An away game in South Yorkshire against already relegated Rotherham United was the tip on good Friday for Blues. A win is a must, to stave relegation with Wigan & Blackburn surely going down. An unchanged squad from the team that narrowly but disappointingly lost to Derby County last weekend. Just one change for the Millers. Can Rotherham end a 10 match losing streak, or will the boys in royal blue carry it on?
A good few chances took Blues to a high in the early exchanges, Jutkiewitcz was on form for the first sort of seven to eight minutes. It was a scrappy game, if you were a neutral you’d guess the two sides were in trouble. Two early corners conceded both by Joe Mattock but nothing came from them. On the flip side, the home team then had a few minutes on the ball and the visitors had to weather the storm which they did!
A slight delay in play 22′ but once the game continued, Gardner strikes an effort which was saved; Blues’ first real opportunity. Players from either side were making fouls, giving away sloppy free-kicks… Blues so desperate; Jutkiewitz dived and received a yellow card! Neither Rotherham or Blues could break the deadlock.
The second half started as the first half ended. David Davis giving away a free kick, but luckily from bottom club Rotherham’s perspective it came to nothing. Another blues man in the referee’s book, Krystian Bielik, who has had a good start to life in a Blues shirt on loan from Arsenal. Danny Ward’s attempt from the free kick was blocked and cleared. Kerim Frei replaced Paul Robinson as he has done in the previous three games and that substitution did spark a bit of creativity which Blues had needed, not just all game but practically all season. He won a free kick seconds after arriving on the left wing, that came to nothing. Carlton Morris, a bright light in the home team had been testing Tomascz Kuszczak and confined to do so until he was subbed off in the 77th minute, which was just after Blues took the lead. The sub Kerim Frei scoring a pitch perfect free kick. Delight in the away end as the boys in royal blue took a 0-1 lead… Top left corner!
For eight minutes the travelling fans from the West Midlands were in wonderland, that goal could just save the Blues from relegation, but Rotherham’s top scorer Danny Ward found a gap in the back three and took advantage with a low struck right-footed shot which crept its way into the bottom left corner. 1-1 and a small speck of quality from the Millers no. 9 gave the home fans something to shout about, already in the knowledge that they’ll be playing back in the League one next season.
No quality shown in the remaining five minutes because it ended 1-1. After Frei released the magic in the 73rd minute, Ward releases more but for the home side five minutes from time… No joy and the hunt for Zola’s third win goes on. 19th and just four points from safety and with Burton Albion at home on bank holiday Monday, that is the must win. The West Midlands Derby to follow next weekend, Aston Villa away… Surely we can’t see our bitter rivals relegate us? When is the Zola reign going to end is the question many Blues fans are asking themselves.
Watch our #FanCam from the game below:
Team lineups – Rotherham:
RB: Fisher , CB: Semi Ajayi , CB: Wood , LB: Mattock
RM: Taylor , CM; Vaulks , CM: Smallwood , LM: Newell
RS: Morris , LS: Ward
RCB: Bielik , CB: Shotton , CB: Robinson
RWB: Nsue , RCM: Davis , CM: Tesche , LCM: Gardner
Possession – Rotherham: 49% , Blues: 51%
Shots – Rotherham: 12 , Blues: 13
Shots on Target – Rotherham: 3 , Blues:4
Corners – Rotherham: 3 , Blues: 4
Fouls made – Rotherham: 17 , Blues: 10