EFL

Gary Rowett felt Birmingham lacked rhythm as they drop points at Rotherham

By Sports Desk April 20, 2024

Birmingham interim manager Gary Rowett was left frustrated after his side were held to a 0-0 draw at Rotherham.

The result edged the Blues two points clear of the Championship relegation zone but it was a missed opportunity to move closer to safety against the already-relegated Rotherham.

Steve Evans was back in the home dugout following his shock midweek return following the sacking of Leam Richardson and he will have been pleased with the spirited display which kicked off his second stint as Millers’ boss.

Play was stopped for more than half an hour after nine minutes of the first period when referee Keith Stroud was alerted to a medical emergency in the home stand, with the supporter being taken to hospital after receiving treatment.

The game lacked quality following the restart but burst into life in the closing stages, with Birmingham’s Jay Stansfield having an effort ruled out for offside.

Rowett said: “It was an attritional game. The way that Rotherham are going to be set up, you know they’re going to be very direct and play for second balls and make it difficult to get out.

“I thought it was difficult to find any rhythm. It was a tough game.

“The first half was a non-event. Second half was a little bit better, we just needed those moments of quality to open the game up. Sometimes we did that without finding an end to it and sometimes we lacked composure.”

On Stansfield’s disallowed goal, Rowett added: “There is a player in or around the goalkeeper. There is about 15 but one is in an offside position. I don’t think he saves it anyway. It does not impact the keeper’s vision. He hits it so hard and low and wide of the keeper that he isn’t going to save it.”

Birmingham lead third-bottom Huddersfield by two points and they travel to face the Terriers next weekend.

“I don’t think you can get any bigger at this stage of the season,” Rowett added.

“Every game is massive and every game is one where you don’t want to waste an opportunity. We just could not quite find that winning goal today.”

Rotherham boss Steve Evans is glad to be back at the New York Stadium.

He said: “It was everything you would have wanted. It was exciting. It was a fantastic welcome. How I got received will go down as another wonderful memory at this place.

“That is how we play. We played against a team fighting for their lives and against top players.

“The boys have gone through the pain barrier. All we can do is freshen them up and get them ready for Bristol City and Cardiff.

“The break in play changed the momentum of the game because they were under the cosh. It was like starting afresh. It gave the Birmingham lads an opportunity to reset.

“We asked the boys to work incredibly hard. From a neutral point of view a draw was probably a fair result.”

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