MATCH REPORT: Rotherham United 1 Crewe Alexandra 1

Well blocked: Ben Pringle has a shot stopped.  Picture: paul wickson
Well blocked: Ben Pringle has a shot stopped. Picture: paul wickson

THIS was the first of three successive home games for the Millers and no one needed reminding that they had to get a good return to stay in touch with the final Play-off place.

Well, against a Crewe side who sat back throughout, Rotherham did everything but win it but had only Lewis Grabban’s 16th goal of the season to show for their constant attacking efforts. It was no surprise that Ben Pringle, after Saturday’s impact, started whilst Danny Schofield began in behind Alex Revell in a 4-4-1-1 formation with Grabban and Pringle wide.

Crewe arrived with three central defenders and got a gift goal the first time they went into Rotherham’s penalty area after 15 minutes.

Keeper Rhys Taylor dealt with a back-pass, moved past Pearson but then a hurried clearance went straight to Moore 25 yards out. He was bundled over by Jason Taylor and Davis tucked home the penalty.

Before this a smart Rotherham move ended with Schofield crossing and Harrison’s 18 yarder flying over.

This is a different, more solid Crewe than the normal and having been grateful for their gift, were quick to pull men back and organise inviting Rotherham to break them down. They might have done so twice in quick succession.

Firstly Harrison, with Grabban having leapt in front of him, sent a close range header into the ground. Then Schofield slipped a pass through to find Grabban but Phillips hurtled off his line to block. Closest yet for the Millers came from one of several corners, Schofield’s inswinger was glanced by Harrison only for Westwood to clear off the line.

Rotherham began the second half as they ended the first, attacking hard.

A tremendous block from Dugdale prevented Revell turning in Schofield’s cross at the near post.

The familiar pattern continued but Rotherham’s equaliser on 63 minutes was a bit of a soft goal as well.

Bradley’s deep cross saw Revell challenge. The ball dropped towards the far post, there was hesitation between keeper Phillips and Tootle, and Grabban poked a leg between them to stab the ball into the net.

Taylor headed a good chance over, Pringle was denied a penalty when pushed as he lined up a shot and Revell, under pressure, headed over as Crewe hung on.

In the final minutes, Harrad had a shot blocked and a goalbound effort that appeared to strike a raised arm as the Millers claimed a penalty and they finished as they had spent most of the game and virtually all the second half - attacking the Crewe penalty area.

ROTHERHAM UNITED: R Taylor; Bradley, Raynes, Mullins, Wood; Schofield (Harrad 89), Harrison, J Taylor, Pringle; Revell, Grabban. Subs: Tonge, Cadogan, Warne, Warrington.

CREWE: Phillips; Tootle (Brown 67), Dugdale, Artell, Davis; Miller (Shelley 74), Westwood, Murphy, C Martin; Moore, Pearson (Leitch-Smith 77). Subs: A Martin, Turton.

Referee: Carl Sarginson (Staffs).

Attendance: 2,447

Goals: Davis (15) for Crewe; Grabban (63) for Rotherham.