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Match Reports

Rovers 2 Rotherham Utd 0

Goals from Antonsson and Chapman secure the points

26 September 2017

Rovers returned to winning ways with a deserved 2-0 victory over Rotherham United at Ewood Park.

Loan stars Marcus Antonsson and Harry Chapman did the damage, scoring a goal in each half, as Rovers recorded their first victory in three outings.

The hosts completely dominated the first-half, with Dominic Samuel twice denied by the woodwork inside the opening quarter of an hour - first heading against the bar, before seeing a shot across goal strike the post.

The breakthrough eventually arrived on 27 minutes when Charlie Mulgrew's corner was headed home by Antonsson at the near post.

Bradley Dack then squandered two chances in quick succession, before Samuel came close to a Rovers second at the start of the second half.

The visitors grew into the game and had a goal ruled out on 69 minutes and then a header cleared off the line, before super sub Chapman made the points safe five minutes from time with a superb individual effort.

Rotherham had gone into the game as the second highest scorers in the country, so the clean sheet will have pleased boss Tony Mowbray just as much as the two goals.

Ahead of the game, Mowbray made two changes to the side that drew 1-1 away to league leaders Shrewsbury Town at the weekend.

Defender Paul Downing was handed his home debut in place Elliott Ward and Antonsson was preferred to Danny Graham, with Dack operating in the number 10 role.

Elliott Bennett made his 50th start in Rovers colours and Richie Smallwood lined up against his former club, whilst Ryan Nyambe returned to the matchday squad for the first time in a month after recovering from an ankle injury.

The visitors also made two changes, with Anthony Forde and Joe Newell coming in for Jon Taylor and Richie Towell.

Rovers made a bright start and ought to have opened the scoring inside two minutes. Bennett swung over a cross from the right, Samuel's header struck the bar and Antonsson could only knock the rebound into the side-netting.

Rotherham registered their first attempt on seven minutes, when Forde let fly from 25 yards out, but his crisp volley whistled just past the post.

Rovers came close to breaking the deadlock again on the quarter-hour mark. Dack drove forward before playing in Samuel to his right, but his shot across the keeper bounced back off the far post.

The goal Rovers' display deserved did arrive on 27 minutes. Samuel seized upon Darren Potter's poor back-pass and rounded the keeper, but saw his shot saved from an acute angle.

However, from the resultant Mulgrew corner, Antonsson glanced home a header inside Marek Rodak's near post. It was the Swede's third goal of the season and his first at Ewood Park.

Rovers threatened a second on 39 minutes, with two carbon copy chances in quick succession. First, Paul Caddis played a superb ball over the top for Samuel, who crossed for the unmarked Dack, but Rodak made the save.

Seconds later, Samuel again centred from the right looking for Dack, but he was unable to connect cleanly at full stretch.

The final chance of a dominant first half again went Rovers' way, as Antonsson's crisp left-foot strike had to be tipped over the bar by Rodak.

Rovers picked up where they left off after the break and created another great chance for 2-0 on 52 minutes.

Dack played a clever ball down the left flank for Antonsson and his near-post cross was swept inches over the bar by Samuel.

Rotherham gradually grew into the game and forced David Raya into his first save of the match just past the hour mark when he flung himself to his left to push Joe Mattock's dipping volley away to safety.

On 68 minutes, a deep cross to the back post was volleyed goalwards by Lee Frecklington and Raya had to get down quickly to make a smart save.

From the resultant corner, Rotherham had the ball in the back of the Rovers net, but the linesman ruled that the delivery had gone out of play.

Rovers made a change, bringing on Chapman for Dack, and the substitute was immediately involved, skipping past two Rotherham players, before seeing his shot saved by Rodak at his near post.

The hosts should have put the game to bed on 78 minutes when Antonsson raced clean through on goal, but he blazed inches over the bar with Rodak beaten.

Rovers were almost made to pay, as the division's top scorer, Kieffer Moore, saw a header cleared off the line by Mulgrew, before the hosts did make the points safe five minutes from time.

Chapman burst into the box from a corner, which was played short, and after seeing his initial shot saved, he reacted quickest to fire home the follow-up.

Fellow substitute Peter Whittingham was a whisker away from adding a third with virtually the last kick of the game, but after latching onto a ball over the top, he slid his shot agonisingly wide of the far post.

Rovers will now look to make it back-to-back home wins when they welcome a struggling Gillingham side to Ewood Park on Saturday.  

ROVERS: Raya, Caddis, Downing, Mulgrew, Williams, Bennett, Smallwood, Evans (Whittingham 74), Antonsson, Dack (Chapman 69), Samuel (Hart 79).
Subs not used: Leutwiler, Ward, Nyambe, Graham.

Goals: Antonsson (27), Chapman (85)
Booked: Downing, Samuel, Evans.

ROTHERHAM: Rodak, Vaulks, Wood, Forde (Towell 65), Frecklington, Potter, Purrington (Mattock 20), Ihiekwe, Newell (Yates 81), Williams, Moore.
Subs not used: O'Donnell, Ajayi, Clarke-Harris, Cummings.

Booked: Rodak, Frecklington, Vaulks, Moore.

Attendance: 10,228 (515 Rotherham fans)


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