Town: Chris Weale, Connor Goldson, Joe Jacobson (c), Darren Jones, Ryan Woods, Jon Taylor, Luke Summerfield, Paul Parry (McAllister, 87), Aaron Wildig, Tom Bradshaw, Adam Reach
Substitutes: Joe Anyon, Kaiman Anderson, Graham Burke, Alex McQuade
Rotherham United: Scott Shearer, Mark Bradley, Craig Morgan (c), Kari Arnason, Joe Skarz, Kieran Agard (Milsom, 66), Micheal O’Connor, Lee Frecklington, Ben Pringle, Alex Revell, Matt Tubbs (Nardiello, 66)
Substitutes: Adam Collin, Richard Brindley, Claude Davis, David Noble, Michael Tidser
Referee: Dean Whitestone
Assistants: Nick Greenhalgh & Ryan Johnson
Fourth Official: Mark Jones
Attendance: 7,234 (428 from Shrewsbury)
Martin Wild reports from the New York Stadium
Shrewsbury got their first away point this afternoon after a pulsating clash at Rotherham’s impressive New York Stadium. Town twice led with a goal in each half from Jon Taylor and Tom Bradshaw. But Steve Evans’ side – who trailed at the break – fought back well to earn a share of the spoils with Alex Revell and substitute Daniel Nardiello both on target for the unbeaten Millers. But Nardiello’s day ended in controversy when he received a second caution moments after the end of four minutes of additional time.
Town were forced to make changes for the game following last week’s win over Swindon. Akwasi Asante’s recall by parent club Birmingham opened the door again for Bradshaw who was recalled after his goal from the bench against The Robins. And with Tamika Mkandawire down in London preparing for the birth of his first child, Connor Goldson moved into the centre of defence with Ryan Woods taking over the vacant right back slot for a first ever start in League football.
Rotherham got the game under way in this fantastic arena and were attacking the end populated by around 500 travelling Salopians.
With barely 40 seconds on the clock some of the home supporters were up celebrating a ‘goal’ but the ball had rippled the side of the net closest to Chris Weale’s right hand post. All the same, Lee Frecklington’s daisy cutter of a volley was a decent strike and came very close to giving the Millers the dream start.
After 20 minutes, Shrewsbury took the lead with a smashing goal and you had to give credit to the referee Dean Whitestone.
Taylor began the move with a lovely jinking run from inside his own half and fed Paul Parry. Parry was fouled when he cut inside but the match official waved play on and once Luke Summerfield had picked out a slide rule pass to play Parry in again, his precision cross to the back post was confidently nodded into the bottom corner by Taylor finishing off the move he had started.
Town’s fans away to our right were in fine voice having seen their side score their first away goal of the season. Rotherham’s fans by comparison, were audibly dissatisfied with their side’s performance with the Millers creating very few openings and Salop contesting well in all areas of the park.
The home side went close on the half hour with Weale called into action for the first time and he had to be at his best to hold onto Kieran Agard’s low angled shot.
Taylor looked like he was enjoying himself in that role off the main striker. Plainly buoyed by the goal he was always looking to make the runs in behind and looked threatening every time he advanced to the edge of United’s box. Summerfield was also having a decent game in the centre and Woods looked really comfortable in his unaccustomed role at full back.
In another lightning quick Town counter, Bradshaw nearly got Taylor in but his pass wasn’t the best and Taylor ran the ball too far which allowed Scott Shearer to rush from his line to smother. Parry lashed another one wide as Town continued to ask the bulk of the questions and Rotherham still struggling to impose themselves on the game.
Taylor forced Shearer into a smart tip over with a 25 yard piledriver five minutes before the break and Parry’s corner was a bit too deep for Darren Jones to contest properly. To compound the Millers misery, skipper Craig Morgan was yellow carded for a tug on Bradshaw’s shirt in an act of sheer frustration and his protests fell on deaf ears.
Half Time: Rotherham United 0 Town 1
Rotherham were hungrier at the resumption and Agard missed a glorious chance from close range after a smart knock down from Alex Revell. Weale would have been grateful to have had the ball safely in his arms when it ought to have been in the net. But Revell would soon be making his own mark on the game.
Bradshaw made Shearer work on 55 minutes with the keeper going full length to push the ball behind and within 60 seconds United were back on terms. Revell smashed an angled drive beyond Weale with the Town stopper powerless to keep it out. It certainly cranked up the decibel levels in this part of South Yorkshire – a mere stone’s throw from the Millers former home, Millmoor.
The positivity around the place soon disappeared when Town went back in front again after 62 minutes. Woods did well to hold up the ball on the near touchline and fed Taylor who again set off across the 18 yard line. When he reached the ‘D’ he fed Summerfield whose precision aim for the bottom corner was only thwarted by Shearer’s left arm, but there was Bradshaw perfectly positioned to gobble up the scraps from close range and send the away fans into delirium once more.
The lead this time lasted all of seven minutes. Just two minutes after replacing Matt Tubbs, Daniel Nardiello headed home a free-kick with what must have been his first touch. The ball squirmed through Weale’s fingers but it would have been harsh in the extreme to criticise the goalkeeper with the header low down, directly at him and from point blank range. Weale though, would have been disappointed to concede but might have been better protected by his defenders from the set piece routine.
Taylor was booked for changing his boots just inside the touchline and with just quarter of an hour left this game could have gone either way with a raucous atmosphere reverberating around the stadium. Pringle stung the finger tips of Weale from outside the box as Rotherham intensified their efforts in a bid to preserve their unbeaten start. They had fought back well on two occasions and another goal for either side might well have proved decisive.
As it was, both sides had to be content with a point apiece and on the balance of play, a share of the spoils was probably the right outcome on the day.
After the whistle was blown goalscorer Nardiello appeared to receive a second yellow card and a red followed, but with the referee surrounded by players it was difficult to ascertain exactly what had happened with the most likely suggestion that the player had talked himself into trouble for a second time.
Full Time: Rotherham United 2 Town 2