UK

Blues snatch win at struggling Millers

Birmingham have won four of their six matches since Lee Bowyer was appointed boss last month

Birmingham City scored a late winner at Rotherham to move closer to Championship safety and deal another blow to the Millers’ hopes of avoiding the drop.

With two minutes left, Kristian Pedersen flicked on a cross from the left before Harlee Dean’s header from eight yards deflected in off defender Michael Ihiekwe.

Rotherham, playing their fourth game in the space of nine days, had three good chances at the start of the second half as Gary Gardner hacked off the Blues line, Lewis Wing had a shot blocked and Michael Smith headed onto the roof of the net.

Lukas Jutkiewicz had gone close with headers in either half before Dean’s goal, which lifted the Blues nine points clear of the relegation places.

The Millers, meanwhile, are four points behind 21st-placed Derby County with two games in hand on the Rams.

Rotherham are playing catch-up following a series of postponements earlier in the campaign because of two Covid-19 outbreaks at the club, and the late defeat denied Paul Warne’s side the chance to make up ground on Derby.

After Jutkiewicz headed over the bar in the opening 20 seconds, Angus MacDonald and Smith both sent efforts narrowly wide for the hosts before half-time.

Rotherham striker Freddie Ladapo almost poked home from a corner three minutes after the restart, but the best chance of the half came when Jutkiewicz saw his back-post header palmed behind by Millers keeper Viktor Johansson.

A Marc Roberts cross allowed fellow defender Dean to divert in as Birmingham, whose fortunes have been revived since the appointment of manager Lee Bowyer last month, extended their unbeaten run to four games.

Both clubs are back in action on Wednesday, when the Millers host Middlesbrough and Blues are at home to Nottingham Forest.

Rotherham boss Paul Warne told BBC Radio Sheffield:

“I am hugely disappointed. I thought at least our play deserved a draw.

“We had opportunities to let the net ripple, and if you don’t take your chances at any level you are not going to win.

“I didn’t see their goal coming as I always through we were going to get the winner.

“While we have got a chance, we have to have belief. But we have to turn our chances into goals to have any chance of survival.”

Birmingham boss Lee Bowyer told BBC Radio WM:

“To put that nine-point gap between us and Rotherham is a massive result.

“It is another clean sheet and it was hard-fought, as Rotherham asked us a lot of questions, but the players were resolute again.

“You have two teams at the wrong end of the table who don’t want to make any mistakes and lose the game. It was tense at times and thankfully we got the goal.

“It was mad it was the three centre-halves, with one crossing it and one flicking it on for the other one to head in.”

Line-ups

Rotherham

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Johansson
  • 20IhiekweBooked at 57mins
  • 6WoodBooked at 67mins
  • 21MacDonald
  • 19Harding
  • 25Crooks
  • 4MacDonaldSubstituted forWilesat 81′minutes
  • 5Wing
  • 15RobertsonSubstituted forLindsayat 81′minutes
  • 24Smith
  • 10LadapoSubstituted forHirstat 81′minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Wiles
  • 9Hirst
  • 11Ogbene
  • 16Lindsay
  • 17Sadlier
  • 22Olosunde
  • 26Barlaser
  • 27Blackman
  • 30Giles

Birmingham

Formation 3-4-1-2

  • 30Etheridge
  • 4Roberts
  • 12Dean
  • 3Pedersen
  • 2Colin
  • 20GardnerSubstituted forHarperat 90′minutes
  • 34Sunjic
  • 42SeddonSubstituted forFriendat 90+7′minutes
  • 18McGreeSubstituted forSánchezat 71′minutes
  • 14LekoSubstituted forHoganat 90+1′minutes
  • 10JutkiewiczSubstituted forCosgroveat 90+6′minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Friend
  • 9Hogan
  • 11Bela
  • 16Cosgrove
  • 17Sánchez
  • 19San José
  • 24Harper
  • 27Trueman
  • 41Miller

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