Championship
RotherhamRotherham United1CardiffCardiff City2

Rotherham United 1-2 Cardiff City: Bennett wins it late on for Bluebirds

By Michael PearlmanBBC Sport Wales
Sheyi Ojo
Sheyi Ojo is one of two players on loan at Cardiff from Premier League champions Liverpool

The Cardiff revival under Mick McCarthy continued as Joe Bennett's late header earned them a 2-1 win at Rotherham.

Bennett snuck in unmarked to convert Josh Murphy's cross as the snow fell heavily in Yorkshire as Cardiff made it four unbeaten under their new boss.

The hosts had equalised just past the hour when Matt Crooks tapped home after Michael Smith's inviting cross.

The deadlock was broken in an even first half when Sheyi Ojo raced clear from Harry Wilson's smart through ball.

The victory for Cardiff in a game rearranged after originally being postponed in January sees them rise to 11th while Rotherham are still 20th, one point ahead of the relegation zone.

Though both the Millers and Bluebirds have had more disappointing days this season than pleasing ones, it is fair to say they were meeting at New York Stadium at a time when both were producing their best form of the campaign.

Rotherham had taken 13 points in their previous six games to climb out of the relegation places, while Cardiff had not lost since McCarthy succeeded Neil Harris.

No side in the Championship has won more points in 2021 than Paul Warne's team, who retained Clark Robertson in their starting XI after the impressive 2-1 win over Preston.

After a season-best display last time out in their 2-0 win at Bristol City, McCarthy would no doubt have liked to pick an unchanged side, but goalkeeper Alex Smithies was ruled out by the illness that forced him off at Ashton Gate.

With confidence flowing for both teams it was perhaps no surprise that the first half was a tight affair with chances few and far between.

Cardiff appealed for a penalty when Daniel Barlaser appeared to handle in the box, but the Millers perhaps had a better shout when Smith was barged over by Curtis Nelson, but referee Geoff Eltringham remained unmoved both times.

Smith, recalled by the hosts, was the liveliest attacker in the opening exchanges and his quick thinking on 24 minutes produced a clear opportunity, but Dillon Phillips saved smartly as he tipped his shot across goal around his post.

Phillips also had to scramble to keep out a Smith header on 36 minutes from close range as he did brilliantly to tip the ball over, while Viktor Johansson was called into action for the first time moments later as he saved Kieffer Moore's low 20-yard shot.

However, Cardiff seized the advantage just before the interval when they hit Rotherham with a counter-attack from the edge of their own penalty area, with Harry Wilson releasing Ojo who raced clear before coolly sliding home his fifth goal of the season past the advancing Johansson.

Johansson produced a stunning instinctive save to keep his side in contention just after the interval when Wilson's shot fell kindly to Sean Morrison who blasted at goal and the stop proved crucial at the Millers were soon level.

Like with Cardiff's goal, Rotherham scored from a quick and decisive break as Smith found space down the right and crossed perfectly for Crooks who tapped home from inside the six-yard box.

Substitute Murphy lashed over as Cardiff tried to get on the front foot again, while heavy snow meant a yellow ball was required for the final 15 minutes as both sides sought a winner in ever worsening conditions.

It was Cardiff who found the breakthrough as Murphy's excellent, high, hanging cross was headed home by Bennett as the Millers appealed for an offside flag that never arrived, while an almighty scramble at the death almost got Rotherham level, but Lewis Wing blazed over.

Rotherham manager Paul Warne said:

"We go through games of full luck or no luck. We rode our luck Saturday (victory at Preston) but I didn't think we had any tonight.

"I thought over the course of 95 minutes we didn't deserve to lose. I asked the lads to give everything they've got.

"We got ourselves back in the game and I thought we would go on and win it.

"All in all we come away disappointed but really proud of the way we played. To come away with nothing seems a bit harsh."

Cardiff manager Mick McCarthy told BBC Sport Wales:

"Conditions weren't great and we had to fight fire with fire, freekicks, corners, throw-ins, playing for seconds (second balls) and I think the lads handled it really, really well.

