Millers FT: Rotherham United 1, Walsall 1

Wes Thomas tangles with James Chambers
Wes Thomas tangles with James Chambers
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Yet another last-gasp goal extended Rotherham United’s unbeaten record to 12 games, after a 1-1 draw with Walsall at the New York Stadium.

It meant that, at the start of this game, the Millers were 11 points behind second place which, in anybody’s language, is a big gap.

Walsall, who were set up 4-2-3-1, have a reputation as one of the best passing teams in this division and in the 1-1 draw back in September they kept possession very well indeed.

And, on that evidence, it was no surprise that they have been amongst the play-off challengers.

However, the Millers would be looking to extend their current run of eight without a win and the home side had an early shout for a penalty when Thomas was bundled over by James Chambers.

Then Frecklington went on a surging run from deep in his own half. He got to just outside the Walsall area, found Pringle and a fine centre saw Revell send his header off target.

Wes Thomas loses out to Adam Chambers

Wes Thomas loses out to Adam Chambers

It had been a fairly quiet opening with no real threat to either goal when Walsall went in front on 18 minutes with a smartly-worked goal.

Initially Frecklington seemed to win the ball cleanly but a foul was given. The free-kick went short to Adam Chambers who was allowed far too much time to decide what he wanted to do.

He picked out Westcarr who had pulled short centrally and then a sharp ball through the heart of the defence saw LALKOVIC angle his run from the left in behind and get away his shot in off the left hand post.

Rotherham were having no joy so far with Butler and James Chambers winning in the air and the crowd were getting incensed - not to mention players and the management - that a few decisions were going against them.

Smallwood went into the book for bringing down Brandy, the winger on loan from Sheffield United, and the opening period had seen Rotherham as ineffective as in any home game first half so far.

Manager Steve Evans spent most of the half running out of his dug out, arms spread wide, complaining about another decision - but it could not mask the fact his side had done very little so far as an attacking force.

A Pringle free-kick saw Arnason’s header diverted wide by Butler. Pringle’s corner somehow evaded everyone across the six yard area.

Then Frecklington fired over from 20 yards after Pringle had a shot blocked as Rotherham threatened to get some momentum going.

Frecklington was fortunate to escape a booking when he toppled Brandy. Finally a decisive move ended with Pringle finding the overlapping Skarz but his centre saw James Chambers make a vital clearance behind at the near post.

It had not been one of Rotherham’s better first halves and, for the first time this season, they had shown signs of frustration when things hadn’t gone for them.

Going towards the North End, Rotherham needed to up their level and apply some sustained pressure and then they should have scored, when Revell was fouled. Pringle’s free-kick was perfect but Arnason just couldn’t get above it and sent his header over.

A good move involving Frecklington and pringle ended with Skarz in the area but his shot was a blocked.

It was looking better from the Millers when a flowing move ended with Frecklington striking a first time effort from 20 yards over the top.

The pressure was now on the visitors, and a long throw from Arnason was glanced on by Butler and Vuckic, beyond the far post, had his goalbound effort diverted behind by Taylor. From the corner, O’Donnell punched out and Frecklington lifted his 20 yard volley off target.

Then Walsall were reduced to ten men. Purkiss just did enough to impede Pringle as he went past him and the ref showed him a second yellow card. From O’Connor’s free-kick, O’Donnell went flying across goal to hold on - his first serious save.

The pattern now was Walsall packing their area and Rotherham piling forward looking for the equaliser.

Arnason’s long throw saw O’Donnell’s punch miscue and Adams sent a header bouncing wide.

With three minutes left, Rotherham’s pressure was rewarded with the equaliser.

Agard helped the ball on to ADAMS at an angle and he drove a fierce shot which glanced off Taylor and in off the bar. It was his first for the club, and extended their unbeaten run to 12 games with yet another late goal.