The road to promotion continues
RHC V's Thirsk
Following a weeks rest Rotherham travelled to Thirsk and Malton, with only 4 games left it was the essentially the first of four cup finals in the run to promotion. Upon arrival questions were asked if we'd come to the right place. However, it was the correct location and a good warm up was needed to get used to the 3G/carpet hybrid surface it appeared we were playing on.
With a few players were missing, it meant a few changes in position most notably James Thomas slotting in at right back and Ricky Benton dropping back into the Midfield.
The game started slowly, with Rotherham struggling to adapt to what appeared to be a lack of formation and press presented by their opposition. With passes often being misplaced by both teams and niggling fouls it caused the game to break down, meaning neither side were able to create any clear chances. After the first 10 minutes the game opened up slightly and both teams started to forge some chances but Tony Cooper in Rotherham's goal kept out Thirsk and a series of blocks and fouls kept Rotherham out at the other end.
Rotherham did however take the lead when a Thirsk player attempted to dribble the ball out from the back but was dispossessed by Matthew Webb who slid a ball into Jack Hartley. In turn the ball was slipped across to Dan Needham in the D, with 2 players around him he still managed the get the ball under control and fire it into the net, an upright reverse stick shot to make it 1-0. Thirsk started to use an aerial ball and it appeared to cause problems at the back with attackers trying to get in behind the Rotherham back line. Cooper continued to make some good saves but eventually the pressure paid off and a Thirsk forward was able to beat two defenders and round coops to level things up.
As the half went on a few short corners were awarded to Rotherham and despite numerous attempts the closest they came was a flick from Needham that left the crossbar rattling. As the half time whistle approached a break away down the left allowed the ball to be fed to Ben Davis who was free in the circle and his clean strike put Rotherham back in the lead, 2-1. One last chance in the first half fell to Hartley. With a number of deflections on the ball it fell to him on the back post and with the goal gaping it looked at though it would be 3-1. However he took a bit too much time and this allowed the keeper diving backwards to get his stick to the shot directing it out of play.
Half time 2-1
Rotherham knew that the next goal was vital but also needed to stay composed as Thirsk clearly posed a threat going forward. With a slight change of personnel and formation, the second half commenced. Benton carried on where he left off in the first half and the players marking him resorted to fouling him as this was the only way they were able to stop him. Eventually, another short corner came and with it Rotherham's next goal, a quick routine with the ball across from Thomas deflected in by Webb to make it 3-1.
Rotherham didn't let the pressure off and yet another short corner was won. After being unfortunate not to score from a short corner earlier on Needham didn't need a second invitation and rifled it into the top left corner to make to 4-1.
This seemed to stir Thirsk into action and they piled on the pressure. Some resolute defending from the changed back line of Graham Ibbotson, Andy Downs and Steve Siddle along with a vital clearance from Jake Ward at the back post kept Thirsk out. After relentless pressure they did managed to grab a goal and quickly followed it with another leaving the score line at 4-3. It was too little too late however and as the restart was taken the final whistle blew.
Another 3 vital points for Rotherham and they now move on to the final home game of the season next week against local rivals Sheffield Bankers.
Man of the match Ricky Benton
Match report by Jack Hartley