MATCH REPORT: Rotherham 0 PNE 0

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Bailey Wright rattled the bar but PNE failed to ripple the back of the net as they drew 0-0 with Rotherham at the New York Stadium.

In a fiery affair on a damp and dreary night North End could not beat Millers keeper Kelle Roos and North End’s new shot-stopper Jordan Pickford’s powerful punches and a glaring miss by veteran striker Matt Derbyshire ensured PNE bagged their third consecutive league clean sheet.

PNE boss Simon Grayson named the same starting XI that beat MK Dons 1-0 on Saturday as Jermaine Beckford is still unavailable due to a knock.

Rotherham started brightly as Lewis Buxton twisted and turned past Cunningham on the right before smashing the ball into the path of Derbyshire. But the experienced striker wasted a golden opportunity to break the deadlock by firing wide in the 13th minute.

Joe Newell carved his way through PNE’s middle but fortunately he ran out of steam as he reached the box and Derbyshire was unable to pounce as the ball trickled to safety.

Tom Clarke’s fierce cross nearly picked out Greg Cunnigham at the back post but Rotherham keeper Roos jumped high to thwart the danger.

PNE’s best chance of the half was a low long range effort from Garner that fizzed into the welcoming arms of Roos.

Rotherham captain Halford was booked for taking out Daniel Johnson mid run but Gallagher’s subsequent set-piece flew into the path of Roos.

As the half came to a close the game became a feisty affair with both sets of fans angered by some decisions by referee David Coots.

Garner was booked after an aerial collision with Halford in the 37th minute and Newell was booked for a foul on Tom Clarke just before the break.

PNE had a lively start to the second half. Garner challenged with Roos to meet Clarke’s cross in the box. The striker managed to get the touch and head the ball over the shot-stopper but Joe Mattock was on hand to mop up the danger and stop the ball trickling over the line in the 49th minute.

Will Keane raced forward into space and let rip from the edge of the box but his shot flew over the bar in the 55th minute.

Rotherham brought on Clarke-Harris and White and the changes rejuvenated the crowd as they piled the pressure on PNE.

But North End still threatened on the counter and Mattock was booked for bringing down Keane in the 60th minute.

The 1,040 travelling North End fans had their hearts in their mouths as Coote blew up when John Welsh fouled White. But fortunately he ruled the offence was just outside the box and Pickford was on hand to punch the set-piece away in the 62nd minute.

Clarke-Harris continued to pose a threat but he smashed Derbyshire’s neat knock down on the edge of the box out into the crowd.

And Clarke-Harris was booked for a late challenge on Clarke in the 71st minute.

Wright nearly broke the deadlock in the 77th minute but his fine header from Gallagher’s corner rattled the bar.

Substitute Neil Kilkenny stung Roos’ palms as the shot-stopper had to dive to tip his curling effort round the post in the 84th minute and Paul Huntington headed straight at Roos from the resulting corner.

PNE substitute Marnick Vermijl was booked for a late challenge but despite five minutes added time neither side could produce a winner.

PNE: Pickford, Wright, Huntington, Clarke, Cunningham, Humphrey (Vermijl, 71) Gallagher, Welsh (Browne, 90), Johnson, Garner and Keane (Kilkenny, 71). Subs not used: Kirkland, Woods, Browne, Brownhill, Reid.

Rotherham: Roos, Buxton, Mattock (Green, 71) Maguire (White, 56), Frecklington, Halford, Bowery (Clarke-Harris, 56), Newell, Derbyshire, Smallwood. Subs not used: Collin, Ledesma, Green, Thorpe.

Referee: David Coote (Nottinghamshire)

Attendance: 9,078 (1,040)