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James McClean’s goal gives Stoke victory over Rotherham

Stoke City v Rotherham United – Sky Bet Championship – bet365 Stadium
(Image credit: Barrington Coombs)

James McClean hit the only goal of the game as Stoke returned to winning ways against Rotherham.

McClean lobbed Jamal Blackman from the edge of the box after United failed to deal with Angus Gunn’s goal-kick on 27 minutes.

It ended a decent spell of pressure for the hosts which saw Tyrese Campbell and McClean both have chances.

Michael Miller was inches away from an equaliser after he shot on to the roof of the net five minutes later.

But Stoke never looked like surrendering their lead during a lacklustre second-half which saw both sides struggle to create any clear chances.

The Millers started brightest with Michael Ihiekwe having a goal chalked off for offside following a well-worked free-kick routine on eight minutes.

Campbell miscued a volley well wide on 10 minutes, before McClean failed to find the target after Campbell teed him up a minute later.

Campbell then chipped a cross-shot over the bar after seemingly getting caught in two minds on 16 minutes as the pressure continued to build.

Blackman turned behind McClean’s mis-hit cross on 19 minutes before Rotherham had a chance of their own, only for Freddie Ladapo to miss his footing at the crucial time and shoot wide after muscling his way into the box on 26 minutes.

The visitors went behind seconds later after Gunn’s resulting goal-kick sailed through to McClean and his lob fired the Potters in front.

Ihiekwe blocked a Nick Powell effort a minute later after he had initially lost his man.

Miller shot inches over for Rotherham from a tight angle on 32 minutes before Ladapo was unable to get a telling touch after Miller whipped a dangerous cross along the face of goal three minutes before the break.

Gunn was out of his box alertly to beat Ladapo to a through-ball and clear to safety at the start of the second half.

Campbell was crowded out from shooting after a jinking run into the box and Rotherham had a chance to make them pay but Florian Jozefzoon dragged an effort well wide after finding space on 69 minutes.

Michael Smith went into the book on 72 minutes after he hacked down Campbell as he burst through midfield.

Danny Batth’s header was comfortably saved from the resulting free-kick as Stoke continued to look flat.

Dan Barlaser smashed a 30-yard free-kick high over the bar with 10 minutes to go.

Angus MacDonald nearly scored a spectacular own goal to extend Stoke’s advantage after his attempted backpass from 35 yards lobbed over Blackman and went just wide in stoppage time.