FULL TIME: Birmingham 2, Millers 1

editorial image

Rotherham United boss Steve Evans kept faith with the side which was only minutes away from winning the South Yorkshire derby against Sheffield Wednesday for today’s Good Friday Championship clash at Birmingham City.

New boys goalkeeper Emi Martinez and right midfielder Lawrie Wilson started again 13 days after the 3-2 loss to the Owls at AESSEAL New York Stadium where the Millers had been leading 2-1 going into time added on.

Rotherham, five points clears of the drop zone, were looking for points after the international break against the midtable Blues before Brighton visit New York on Easter Monday.

With only five loan players allowed in a matchday squad, centre-half Ferrand Rawson and winger Adam Hammill missed out for the Millers.

Attacker Danny Ward is still nursing an injury but Evans says he may be available for the Brighton clash.

Birmingham named former Rotherham striker Wes Thomas among their substitutes, while new loan signing Diego Fabbrini from Watford, who featured for the Millwall against the Millers in February, was also on the bench.

Former Sheffield United ace David Cotterill started in midfield for the Blues.

Both teams took to the pitch in driving rain at St Andrew’s, and Cotterill had an early chance which was blocked away for a corner.

Martinez comfortably claimed the resulting set-piece.

But he was beaten in the 27th minute when a header out from Daniel Lafferty fell only as far as Clayton Donaldson, and Robert Tesche stroked the ball home to open the scores.

Martinez was then beaten for the second time when he spilled Cotterill’s free-kick, and Donaldson headed home.

Donaldson then fired a shot over the bar as the Millers struggled to hold on going into half time.

They did, and within minutes of the restart they were back in the game when Matt Derbyshire pulled a goal back.

Connor Sammon found Lee Frecklington, who forced a save from home goalkeeper Darren Randolph - but he could only parry it as far as Derbyshire, who was on hand to tap in from close range.

In the dying moments, Martinez denied Tesche with a stunning one-on-one save but it couldn’t inspire his side to find an equaliser.

Perhaps the only comfort for Evans was news that relegation rivals Wigan had lost 1-0 away at Middlesbrough.

Birmingham City (4-2-3-1): Randolph; Caddis, Morrison, Kiernan, Grounds; Gleeson, Tesche; Cotterill, Shinnie, Gray; Donaldson. Subs: Doyle, Robinson, Thomas, Novak, Davis, Fabbrini, Dyer.

Rotherham United (4-4-2): Martinez; Hunt, Morgan, Broadfoot, Lafferty; Wilson, Frecklington, Smallwood, Pringle; Sammon, Derbyshire. Subs: Collin, Rowe, Green, Yates, Milsom, Newton, Bowery.

Referee: Dean Whitestone (Northamptonshire).