"We are bitterly disappointed with the goal we conceded, but the two goals we got were good ones.

"I am really, really delighted with the performance.

"The squad I have inherited has quality in it and we've needed to show some fighting spirit first."

Line-ups

Rotherham

Formation 3-5-1-1

  • 1Johansson
  • 20Ihiekwe
  • 6WoodSubstituted forHirstat 87'minutes
  • 15Robertson
  • 22OlosundeSubstituted forGilesat 71'minutes
  • 5Wing
  • 26BarlaserSubstituted forLadapoat 81'minutes
  • 8Wiles
  • 19Harding
  • 25Crooks
  • 24Smith

Substitutes

  • 4MacDonald
  • 9Hirst
  • 10Ladapo
  • 17Sadlier
  • 18Clarke
  • 21MacDonald
  • 28Jozefzoon
  • 30Giles
  • 31Vickers

Cardiff

Formation 3-4-1-2

  • 1Phillips
  • 4Morrison
  • 5Flint
  • 16Nelson
  • 38Ng
  • 6Vaulks
  • 8RallsSubstituted forPackat 63'minutes
  • 3Bennett
  • 23Wilson
  • 10Moore
  • 27OjoSubstituted forMurphyat 53'minutes

Substitutes

  • 11Murphy
  • 19Watters
  • 21Pack
  • 28Sang
  • 29M Harris
  • 30Brown
  • 31Ratcliffe
  • 32Bagan
  • 33Hoilett
Referee:
Geoff Eltringham

Match Stats

Home TeamRotherhamAway TeamCardiff
Possession
Home55%
Away45%
Shots
Home15
Away12
Shots on Target
Home3
Away6
Corners
Home12
Away7
Fouls
Home13
Away11

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Rotherham United 1, Cardiff City 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Rotherham United 1, Cardiff City 2.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Lewis Wing (Rotherham United) right footed shot from the left side of the box is too high. Assisted by Michael Smith following a corner.

  4. Post update

    Attempt missed. Michael Smith (Rotherham United) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left following a corner.

  5. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Michael Ihiekwe (Rotherham United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

  6. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Michael Smith (Rotherham United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Rotherham United. Conceded by Will Vaulks.

  8. Post update

    Corner, Rotherham United. Conceded by Will Vaulks.

  9. Post update

    Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Wes Harding.

  10. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Lewis Wing (Rotherham United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, Rotherham United. George Hirst replaces Richard Wood.

  12. Goal!

    Goal! Rotherham United 1, Cardiff City 2. Joe Bennett (Cardiff City) header from the left side of the six yard box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Josh Murphy.

  13. Post update

    Lewis Wing (Rotherham United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Kieffer Moore (Cardiff City).

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Rotherham United. Freddie Ladapo replaces Daniel Barlaser.

  16. Post update

    Attempt missed. Will Vaulks (Cardiff City) right footed shot from outside the box is too high following a set piece situation.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Clark Robertson (Rotherham United).

  18. Post update

    Kieffer Moore (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  19. Post update

    Richard Wood (Rotherham United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Josh Murphy (Cardiff City).

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Norwich28167535231255
2Brentford27159352272554
3Swansea27158435152053
4Reading27146740291148
5Watford28139631201148
6Bournemouth28129743281545
7Middlesbrough28117103128340
8Blackburn271161041291239
9Stoke2891273229339
10Bristol City28123132933-439
11Cardiff28107113732537
12Preston28113143236-436
13Barnsley27106112934-536
14Millwall2871472626035
15Luton2797112229-734
16QPR2789102632-633
17Huddersfield2896133139-833
18Nottm Forest2888122530-532
19Coventry28710112637-1131
20Rotherham2785143338-529
21Sheff Wed2897122130-928
22Derby2777131728-1128
23Birmingham28610122134-1328
24Wycombe2737171847-2916
View full Championship table

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