Tomorrow’s Yorkshire derby at Wembley has to produce a winner, but last night’s ended in a stalemate – although Bradford City were the ones entitled to claim a moral victory of sorts.
Given their previous desperate two outings at the New York Stadium, when they were battered 4-0 and 3-0, a goalless draw was something approaching manna from heaven.
Especially in the context of six successive defeats to the Millers, while the point did little for the hosts in their first live TV game at the NYS.
Having failed previously to attract the Sky cameras to Rotherham in the stadium’s 20-month existence, it was sod’s law that the sides would play out a largely forgettable encounter high on perspiration if not inspiration.
Against Sheffield United three days earlier, Millers admitted they had let themselves down, and at least they showed more purpose here.
Their unbeaten home sequence also remains intact, with Steve Evans’s troops having not seen their colours lowered on home soil since New Year’s Day.
Bradford could reflect on a job well done in clinching a point which takes them to the 50-point mark, which should be enough to secure another season of League One football after one or two scares this term.
Despite there being no love lost between the respective coaching teams, this was one of the more drab meetings between the two rivals.
If both sides could have chosen opponents to beat in front of the cameras, the names of Bradford and Rotherham would have figured high on the respective lists of their followers.
In the event, both had to settle for a share of the spoils and it remains to be seen if the pair lock horns again next season.
A slow burner came to life belatedly in the second half after a tame first period when you would have been forgiven for not realising you were watching a derby.
It was City who edged proceedings in the first half-hour, with the Millers finally coming to the party in the build-up to half-time as they started to impose themselves after a frustrating and tentative opening.
Fielding a 4-5-1 formation, with bodies flooding midfield and Jon Stead ploughing a lone furrow up front, City carried on from where they left off in obstinate performances on the road at Coventry City and Leyton Orient.
A swarm of amber shirts clogged the middle of the pitch and denied the Millers room and the ability to set the tempo with Kieran Agard and Ben Pringle kept quiet early on.
The visitors had the first meaningful chance with Andrew Davies flicking on Stephen Darby’s free-kick and Stead hooking over.
Gradually, the Millers started to assert themselves with Pringle’s arrowing shot beaten away by Jon McLaughlin and Alex Revell firing the rebound into the 1,115 fans in the away end.
Soon after, Gary Jones shot at Adam Collin before neat interplay between Bradford-born James Tavernier and Nicky Adams saw the latter’s cross whistle across goal.
While the first half was forgettable, the second period soon came to life with the Millers agonisingly close to an opener in the first minute when Michael O’Connor’s free-kick evaded everyone and hit a post and soon after Richie Smallwood fired off target.
City’s riposte was swift with Adam Reach hooking an effort wide after Kyle Bennett’s cross before the Doncaster Rovers loanee saw his shot fly over. Trickery from Reach then saw him get off a low shot which was blocked by Collin before Pringle was denied by McLaughlin.
The introduction of Haris Vuckic on 63 minutes – he hit a sublime winner against Bradford on Boxing Day – gave an extra dimension to the home attack and he supplied Tavernier whose effort was saved.
Vuckic’s poise would desert him in a game of few clear-cut chances when he latched onto Revell’s cushioned header, only to fire over when well placed. As the game entered the final stages, United pushed forward and saw a couple of half-shouts for penalties rebuffed, with their best chance seeing Kari Arnason head off target from Pringle’s corner.
Rotherham United: Collin, Tavernier, Morgan, Arnason, Skarz; Adams (Vuckic 63), Smallwood, O’Connor, Pringle; Revell, Agard. Unused substitutes: Shearer, Brindley, Davis, Milsom, Thomas, Hitchcock.
Bradford City: McLaughlin; Darby, Davies, McArdle, Drury; Bennett (Thompson 90), Dolan (De Vita 77), Doyle, Jones, Reach; Stead. Unused substitutes: Barker, Yeates, McHugh, Bates, McBurnie.
Referee: D Webb (County Durham).