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Rotherham United 1 v 1 Swansea City
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 30th July 2022 Kick-off 15:00
Rotherham battle their way to a draw against Swansea City
Saturday, 30th Jul 2022 18:16 by Swansea Independent

Russell Martin will take plenty of positives from this afternoons game between Swansea City and Rotherham in South Yorkshire. Most certainly goalkeeper Andy Fisher who excelled between the posts nullifying anything the millers threw at him, and the performance of Harry Darling will have most certainly caught his eye.

With all that said this afternoons game at the New York stadium was a very competitive affair in front of a decent sized crowd and a large Swansea City support. The swans as expected dominated the opening ten minutes, the percentage stats stating Swansea had ninety two percent possession during that period. Matthew Sorinola did try a speculative effort on three minutes but for all the possession nothing came of Swansea’s domination.

It was clear the millers had one clear practised set piece when Harding hurled the ball into a packed swans area. On that occasion the swans cleared the danger. The swans still looked composed and Joel Piroe worked out a shooting opportunity but it spun wide for a corner. On sixteen minutes Harding again hurled the ball in to the swans penalty area and the direct approach this time worked spinning off a defensive player in black with alleged swans target Ogbene sneaking in to glance his header in to Andy Fishers net. It was expected for many swans fans after all last season often went the same way after dominating possession.

That goal led to Rotherham’s best period of possession in the first half, Conor Washington failed to capitalise on an opportunity at Fisher’s right hand post. There was definitely more intensity from the home side now with Ogbene using his guile and weight to battle the swans defensive line. He looks a real threat across his clubs front line. It was on twenty four minutes that Ogbene again threatened the Swansea goal, spinning on his shot Fisher dived to his left and pulled off a stunning save to keep the score at 1-0. With the swans misplacing passes and losing the ball in midfield, the loss of Flynn Downes in that central role is evident. Jay Fulton on this display have the initiative or ability to make that much of a difference, and as he did at Charlton last week he gave the ball away on a number of occasions.

As the half moved on Sorinola ‘s cross shot nearly equalised for the swans. From the resultant corner Swansea possession continued and Harry Darling moved forwards with the travelling Jack Army screaming shoot, and thankfully he did. His rocket shot flew in to the Rotherham net and brought about complete delirium in the away stand. The swans had several more chances to go ahead, Nathan Wood the most obvious fluffing his lines in front of goal with an open header.

The second half was a more frustrating affair and both sides did have chances to win the game. Part of the blame has to be placed on the shoulders of referee Matthew Donahue. Have officiated the first half well, and not booking any Rotherham players for decidedly aggressive challenges he changed tact in the second half. Unfortunately the benefactors were not the swans as a number of the away sides players were put in the book for some random challenges. Then we saw only forty eight seconds of play between the sixty third and seventy third minutes which again raised questions on his judgement. With Swansea looking the far better side he allowed a nine minute break to treat two Rotherham players on the pitch. Obviously granting Rotherham an advantage as the treatment to substitute Steele should have been done on the side of the pitch.

More a complete lack of officiating competency than anything else.

The home crowd were given more belief as a result of the change in direction regards officiating in the second half. Early in the half we again saw poor touches from Obafemi when he was in on goal, and then one of the most bizarre finishes a yard out to put the swans in front. Again we saw his very relaxed way of playing as he jogged across the box and literally back heeled the ball and missed the chance of not only this season, but any season. It was astonishing. Sorinola got his first yellow on fifty five minutes followed by a very poor header from Latibeaudiere when he missed a decent chance. Jamie Paterson was next when over play by Piroe saw the ball land at his feet but keeper Johansson pulled off a wonderful save.

Another chance after some good work by Jay Fulton again ended with poor finishing by Joel Piroe Not surprisingly this gave the home side some belief and substitute Kelly bore down on goal and again his shot was well saved by Fisher. The other sub Bramall was next to be denied by Fisher in what looked like a golden chance to go ahead.

The bizarre mind of referee Donohue then exposed itself when first Piroe was booked for an innocuous challenge and then Nathan Wood for nothing more than standing his ground. This upset manager Russell Martin who also received a yellow card as the game lurched from stop/start play and tedious time wasting from the millers. The swans really could have taken the points from this season opener. Poor control from Obafemi not often seen in front of goal added to the frustration as both sides finished the game with a point a piece.

Russell Martin speaking immediately after the game said. "I'm content with the performance, frustrated with the result. We created some brilliant chances.We are really disappointed as a group with the goal for them. Rotherham's strength is putting the ball in the box - long throws, et-pieces - and the only rime they really threatened us was when they had an opportunity to put it into the box, because we were really dominant. We were anxious for 10 minutes after the goal and then we had so much control for the rest of the game. It's a point. It gives us something to build on. The chance we had [through Obafemi] - I am not sure we will get a clearer one than that all season. But I think the supporters who came will have enjoyed the performance."

Swans man of the match : Andy Fisher.

Rotherham United: Johansson; Hall (Kioso 66), Wood (C), Humphreys; Harding, Wiles, Barlaser, Lindsay, Ferguson (Bramall 66); Washington (Kelly 66), Ogbene.

Subs not used: Vickers, McCart, High, Odoffin.

Goal: Ogbene 16

Yellow card: Bramall 90+2

Swansea City: Fisher; Wood, Naughton, Darling; Latibeaudiere, Fulton, Grimes (C), Sorinola (Manning 71); Piroe, Paterson (Ntcham 71); Obafemi.

Subs not used: Benda, Cabango, O Cooper, Congreve, Cullen.

Goal: Darling 38

Yellow cards: Sorinola 55, Piroe 80, Wood, R.Martin

Attendance: 10,454 (1,492 away)

Referee: Matthew Donohue 3/10 bordering on completely incompetent for both sides.

Photographs licensed from Reuters

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