Substitute Freddie Ladapo emerged the hero in this South Yorkshire derby
after his inch-perfect finish, just moments from time condemned
newly-appointed Sheffield Wednesday gaffer Darren Moore to defeat by
10-man Rotherham United.
With seconds left on the clock, the former Plymouth man cut in from the left hand
flank before notching a 20-yard effort past Owls ‘keeper Joe Wildsmith to put an end
to the Millers’ losing streak of five games and hand Paul Warne’s outfit a welcome
boost in the fight against relegation.
Wednesday signalled an early threat first through Sam Hutchinson and then Callum
Paterson, however it was the visitors who got their noses in front when lone striker
Michael Smith met Florian Josefzoon’s cross and headed home for his eighth of the
Owls boss Moore would have been pleased with the response from his side,
midfielder Liam Shaw displaying crafty footwork to tee up Barry Bannan, though the
skipper could only find the empty stands.
Academy graduate Shaw was again creator when he picked out Paterson shortly
afterwards but the elusive cutting edge evaded them once more as the veteran
frontman drilled wide of the near post.
There would be controversy midway through the second period with goalscorer
Smith issued a straight red card for appearing to react to a foul on him by Owls
centre-half Julian Börner.
Wednesday made the extra player count on 82 mins; Rotherham’s Matt Olosunde in
the wrong place at the wrong time and seeing a cruel ricochet level up proceedings
It looked for all the world like the spoils were about to be shared before Ladapo took
centre stage and ensured Rotherham made the short drive home armed with all
three points – a result that leaves Sheffield Wednesday seven points adrift of
Sheffield Wednesday boss Darren Moore told the club’s media:
“I want the players to reset quickly. Football’s got a funny knack of kicking you right
where it really hurts. The longer we work together, the better the understanding will
be. What we have to do is settle down as a squad and find a rhythm.
“I’ve learnt a lot tonight. I always feel with that sort of performance, the results are
never too far away.
“The pleasing things were our shape, getting into the opposition’s box umpteeth
times. We’re still in with a shout.”
Rotherham United manager Paul Warne:
“It’s the nicest walk to the dressing rooms I’ve ever had. I was thinking that must be
time – I’ll take the point – but when it fell to Freddie [Ladapo]’s feet I heard Richie
[Barker] say, right, let’s see what you’ve got. It was like something out of Disney.
“In the last five games we’ve lost by a single goal and not been playing badly.”
On Michael Smith seeing red: “I’ve spent three years trying to get him to be
aggressive. I feel for the lad as out of everyone in there he’s the one that is a bit
disappointed. He was a constant thorne in their side.
“If I look at the league table, it’s still not great news. But all we can do is scrap and
fight and show our character for these final 14 games.
“I’m just going to enjoy the night for what it is.”
Sheffield Wednesday: Wildsmith; Palmer (Marriott 86), Lees, Borner, Penney;
Hutchinson (Brown 80), Shaw; Reach (Harris 73), Bannan © (Rhodes 86), Windass
(Kachunga 73); Paterson.
Subs not used: Jackson, Urhoghide, Dunkley, Pelupessy.
Rotherham United: Johansson; Olosunde, Harding, A. MacDonald, Giles (Clarke
76); Jozefzoon (Ladapo 70), Barlaser (Sadlier 90+2), Wing, Wiles; Crooks ©; Smith.
Subs not used: Blackman, S. MacDonald, Hirst.
Sheffield Wednesday: Olosunde (OG) 82
Rotherham United: Smith 17, Ladapo 90+6
Sheffield Wednesday: Harris 90+5
Rotherham United: Smith (s/o) 67
Referee: Darren Bond
Man of the Match: Lewis Wing