Rotherham Unied held to goalless draw with Bristol City

Millers Michael Smith plants a free header off target. Picture Tony Johnson.
Millers Michael Smith plants a free header off target. Picture Tony Johnson.

This was another sense of what might have been for Rotherham, even though it had no right to be.

The Millers notched a second home draw in five days, this time a 0-0 stalemate with Bristol City, coming hot on the heels of their 2-2 encounter with Stoke.

It came amid pre-match chaos that saw them robbed of seven injured or unavailable players, with skipper Richard Wood then pulling out of the warm-up.

But Paul Warne's men made a mockery of their troubles to put in a spirited and whole-hearted effort, though they could not find a goal that their first-half domination deserved.

With Michael Smith their only fit senior striker, it will have left Warne ruing his side's inability to put the ball in the back of the net.

They then weathered a storm after the break as City twice hit the woodwork to earn another valuable point, offering more evidence the Millers can compete in this division.

Warne's selection issues, which were compounded by Wood's late withdrawal, did not stop the Millers taking control and they had early chances.

Ryan Williams forced a low save from Niki Maenpaa and then headed wide.

After City's Josh Brownhill had a goal rightly ruled out for offside, Joe Newell came close to scoring a fine individual goal after lobbing the ball over a defender and then seeing his volley deflected wide.

Smith then put the resulting corner wide as the Millers missed out on a goal that their gallant first-half effort perhaps deserved.

Smith, who is playing through a groin injury, then missed another good chance after the restart when he headed over a pinpoint Newell cross when he maybe should have done better.

There was always a sense that the Millers needed a goal to show for their dominance, especially as the Robins enjoyed their best spell of the match.

Marley Watkins tested Marek Rodak for the first time with a low effort that the goalkeeper got down well to save before the Barnsley man somehow failed to put his side in front.

He managed to get some space in the box and his first effort was blocked by Rodak, his second was blocked by Matt Palmer and then the third hit the post.

The Millers were still battling and had moments of promise, with another half-chance falling to Smith, before the woodwork saved them again as Jamie Paterson's effort crashed into the crossbar.

They saw it out, though, for a point that – given the circumstances – has to be classed as a good one.

Rotherham: Rodak, Jones, Ajayi, Vaulks, Mattock, Taylor, Williams, Manning, Palmer (Wiles 75), Newell (Forde 69), Smith

Unused subs: Price, Onariase, Lewthwaite

Bristol City: Maenpaa, Hunt, Webster, Baker, Kelly, O'Dowda (Taylor 61), Brownhill. Pack, Eliasson (Watkins 61), Diedhiou, Weimann (Paterson)

Unused subs: O'Leary, Dasilva, Walsh, Hegeler

Referee: Gavin Ward

Attendance: 8,187