Rooney’s Blues held by managerless Rotherham

2 December 2023 0 By Total Football News

Birmingham failed to make it back-to-back home victories as managerless Rotherham earned a rare away point in the Sky Bet Championship as it finished 0-0 at St Andrews.

In a game of few clear-cut chances, Rotherham picked up only their second point away from home this season and increased the scrutiny on home manager Wayne Rooney, who has just one win in his first eight games in charge of the Midlands club.

Rooney's Birmingham - watched by minority owner Tom Brady - started positively with Jay Stansfield forcing Viktor Johansson into a low save inside three minutes.

Blues dominated the early exchanges, penning Rotherham back inside their own half.

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Wayne Rooney's Birmingham City were booed at full-time after a goalless draw with Rotherham United.

However, a fingertip save by John Ruddy on 20 minutes kept the hosts from going behind as Sam Nombe battled past Dion Sanderson and got a low strike away which the goalkeeper did well to react to.

The visitors were gaining confidence and Christ Tiehi surged down the right wing and his low ball looking for the near post run of Nombe caused problems for the home defence and Emanuel Aiwu had to clear inside the six-yard box.

Nombe hit the crossbar for the Millers when the striker beat Ruddy to a high cross and saw his header crash against the woodwork.

Birmingham wasted a couple of excellent opportunities on the counter-attack, with the final piece of quality letting the home side down far too often.

Inside minutes of the restart Blues captain Sanderson made a crucial block, some suggested with his arm, on the line to deny Oliver Rathbone, after the Millers had disposed the hosts inside their own penalty area.

In front of a restless home crowd, Birmingham struggled to gain any momentum after the interval, and it was Rotherham the more likely of the two sides to make the crucial breakthrough.

Lukas Jutkiewicz was brought off the bench to try to add firepower to the Blues' frontline, but Johansson remained untested in the visitors' goal.

The experienced duo of Jordan Hugill and Sean Morrison came off the bench for Rotherham to see the game out as the hosts came to life and searched for a late winner.

Johansson had to beat clear a Cody Drameh effort but Ruddy had to make a crucial save at the other end to deny Nombe before Aiwu cleared to ensure the ball did not roll over the line.

Nombe nearly turned provider when his cross reached an unmarked Hakeem Odoffin but he could not connect with the ball and wasted a precious opportunity for the visitors.

Hugill then looped a header over the crossbar with 10 minutes remaining before the hosts thought they had won it through Jutkiewicz only for the offside flag to be raised.

The managers

Birmingham's Wayne Rooney:

"I thought we started the game really well for 20 minutes. But we got sloppy, we got slow, and we created a lot of our own problems. We were probably fortunate in the end to come away with a point. A lot of things we need to address, basics of the game like heading the ball, it was not there today. We haven't won the game because we got complacent. I felt in the first 20 minutes we (found) it easy to get into their final third so the players then felt the game was a bit too easy for them. They get sloppy and forget to do the right things."

"Today was a really frustrating day. My job is to improve them as players so in the next six months we hope there will be changes because you want to bring players in and players will leave. It's important we don't get carried away we do have a lot of good players but today we should win that game. That's an accountability the players need to understand.

Rotherham caretaker Wayne Carlisle:

"I'm pleased with the performance but I'm slightly disappointed that we didn't come out with the three points. We wanted a reaction after the Hull game and the boys rolled their sleeves up and gave a real Rotherham United performance.

"I'm delighted we were creating changes away from home and putting ourselves in these positions but disappointed we were not taking them. I've got a job to do, my most important job is keeping the guys together and now it's to try and win games of football until someone tells me I'm not doing it."

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SkySports | News website - the original link is: https://www.skysports.com/football/birmingham-city-vs-rotherham-united/report/484918