Bristol City 1-0 Rotherham: Adam Webster hits winner against nine-man Millers
Billy Jones and Richie Towell sent off as Rotherham beaten late on at Ashton Gate
Last Updated: 29/12/18 7:30pm
Adam Webster headed an 86th-minute winner to give Bristol City a 1-0 Championship win over a Rotherham side who finished with nine men.
The centre-back was on hand to nod home Jack Hunt's cross from the right, with goalkeeper Marek Rodak just failing to keep the ball out with a desperate dive.
Rotherham were reduced to 10 men in the 64th minute when full-back Billy Jones, booked 12 minutes earlier, was shown a second yellow card for pulling back Famara Diedhiou.
That became nine men eight minutes later as Richie Towell leapt into a late challenge on Josh Brownhill in the centre of the pitch, earning a straight red from referee Scott Duncan.
The visitors showed tremendous resistance with their two-man disadvantage, but could not deny Lee Johnson's team extending their unbeaten run to seven games, with the Millers slipping into the relegation zone as a result.
Both sides squandered good chances in an open, entertaining first half. Rodak made the first save of note after 10 minutes, reacting smartly to keep out Diedhiou's near-post header from a Callum O'Dowda corner.
Jamie Paterson should have done better with a 13th-minute header that brought a comfortable save from Rodak, but soon Rotherham were showing attacking intent of their own.
Striker Michael Smith had a low 20th-minute shot saved by Niki Maenpaa, but the main threat from the visitors came in the shape of Jon Taylor, operating on the right.
He robbed Jay Dasilva only to shoot into the side-netting and in the 26th minute forced a low save from Maenpaa.
Taylor had two other opportunities before the half-time whistle, having a fierce shot parried by Maenpaa and volleying just wide after a weak punch from the City keeper.
At the other end, Paterson had a volley blocked and claims for a penalty when Diedhiou's header appeared to strike the arm of a Rotherham defender were waved aside by referee Duncan.
The second half soon followed the pattern of the first, with both teams hungry to attack, while lacking the finishing power to break the deadlock.
Then came the two dismissals and, with home fans roaring them on, City mounted wave after wave of attacks, only to be frustrated by some committed last-ditch defending.
Webster finally broke Rotherham's resistance and after the goal the home side went close to extending their advantage on several occasions.
Brownhill hit the crossbar, Rodak made a fine save to deny Paterson and substitute Andreas Weimann fired over when he should have scored.
Lee Johnson: "I thought we played really well. They made it really difficult for us. But this is a big win because, while we are on a very good unbeaten run, there have been a lot of draws. Adam Webster is a brilliant player, as good a central defender as I have had as a manager - and I have had some very good ones.
"He is like a version of Bobby Moore, the way he plays. That might sound outrageous, but the style is similar in terms of touch, sweeping up and reading the game. I had tried a bit of reverse psychology by telling him he would never score in a million years. Perhaps it worked. Derby winning has put us a bit further away from the play-off zone than I had hoped. But we are building something and will keep on chipping away to close the gap."
Paul Warne: "I am not the sort of manager to contest refereeing decisions. I felt we were the better side 11 against 11 and after the red cards we defended really well. We failed to defend one cross into our box. Had it not been for that mistake, my players would have left the pitch feeling like gladiators and it would have been a real lift for the games ahead.
"Every match in the Championship is like a cup final for us. But the spirit is clearly there to lift us up the table. I am really proud of what I saw today. We had good first half chances and I was disappointed not to come off at least 1-0 up at the interval. The sendings-off changed the game. There are no complaints from me over our performance and we just have to pick ourselves up and go again."