Rotherham United 0 Huddersfield Town 0: Collective jeers and not cheers as derby day ends in a blank

FOR ROTHERHAM United, this derby day was about performance and not necessarily points.

The reverse applied for Huddersfield Town.

In the event, they had to settle for a point each as opposed to points.

After being a player light for just over half an hour after the daft 58th-minute dismissal of Sorba Thomas following a second quick-fire booking, an away point for a side fighting against relegation would surely not be sniffed at.

Huddersfield Town''s Sorba Thomas is sent off against Rotherham United. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.Huddersfield Town''s Sorba Thomas is sent off against Rotherham United. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Huddersfield Town''s Sorba Thomas is sent off against Rotherham United. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
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But these are not normal circumstances. That is not taking into account the opposition who the Terriers lined up against - one who came into the game on the back of an atrocious nine-match losing sequence - and with just two points from 12 matches in a thoroughly joyless 2024.

Andre Breitenreiter was pragmatic and elected to keep two offensive-minded players in Danny Ward and Josh Koroma on the bench, despite the pleas of the 2,419 visiting supporters to be bolder.

“Andre, where’s the subs’ was a late cry. In the event, a defender in Tom Edwards came on.

A point it was and it will be only become apparent as to whether it was a good point or a missed opportunity when the final table is revealed in early May.

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Town fans were baying for a late winner on an afternoon when Josh Smith infuriated then.

Despite the extra player, Rotherham - with confidence clearly low in an attacking sense - never looked like going for the throat. Given that they haven’t won since Boxing Day, it wasn’t a massive surprise. But still. Will they get a better chance…

They did at least take their first point since January 20. But the jeers were shared from both sets of fans at the end.

After their last two brutal results, the Millers’ first-half performance represented a marked improvement in terms of their commitment, hunger and application and they also came closest to scoring. A clean sheet was a tick in the box as well.

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Town certainly had their moments on the break, with Delano Burgzorg posing problems in particular. But when it came to reflecting on their offering in the opening 45 minutes, the realisation was that they needed to do a bit more.

The Millers handed starts to Cafu, Andy Rinomhota and Sam Nombe, with Tyler Blackett and Cohen Bramall being notable names on the bench. Jordan Hugill and Christ Tiehi were not involved.

Town were without Tom Lees (calf) with Radinio Balker coming into the side.

A nice touch ahead of kick-off saw Rotherham pay tribute to Town legend and former manager Steve Smith following his passing on Friday, with respectful applause coming from all sides of the stadium.

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When the action got under way, it was Town who had the first chance when Jack Rudoni saw his low shot held by Viktor Johannson after Burgzorg dispossessed Cameron Humphreys close to the touchline. The visiting player might have done better.

The early tempo from Town was good, but they were soon afforded a big scare.

A booming long throw from Sean Morrison wasn’t cleared and after Rudoni dithered, Rinomhota seized on the loose ball and saw his cute curler hit the post, with Charlie Wyke firing the rebound over on 11 minutes.

At the other end, Town broke and Thomas's cross-shot flashed across goal before Matty Pearson’s header flew wide at the near post following Thomas’s whipped in free-kick on the left.

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David Kasumu then failed to get enough purchase on a shot after Jonathan Hogg headed down Thomas’s corner with the next development seeing Brodie Spencer receive a caution after clattering into Sam Clucas.

Jaheim Headley then put a chance wide at the back post before Kasumu copped a booking for simulation after going down in the box under slight pressure from Rinomhota.

Ahead of the break, Burgzorg tested Johansson following nice play between him, Kasumu and Spencer. The saves that the Swede made in the first half were standard in truth.

Rawmarsh lad Ben Wiles was handed his opportunity at his former club at the start of the second half, with Kasumu making way.

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Town flew out of the traps, attacking their big travelling support, with Burgzorg blasting an early chance over.

For the visitors, it was about finding that requisite moment of quality and incision.

And then the game changed substantially.

From a Town corner, the Millers broke. A brilliant raking crossfield pass from Cafu sent Rathbone away, with the backtracking Thomas - booked a matter of minutes earlier for dissent - bringing down the midfielder, with the Terriers winger receiving a second yellow card.

The onus was on the Millers to be proactive - playing for the first time this season with an extra man - as the Huddersfield followers seethed about the performance of Smith.

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In fairness, their players did not let the issue get them down, overly with Rudoni testing Johansson low down and then firing over.

Rudoni was then guilty of a heavy touch after being slipped in by Helik in a dangerous position, allowing Morrison to make an important last-ditch challenge.

Smith then further incurred the wrath of Town’s supporters, by awarding a goalkick instead of a visiting corner, with Breitenreiter similarly aghast and letting his feelings known to the fourth official.

Tempers were rising for sure.

Rathbone shot straight at Nicholls but most of the action was towards the other goal, despite the visitors’ numerical disadvantage.

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Neat close control from Headley set up a chance for Brugzorg, whose low shot was grasped by Johansson, with most of the efforts that he fielded being pretty much straight at him, low down.

Rotherham United: Johansson; Kioso (Seriki 80), Morrison, Humphreys, Revan; Rinomhota;

Rathbone, Cafu, Clucas (Appiah 76); Nombe, Wyke (Eaves 76). Unused substitutes: Phillips, Bramall, Blackett, Lindsay, Ferguson, Odoffin.

Huddersfield Town: Nicholls; Pearson, Helik, Balker; Spencer (Edwards 90+3), Hogg, Kasumu (Wiles 45), Headley, Rudoni; Thomas, Burgzorg. Unused substitutes: Maxwell, Koroma, Diarra, Matos, Ward, Jones, Jackson.

Referee: J Smith (Lincs).

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