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Rotherham held by Birmingham as Neil Warnock's reign starts with a point

Rotherham UnitedRotherham United
Birmingham CityBirmingham City
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Neil Warnock's survival mission at Rotherham began with a 0-0 draw with Birmingham in the Sky Bet Championship.

The 67-year-old was appointed as the Millers' new manager on Thursday with a 16-game brief of staving off relegation after Neil Redfearn was sacked on Monday.

And he watched on as his new side put in a battling performance and earned a point, despite playing the last 12 minutes with 10 men following Richard Wood's red card.

The Millers, who also had Joe Mattock dismissed in stoppage time, remain in dire straits though as they drifted to five points from safety after a surprise win for MK Dons at Derby.

Birmingham had the better of the chances in the second half, with Clayton Donaldson a constant threat, but they were below their best and missed the chance to close the gap on the top six.

Warnock's predecessor Redfearn saw his side concede after 67 seconds in his first match back in October but Warnock enjoyed a better beginning as it was an even start in South Yorkshire.

In fact, there was little in the way of action until the half-hour mark as the Millers came to life and created a cluster of chances.

First Paul Green was inches away from getting on the end of Kirk Broadfoot's header across goal, Matt Derbyshire forced Tomasz Kuszczak into parried save and then Danny Ward had a shot blocked when a loose ball fell to him.

Having barely threatened in the first half it did not take Blues long to improve after the break.

Attacking 2,614 travelling fans, they came within inches of taking the lead when Paul Robinson's looping header from Stephen Gleeson's free-kick landed just wide of the post.

They continued in the ascendency and Rotherham goalkeeper Lee Camp was forced into a fine fingertip save to deny Donaldson's first-time shot from the corner of the penalty area.

The Millers had chances too, though, with Danny Ward missing two opportunities, first shooting straight at Kuszczak and then planting a free header wide.

It was Birmingham who had the golden chance to break the deadlock 15 minutes from time when Jon Toral's incisive ball sent Jacques Maghoma clean through but Camp reacted superbly to come off his line and bravely block the shot.

Blues were given added impetus in the 78th minute as the hosts were reduced to 10 men when centre-half Wood was dismissed for two yellow cards after a foul on Donaldson.

They could not force any further chances while Rotherham had the indignity of ending the game with nine men as Mattock received a second booking for time-wasting.

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