Fri 14 Apr 17
at 17:15 PM
Report: Rotherham United 1 Blues 1
Blues were left disappointed as they headed back to Birmingham with a 1-1 draw at the New York Stadium.
Kerim Frei’s excellent free-kick looked to have given Blues all three points, but Danny Ward’s first-time 25-yard effort found the bottom corner with five minutes to go.
Gianfranco Zola named an unchanged team from last Saturday’s defeat with the only change seeing Jerome Sinclair replace Clayton Donaldson - who is out injured.
Both sides started at a frantic pace and it was Blues who had the best chances in the half.
David Davis saw a fierce goalbound effort blocked by the last defender, whilst Ryan Shotton got a good connection on Craig Gardner’s corner but it curled wide.
Gardner then minutes later saw an excellent free-kick tipped onto the post by Richard O’Donnell before Lukas Jutkiewicz was booked for diving despite having a strong claim for a penalty.
The hosts, who are already heading to League One, had brief moments, but striker Carlton Morris headed their best opportunity straight at Tomasz Kuszczak.
Zola introduced Frei at the break and Blues changed from their traditional 3-5-2 to a 4-4-2 diamond in search of goal.
Kuszczak however made a good low deny to Vaulks’ in-swinging effort minutes into the half and Shotton did excellently to divert Richie Smallwood’s low ball over the bar with Morris waiting to tap-in.
Blues continued to push forward and got their reward after a spell of extended pressure.
Jutkiewicz and Gardner both saw their free-kick attempts thwarted before Che Adams was fouled in a central position, just yards outside the area.
Frei stepped up and hit a dipping right-footed free-kick past the ‘keeper and into the corner.
It was an excellent finish that gave O’Donnell no chance.
Maikel Kieftenbeld was introduced after the goal, but Rotherham responded with a goal.
Blues half-cleared and Ward, who was 25-yards, found the far bottom corner with a low curling effort.
It was a hammer blow and Rotherham immediately followed with a more direct style that nearly created a another with seconds to go.
With Blues throwing everybody forward, substitute Jerry Yates received a low cross at the far post but he fired over unmarked.