Rotherham United 0-1 Birmingham City: Harlee Dean header robs Rotherham
Photo by @OfficialRUFC / via Twitter

Birmingham City stole the three points at AESSEAL New York Stadium to go nine points clear of the drop zone. 

Lee Bowyer's side were resilient in defence throughout the 90 minutes and took their chances when it mattered most. A deep cross by Marc Roberts was flicked on by Kristian Pedersen to find a committed Harlee Dean to meet it at the back post with a powerful header to take all three points. 

Story of the game

The opening 10 minutes was rather stop-start and the ball spent more time in the air than on the ground. 

Birmingham utilised Roberts' long-throw trait to great effect. Anytime Blues were awarded a throw-in 10 yards inside Rotherham's half, 21 players found themselves bunched up inside the 18-yard-box as if it was a corner. With Lukas Jutkiewicz's size and strength, he headed just over the bar. 

Lewis Wing found Angus MacDonald with a low-driven cross for Rotherham's best chance of the first half. MacDonald managed to get in front of the Blues defender and flicked his effort goalwards but it was inches wide. 

Rotherham came forward again, this time with Matt Crooks down the left-wing who cut the ball back for Michael Smith. Paul Warne said that Smith's goal in midweek was a collector's item because it was struck with his left foot and today that showed. The ball fell to Smith's weak left foot resulting in the effort sailing high and wide. 

Rotherham started the second half with purpose and high energy, Birmingham had their backs to the wall. The Millers had a fantastic opportunity to take the lead from a dangerous inswinging corner which had to be cleared off the line by Gary Gardner.

Birmingham's best chance of the second half came for Roberts with a back post header. The substitute, Ivan Sanchez, launched in a deep ball for Roberts to meet it with his head which forced Viktor Johansson to make his first save of the game.  

Birmingham's good spell got even better when Dean managed to meet Pedersen's flick-on to give Blues a 1-0 lead with less than five minutes to go. 

Rotherham continued like they had all match, long balls over the top and intensity. But Birmingham matched the energy with their defensive performance to hold on to the vital three points that will keep them in the Championship. 

Rotherham relegation situation

The Millers were promoted last season when League One was voted to end early by the EFL due to the global pandemic. With tough remaining fixtures to come and two games per week at a minimum until the end of the season, Rotherham will be disappointed they couldn't pick up three points when it was there for the taking today. 

For spells of the game they were the better side and had plenty of chances. To have the ball cleared off the line and plenty of shots inches wide, they can consider themselves unlucky. But they still have two games in hand on Derby County who are four points above the Millers. 

Rotherham's remaining matches don't look too kind; Middlesbrough, Barnsley, Brentford, Blackburn, Luton and Cardiff

Warne can take positives from today's performance and will need his side to remain motivated for the rest of the season if they are to pull off some sort of a miracle and stay up.

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