Report: Rotherham United 2-1 Sunderland AFC

Rotherham United 2-1 Sunderland AFC

Joe Gelhardt’s first goal for Sunderland wasn’t enough as they narrowly lost out to Rotherham United at the New York Stadium in the Sky Bet Championship.

Ollie Rathbone’s 20-yard strike give the hosts a deserved lead at the midway point, Shane Ferguson doubled the home team’s advantage 10 minutes after the break before Gerhardt's header pulled a goal back for Sunderland.

Rotherham took the lead through captain Ollie Rathbone on 18 minutes, the midfielder collecting Tariqe Fosu-Henry's through-ball before drilling a left-footed shot into Anthony Patterson’s bottom right-hand corner.

The Black Cats almost replied instantly, firstly Alex Pritchard forced Viktor Johansson into a fine stop, tipping the midfielders curling effort from the edge of the box over the crossbar.

Pritchard found an unmarked Dan Ballard from the resulting corner; the defender rose highest inside the Rotherham box but agonisingly watched his header whistle wide of Johansson's far post.

Gelhardt had Sunderland’s final attempt in first-half-added time, but his shot failed to test Johansson and drifted well wide of his far post.

In a lacklustre first half from the visitors, Sunderland returned to the pitch with a point to prove and almost got off to the perfect start, but Gelhardt’s close-range volley was ruled out for offside.

Ferguson stunned the travelling supporters minutes later when Fosu-Henry broke inside his own half and picked out the Irishman’s lung-busting run down the left before arrowing his shot low into Patterson’s right-hand corner.

Sunderland got themselves back into the match on the hour mark, Luke O’Nien’s pinpoint cross finding Gelhardt, who perfectly timed his run inside the Rotherham box to head past Johansson at the back post.

The Miller’s thought they had sealed victory inside the final ten minutes when Connor Washington’s shot beat Patterson but rebounded off his far post before being hoofed clear of danger.

Substitute Patrick Roberts caused Rotherham’s defence various problems, this time the winger's inswinging cross met Gelhardt's head but Johansson was well positioned to comfortably save.

Sunderland continued to push forward looking for an equaliser deep into injury time, but Rotherham stood firm to claim a much-needed victory on home soil.

Sunderland XI: Patterson, O’Nien, Ballard, Batth © (Hume 62’), Cirkin (Alese 62’), Neil, Michut (Roberts 62’), Amad, Pritchard (Ba 83’), Clarke (Bennette 84’), Gelhardt.

Subs not used: Bass, Ekwah.

Rotherham XI: Johansson, Coventry, Fosu, Hugill (Kelly 79’), Ogbene, Ferguson (Lindsay 64’), Rathbone © (Washington 77’), Hall (Harding 45+1’), Peltier (Odoffin 79’), Humphreys, Hjelde.

Subs not used: Vickers, Bramall.

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