5 talking points from Rotherham’s 1-1 draw with Bolton

Rotherham have now gone six games without a win after they drew 1-1 with Bolton.

Will Vaulks put them ahead with a fine free-kick but they were pegged back with five minutes remaining as Christian Doidge fired home.

Here are the talking points from the game.

 

A familiar tale

It is a lesson as old as time for Rotherham in the Championship, but they never seem to learn. They failure to take chances has cost them on so many occasions in this division and it did do again against a poor Bolton outfit. The game should have been done and dusted by the time Doidge equalised in the 85th minute. Semi Ajayi, Kyle Vassell, Michael Smith (x3), Jon Taylor and Ryan Williams all had chances to score and at least two of them should have been converted.

Dropped points at home

As well as Rotherham have been playing at home – and they are now unbeaten in five at the AESSEAL New York Stadium – their return of three points from their last three games there is disappointing given their performances. They squandered a two-goal lead against Stoke, missed chances against Bristol City and then failed to put Bolton to bed, making it six points dropped. And when that is your only source of points that is likely to prove costly.

Unplayable Smith

If ever a performance deserved a goal then it was Michael Smith’s. He was a brilliant lone striker for the Millers against experienced Bolton defender’s and arguably put in his best display of the season. His hold-up play was immaculate, he won his aerial battles and he was a threat in front of goal. Boss Paul Warne reckoned their wouldn’t have been a better number 9 performance across the Championship this weekend and it is hard to argue. He came within inches of ending a 10-game drought with a superb curling effort that crashed into the woodwork, while he also had two other good chances. His finishing is continues to be the difference between him and a real top striker, but then he probably wouldn’t be at Rotherham.

Set-piece delight

It is no secret that Rotherham’s main threat this season is from set-pieces and that was again the source of their goal. It was a brilliant free-kick from Will Vaulks, who smashed a low effort into the bottom corner from 25 yards and followed it up with his trademark somersault. It was the club’s 10th league goal this season and eight of them are now from dead balls. They should have had more as Semi Ajayi and Kyle Vassell both missed scoreable headers in the first half.

Against Bolton, however, they actually created more chances from open play, 10 in total, and that was considerably better than their opponents. However, it was only some lacklustre finishing and a bit of bad luck that they didn’t find the net.

From the notebook

– The joy of realising referee Tim Robinson – the villain of Hillsborough in 2016 – was replaced by John Brooks was short-lived. Brooks was a whistle-happy official, inconsistent throughout and frustrated the Millers. He made two big penalty decisions and got only one of them right. Unsurprisingly, Bolton boss Phil Parkinson reckoned the referee’s performance was “excellent”.

– There can be no complaints with the decision to award Bolton a penalty early in the second half. It was a clumsy piece of defending by Richard Wood. Warne summed up how everyone in New York was feeling when he said: “Me and Rich were shouting at the same time, ‘No, no, don’t touch him, don’t him, oh for god’s sake he touched him’. I knew that was going to happen.”

– Luckily for Wood, his goalkeeper got him out of the mire with a brilliant save. Rodak leapt superbly to his left to palm away Josh Magennis’ effort. It was another impressive performance by the Slovakian who is going from strength to strength.

– Joe Mattock, who has been impressive this season, failed to adhere to defending rule number one. Don’t let the ball bounce. As soon as he did and Clayton Donaldson pounced, there was a sense of inevitability about what was going to happen.

– Was there anything more certain than Doidge being the one to score the equaliser for Bolton. Not only was it his first goal for Wanderers, it was also against the club that tried to sign him for the entire summer of 2017. Warne was a big fan of the former Forest Green striker and tried to bring him to the club.

 

 

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