Luton 0-0 Rotherham: Visitors stay in the drop zone after stalemate and face final day shootout with Wayne Rooney’s Derby in battle for Championship survival
- Rotherham’s Championship survival hopes are out of their hands after draw
- Both sides hit the woodwork during a frantic first-half at Kenilworth Road
- Crooks went agonisingly close for the visitors with a header in the second-half
- Rotherham must win at Cardiff and hope Derby fail to beat Sheffield Wednesday
We will only learn the conclusion to this Championship cliffhanger at about 2.30 on Saturday afternoon.
Only then will we know if it’s Rotherham or Wayne Rooney’s Derby sent spiralling into League One.
This stalemate closed the gap between the two sides to just two points and at least made the equation clear.
Luton Town (3-5-2): Sluga; Pearson, Bradley (c), Naismith; Bree, Tunnicliffe (LuaLua 76), Rea, Dewsbury-Hall, Potts (Cornick 46); Adebayo, Collins (Mpanzu 63)
Substitutes not used: Shea (GK); Cranie, Moncur, Nombe, Morrell, Pereira
Manager: Nathan Jones
Rotherham United (3-5-2): Blackman; Ihiekwe, Wood (c), Harding; Olosunde (Ogbene 65), Barlaser (Mattock 74), Wiles, Wing, Giles; Crooks, Smith (Ladapo 65)
Substitutes not used: Johansson (GK); S. MacDonald, Lindsay, Sadlier, A. MacDonald, Jozefzoon
Manager: Paul Warne
Referee: David Webb
Rotherham will need to win at Cardiff and hope that Derby either lose or draw against Sheffield Wednesday. If Rooney’s side take three points, whatever the Millers do will be academic.
Rotherham boss Paul Warne said last week he believed they’d need four points to stay up. He was right.
As we’ve come to expect from a Rotherham side fighting a nightmare fixture list and their own dwindling energy reserves over this past month, there was plenty of heart and endeavour.
They had the odd moment but then so did Luton and the draw was the fairest outcome. Despite a late push, Rotherham just couldn’t make one point a precious three.
Both sides enjoyed presentable chances during a first-half that became increasingly open.
Luton’s Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, impressing on loan from Leicester this season, warmed the gloves of Millers keeper Jamal Blackman before whipping another shot just wide.
The Hatters, safely ensconced in mid-table, had little to play for but put together some neat attacks. When James Bree nodded the ball into the Rotherham box, Elijah Adebayo reacted quickest to smack a rising half-volley off the post.
And an inswinging corner from Dewsbury-Hall almost caught Blackman out, the keeper reaching forward desperately to claw the ball against the inside of the post.
Rotherham had their moments, though, and could easily have led before half-time.
Michael Smith glanced a header wide from an inviting Ryan Giles cross and when Matt Crooks stuck out a leg to meet Smith’s flick-on, his lob cleared Simon Sluga but bounced agonisingly off the upright and refused to spin back over the line.
The second-half was more of a scrappy affair and the chances dried up. Adebayo curled an effort straight at Blackman on a rare occasion Rotherham allowed them space to shoot.
A yell of ’20 minutes left’ from the Rotherham bench was a signal to dig even deeper into the stamina reserves. From their next move, Crooks jumped to meet a Giles cross but placed his header off target.
Wing saw a free-kick parried away by Sluga in the closing minutes. We’re going right down to the wire.
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