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Match Reports

Rotherham United (h), 2016/17

29 April 2017

PNE 1 Rotherham United 1

Stevie May marked his first start since October 2015 with his first goal for the Lilywhites as the home season ended in PR1.

The Scottish international striker curled home a superb equaliser from 20 yards just before half-time to draw the game level after Richard Smallwood’s equally impressive strike had given the Millers an early lead in the final home game of the season at Deepdale as the match ended all-square.

May had been chosen to partner Jordan Hugill in attack, whilst Aiden McGeady was given the captain’s armband as manager Simon Grayson made two changes to the side that lost at promoted Newcastle United the previous Monday,

The No.21 almost made a dream return to the starting XI as early as the sixth minute as his slid into the area to get onto the end of Tommy Spurr’s left wing delivery, but whilst he connected with the ball and diverted it past Richard O’Donnell, in goal for the visitors, it also went narrowly wide of the right hand upright.

But it was Paul Warne’s Rotherham United who took the lead. The relegated side starting brightly and when a Jon Taylor corner was headed out by Alan Browne, Smallwood connected superbly with a left foot volley from 25 yards into the bottom right hand corner – a very good finish, giving Chris Maxwell no chance.

It could have been two on the quarter hour mark as Cardiff loanee Tom Adeyemi hit the outside of the post with a shot from the edge of the box after Taylor had got down the left with pace and driven inside before laying the ball into the loan man.

The home side started to create opportunities and Daniel Johnson went close with two shots in a couple of seconds that are both blocked by Richard Wood – both were on target after a quick PNE counter attack.

Skipper McGeady also looked his usual lively self and in the box, he put a defender on the floor with his fast feet, but couldn’t get any power in his shot and fired straight at O’Donnell. And the Irishman then turned creator when his shot was blocked and from the rebound Jordan Hugill dragged a shot wide when unmarked 12 yards out.

But with three minutes left in the first half May grabbed the headlines. Collecting the ball from McGeady on the edge of the ‘D’ he was seemingly crowded by a number of Millers players, but hit a brilliant curling effort into the top right hand corner to level matters.

McGeady was inches away from putting North End in front on 77 minutes as a free kick, won by Hugill, 30 yards out, went around the wall, bet O’Donnell, but was an inch past the bottom of the right hand post as well.

Into the final five minutes and an amazing header off the line from Semi Ajayi prevented substitute Simon Makienok from heading home a second after McGeady’s brilliant trickery and cross from the left.

The big Dane then hit the bar from another substitute Horgan’s right hand byline cross as the Lilywhites tried to end their home campaign with a win, but they were unable to get the goal despite their pressure.

PNE line-up: Maxwell, Baptiste, Spurr, Browne, Browning, Huntington, Barkhuizen (Horgan, 65), Johnson, May (Robinson, 65), Hugill (Makienok, 81), McGeady (c). Subs not used: Lindegaard, Vermijl, Pringle, Boyle.

Rotherham United line-up: O’Donnell, Mattock, Vaulks, Wood (Belaid, 87), Frecklington (c) (Yates, 80), Taylor, Ajayi, Fisher, Clarke-Harris (Morris, 73), Adeyemi, Smallwood. Subs not used: Bilboe, Bray, Purrington, Warren.

Attendance: 11,032 (471 Rotherham United fans)

Referee: Mr R Jones

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