Stoke City 2 Rotherham United 2: Millers battle back to take fight into last rounds

After 29 minutes of Rotherham United's visit to Stoke the game looked dead and buried.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 12 April, 2019, 20:53
Matt Crooks

The Millers were trailing 2-0 to two goals in two minutes and they looked on course for another away defeat – one which would be seriously damaging in their bid for Championship survival.

'Announce relegation' was the message from fans on social media.

But after 90 the Millers were scratching their heads as to how they did not come away with three points following a brilliant second-half revival.

Goals from Michael Smith and Matt Crooks brought them level, but it was only the heroics of England goalkeeper Jack Butland that stopped Paul Warne's men earning a priceless win.

Butland, who earlier kept out a Clark Robertson header with a fine save, produced a world-class stop to deny Crooks, who also had an effort cleared off the line.

Coming from 2-0 down to earn a point should never be sniffed at, especially when you are Rotherham in the Championship, but Warne could not help but think about what might have been.

“It is a little bit bitter sweet, I feel it was a good opportunity to win a game, we came to win,” he said.

“I thought we were the better team. I’m biased I know but for the first 25 minutes we were excellent, and their first goal was definitely against the run of play.

“Our goalkeeper has made one save I think the whole day and obviously Butland has made a few more and the fact that he got man of the match against us, I think that sums it up.

“I felt that our lads were excellent, they kept going and tried desperately to get the win that we need but unfortunately it wasn’t to be for us.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

After an initial could start for the Millers, things at the Bet365 Stadium went south very quickly as two goals in two minutes looked to have set Stoke up for a win, with Sam Vokes and Sam Clucas doing the damage.

Michael Smith got the visitors back in it with a header from a corner 11 minutes after the restart, with Crooks tapping home the leveller 16 minutes later.

The onslaught came in the final 20 minutes, and although the Millers could not find a way past Butland, they will be confident they can climb out of the bottom three in the final four games.

Millwall's late draw at Sheffield United did not help their cause, nor did Reading's win over Brentford, but this is a fight that is going to go to the last round.

Stoke: Butland; Williams, Shawcross, Batth, Indi (Verlinden 87), McClean, Allen, Etebo, Clucas, Krkic (Afobe 62), Vokes (Adam 87)

Unused subs: Federici, Bauer, Diouf, Woods

Rotherham: Rodak, Vyner, Ihiekwe, Robertson, Mattock, Ajayi, Forde (Newell 69), Vaulks, Towell (Crooks 58), Taylor (Williams 68), Smith

Unused subs: Price, Wood, Vassell, Wiles

Attendance: 24,250

Referee: Andy Woolmer