James Shield's Match Analysis: How Sheffield United's visit to Rotherham United unfolded

Sheffield United twice surrendered the lead at New York Stadium as Jamie Proctor's finish in added time ensured this afternoon's derby against Rotherham ended all-square.

Saturday, 24th November 2018, 2:46 pm
Updated Saturday, 24th November 2018, 2:49 pm
Sheffield United visited Rotherham this afternoon

Mark Duffy's first-half strike appeared to have set Chris Wilder's side on course for the win that would have taken them back to the top of the Championship. But first Jon Taylor and then Proctor, after Chris Basham had pounced during the closing stages, saw the hosts claim the point Paul Warne insisted the deserved.

Key Moment: From United's perspective, it should have been Duffy's opener or Basham's late strike. Instead, it turned out to be Jamie Proctor's finish in injury time which ensured Rotherham secured the point manager Paul Warne will feel was the very least their performance warranted. Still, some poor decision-making and equally poor defending contributed to the former Preston North End and Fleetwood Town centre-forward's goal. Before that, a series of impressive saves from Henderson had kept United in the game though.

Key Man: Had Henderson not made a series of important and impressive saves, then United would have lost this game. Duffy and Basham wrote their names on the scoresheet for the visitors but it was their goalkeeper, who, powerless to prevent either of Rotherham's strikes, ensured Wilder's men took something from this game. 

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

How the Game was Drawn: When John Egan was declared fit and available for selection after recovering from the calf injury he suffered on international duty, Wilder responded exactly how you would expect; by naming the same team and employing the same system which has served United well over the past two-and-a-half seasons. Paul Warne, though, made a couple of tweaks to both Rotherham's starting eleven and tactical template. Those alterations caused the visitors a few problems. As did some well-taken set-pieces. But it was Rotherham's refusal to play a supporting role during this derby, combined with United's inability to gain total control of the fixture, which ultimately decided its outcome. Oh, and Henderson's excellence.

Referee Watch: Peter Bankes went about his business with the minimum of fuss and, barring the one or two contentious moments you would expect, made exactly the right call most times he was called upon. His assistants, Timothy Wood and Jonathan Hunt, helped out on occasion too. Played hard but fair and in the right spirit, this was not a difficult match to referee. But Bankes should be satisfied with his afternoon's work. 

Summary: Not for the first time this season, United were reminded what can happen when you fail to translate pressure into goals. Rotherham started the match well and controlled the vast majority of the second-half as well. But after Duffy had laid the platform with his delightful solo effort, United had enough of the ball and applied enough pressure to have stretched their advantage and render Taylor's strike nothing more than a consolation. Billy Sharp suffered from a dearth of service but David McGoldrick had a close range effort scrambled clear just before the interval. The striker will claim, with some justification, that he was unfortunate. But he should have scored. Had Henderson not brought his 'A' game then United, who were also wasteful in possession, would not have been in a position to take the lead when Basham bundled home. Proctor restored parity in added time after a catalogue of errors. Both of United's goals were well-crafted but they were sloppy in possession and that, combined with Rotherham's drive and purpose, meant the substitute's error proved so costly. Both Wilder and Warne had cause for complaint afterwards. For very different reasons.