winner.
With three minutes left, Ryan Taylor’s effort hit the inside of a post, rolled agonisingly along the line and was thumped clear by former Millers favourite Guy Branston.
The Millers made one change with Liam Henderson ‘rewarded’ for his impact as a sub in the win at Burton by getting a starting place at the expense of Omar Daley.
There were only six substitutes, Callum Kennedy travelled down with the squad on Monday but was taken ill yesterday with a virus and wasn’t well enough to be on the bench.
The Millers, making their second trip to Devon having seen the original fixture called off, almost made a sensational start and nearly opened the scoring after 20 seconds.
Law drilled a diagonal ball from the right, Ryan Taylor flicked on and Marshall was in space on the left and inside the area.
He spurned the chance of a shot, took on his man, cut the ball across from the byline and only a last ditch interception by Robertson prevented Ryan Taylor from finishing off.
When Torquay had the ball in the net, Branston had strayed offside before heading the ball across.
The Millers had opened in lively fashion but once again - for the seventh successive away game in fact - they found themselves behind and chasing things.
There was a touch of fortune for the home side because Chris Zebroski’s cross took a deflection off Mullins and looped towards the far post where Newey was almost under the bar as he got his head on it to prevent a goal. The clearance dropped away and O’Kane closed in to drill a low shot into the far corner.
Ryan Taylor had a shot diverted behind before Rotherham suffered a blow on 24 minutes when central defender Mullins was led off, walking groggily, after a blow to the head. Ashworth went on.
Rotherham had an escape when Kee slipped round Ashworth and forced a fine save from Warrington. As the ball looped away, Robinson closed in for the kill and missed his kick completely!
Then brilliant goalkeeping denied the Millers.
Marshall moved in from the left across the face of bthe area and struck a fierce effort which looked a goal all the way before Potter brilliantly touched it onto the underside of the bar.
A vital intervention by Branston six yards out rescued Torquay from a Law-Henderson link before the Millers should have levelled 35 seconds after half-time but Henderson failed to convert Le Fondre’s cutback from close range.
The pattern was familiar from recent away games with Rotherham having to chase it against a home side in front and defending determinedly but on 59 minutes came the Le Fondre penalty miss after Marshall, having broken clear, had his ankle tapped by Robertson from behind. The winger was in the process of shooting, the effort going wide, but the referee awarded the penalty and booked Robertson.
But heads didn’t drop, pressure mounted and with 17 minutes left, Coid played the ball forward, Robertson stumbled, and Taylor muscled his way into possession and then struck a superb left foot volley on the turn from 20 yards beyond the keeper’s right hand and in front of the joyous Millers fans numbering just under 100.
Rotherham hungrily hunted the winner and Le Fondre’s overhead kick brushed a post.
The Millers were so close to that winner three minutes from time when, with Torquay under fierce pressure again, Ryan Taylor’s shot was touched onto the inside of the post, bounced along the goalline and was cleared off it by Branston.
As Rotherham piled on the pressure, the home side hung on desperately, the last kick being an effort put wide by Ashworth.