Ten-man United battle for a point
Carlisle United had to battle through the second half with only ten men as left back Conor Townsend landed himself in hot water following two rash challenges within the space of three minutes just before the break.
But his sending off brought a new resolve to an already stubborn visiting side as they stuck together and worked hard, and their endeavours almost earned them a late victory as they twice went close in time added on.
Rotherham looked lively as they started brightly and a long throw from Kari Arnison had O’Hanlon and Ehmer stretched. Paul Thirlwell moved across to block as Revell waited to pull the trigger.
More good work from the Millers left Kieran Agard in space and he almost gave his side the lead with just 90 seconds on the clock. His dipping shot had Amos beaten and he was relieved to see it whisk past his left hand upright.
A raking pass from Brindley had Tubbs interested and he beat Townsend as he made strides on the right flank. The Carlisle left back got a toe to the cross and Revell made a real mess of an attempted overhead kick. The home side played the better football but Amos dealt with everything as, more often than not, the wide men looked for early deliveries as they faced a stubborn rearguard action.
Ben Amos handled everything expertly and he showed a moment of class midway through the first half as Pringle stayed deep for a long range free kick. His connection was sweet as he received a sideways pass and the keeper had to dive low to stop it from creeping in.
Carlisle had to stay patient as a run of crosses from deep failed to ease the mounting tide of home pressure and a scuffed volley on the spin from Lee Miller summed up their mood as it spun off his boot and into the keeper’s hands. Liam Noble also wheeled away in frustration moments later when he shot early from the edge of the box. Collin followed it but it headed harmlessly away.
The Millers regained the upper hand and a slick move involving Brindley, Tubbs and Frecklington pulled the previously stubborn United defence completely out of shape. Paul Thirlwell dropped deep to mop up as Morgan stepped in to apply the finishing touch.
The Cumbrians thought they’d nicked the lead before the break when Berrett called for a quick free kick. He fed it to Robson and the wide man executed the perfect delivery as he looked for O’Hanlon inside the box. The big defender lost his marker and former-Carlisle stopper Adam Collin reacted quickly to make a two-handed push over the bar.
It was better from Kavanagh’s men and a chest down from Miller brought a tight one-two with the alert Matt Robson. The striker had the goals in his sights but he pulled his drive and it bobbled comfortably wide.
Two rushes of blood within the space of three minutes cost Conor Townsend and his side dearly as late challenges on Agard and Tubbs brought two yellow cards and an early shower. His lonely trudge down the New York stadium tunnel was accompanied by the realisation that his side were left to face a long 45 minutes as they were reduced to ten men.
It was all hands to the pumps after the break as Carlisle packed their own half and the frustration grew for the Millers as they struggled to break their opponents down. A deflected shot from Frecklington and a weak stab from Tubbs from the resulting corner was the best they could muster as the impatience on the terraces increased.
The lively Matt Tubbs was handed a clear run on goal, when Chimbonda lost possession in the Rotherham half, but his half-hearted effort at the side netting brought yet more jeers from the extremely impatient crowd.
United picked up on the unease on and off the field and they came out of their shells with some teasing balls down the flanks. A run of good corners eventually ended when O’Hanlon thundered a powerful header over the bar.
The Millers found renewed impetus with a double substitution and Nouha Dicko had an immediate impact as he jinked a path to the byline. His low cross spun up off Noble, bounced over the committed Amos and needed a clearance off the line from the retreating Max Ehmer.
Carlisle survived more late drama when Eaves bullied his way onto a deep corner and toe poked the ball through a gaggle of legs. Amos spotted it late and somehow made the save on his own goal line.
Rotherham camped forward but they were thwarted again by a third clearance off the line late in the day when Robson held his position for an Eaves header from a Dicko cross. It was going in but he popped it away to safety.
And it was Carlisle who almost nicked it with the last attack of the game when Berrett played Miller into space after a lovely and confident passage of play. Adam Collin spread himself and kicked it away right in front of the travelling Carlisle fans.
United - Townsend (43 & 45 - sent off)
Rotherham United - Collin, Brindley, Arnason, Morgan, Skarz, Agard, O'Connor, Frecklington, Pringle, Tubbs (Dicko 62), Revell (Eaves 62). Subs - Shearer, Davis, Mills, Milsom, Tidser.
Carlisle United - Amos, Chimbonda, O'Hanlon, Ehmer, Townsend, Thirlwell, Berrett, Noble, Symington (Amoo 74), Robson, Miller. Subs - Fleming, Livesey, Gillies, Potts, Beck, Guy.
Referee - Mr Mark Brown
Attendance - 7,520 (564 tbc)