Rotherham United 1 Leicester City 2: A cruel hard luck story for the Millers - yet again

THREE WEEKS into the new season and Rotherham United are entitled to grow heartily sick of hard luck stories already.

We had a debate regarding the officials, yet again. We had the sight of a Millers side performing pretty admirably in the circumstances, yet again.

Again, there was a cruel twist and a hard outcome, not for the first time.

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After his erroneous dismissal in the previous home game against Blackburn, it looked like the headlines on this occasion for Fred Onyedinma were good news ones after glancing in a richly deserved 53rd-minute equaliser for the hosts.

Fred Onyedinma heads in Rotherham United's equaliser against Leicester City. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.Fred Onyedinma heads in Rotherham United's equaliser against Leicester City. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.
Fred Onyedinma heads in Rotherham United's equaliser against Leicester City. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

A point would have been fitting for their strong, in-character performance in which they gave everything against opponents with plenty of weapons on paper.

The wound would arrive, belatedly for the Millers, with Kasey McAteer scoring the second of his two goals late on, to win in for City.

Hard for Rotherham in a hard, hard league. They merited a point, but the Championship is tough.

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For seemingly the umpteenth time, even though we are still in August, controversy reared it ugly head.

Not for the first time either in 23-24, the Millers made a fair fist of things against exalted opponents.

McAteer’s 17th-minute opener happened after the moment that caused so much conjecture in Rotherham ranks a minute or so earlier.

A vicious inswinging corner from Cafu grazed the head of Cameron Humphreys and the ball flew towards the far corner of the net with Jordan Hugill lurking at the far post.

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The Millers striker wheeled away to celebrate, after getting a faint flick, before Simon Hooper, in consultation with an assistant referee, spoiled the hosts' fun and chalked off the goal.

The initial thought was that it was down to a perceived handball or offside. But replays did appear to indicate that Dexter Lembikisa had fouled Mads Hermansen in the build-up.

It was tough on the Millers, with a barrel load of salt applied when McAteer netted his maiden professional goal as Leicester went straight down the other end, nodding in from close range following Kelechi Iheanacho’s cross on the left.

Creditably, the Millers regrouped and did not feel sorry for themselves and gave it a good go in a first half which saw them show threat down the right in particular and produce some encouraging pockets of play and not let Leicester’s class players settle and run the show.

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They had just one genuinely dangerous moment to ensure, shortly before the interval when there was an ocean of space and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall played in Stephy Mavididi down the left, but his low finish was tame and straight at Viktor Johansson.

At the other end, Rotherham troubled Leicester at times, with Hermansen doing well to claw away a deflected cross from the impressive Ollie Rathbone, while half-appeals for a penalty were turned down when Jannik Vestergaard challenged Lembikisa.

The Millers were patient and got their reward on the resumption and it was fitting that Onyedinma, given the controversy and his wrongful dismissal in the previous home game, was the scorer when he glanced in following a gem of a cross on the left from Andre Green.

The home players were starting to fancy it and so were the crowd, with those red and white putting a colossal shift in.

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Piqued somewhat, Leicester threw Jamie Vardy into the fray, with the Sheffielder getting the ‘treatment’ from home followers.

One scare saw Dewsbury-Hall, who looked the player most likely for City, fire over, while Hugill was off beam at the other end.

Leicester became more urgent as the half progressed. Johansson grasped Mavididi’s low shot and then the big Foxes contingent in the away end had their relieving moment.

It was a day for McAteer, who cashed in on Cohen Bramall’s error to crack home a curling shot and put City, somewhat flatteringly, back in front.

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Straightaway, the Millers threatened, with Eaves header blocked by the City defence as home followers shouted in vain for a handball. It was not to be. Again.

Rotherham United: Johansson; Lembikisa, Humphreys, Blackett, Bramall; Cafu, Tiehi (Kayode 81); Rathbone (McGuckin 87); Green (Appiah 72), Hugill (Eaves 71). Unused substitutes: Phillips, McCart, Bola, Morrison, Douglas.

Leicester City: Hermansen; Pereira, Faes, Westergaard, Doyle; Ndidi (Casadei 68), Winks, Dewsbury-Hall (Choudhury 88); McAteer (Juston 88), Iheanacho (Vardy 59), Mavididi. Unused substitutes: Ward, Stolarczyk, Albrighton, Castagne, Thomas.

Attendance: 11,418 (2,226 Leicester City fans).