The Don Valley Stadium. The name sends a shiver down my spine. We went there two seasons ago for a Johnstones Paint Trophy game and witnessed the very worst performance from a Leicester team that would win the League One title that season in style. But that was not all. We got stuck in a traffic jam due to an accident on one of the approach roads which entailed us going back to the M1 and approach the ground from Junction 33. The weather was dreadful, we struggled to find a parking space due to our late arrival. To top it all I ended up having a row with a steward over the fact that we were forced to go out a totally different exit to where we came in miles from where the car was parked only to walk past the same spot 15 minutes later. And it was still raining!
So a pre-season friendly for the Foxes was not going to be on my agenda was it? Well due to a change in circumstances I do not have a Season Ticket for the Walkers this season and my City games will be restricted, so a relatively nearby game for £10 appealed.
However, a sense of déjà vu came as we hit a traffic jam outside Meadowhall. Bloody Rod Stewart! We didn’t move for ten minutes and I made the decision to turn round and head back to Junction 33. This time we were parked up just a short walk from the ground and in plenty of time. The Don Valley is the temporary home for Rotherham United and I have great admiration for the their supporters who go there. It really is not a football stadium and the view of the pitch is somewhat distant. The Club have made the effort to put up signs outside the ground and it does feel like their home ground as you walk to the away turnstiles. The stewards are very friendly, a total contrast to my previous visit, and once inside I’m able to get some photos with no hassle.
Leicester started with a strong line up and included new signing Kennedy at left back. City started brightly and had several chances before taking the lead on 12 minutes when a cross from Dyer was played back to Gallagher who put the ball in the back of the net. Not long after this another good move ended with Howard heading just over. City were playing well and looked comfortable but the good work was undone on 18 minutes when keeper Weale rushed to the edge of the box and flattened Elliott in his attempt to clear a short back pass. Adam Le Fondre converted the penalty to make it 1-1. This boosted the Millers and only a good save from Weale kept out Le Fondre. Rotherham created a few more chances but it was City who nearly took the lead again with a Campbell free kick just deflected wide. The teams went in for half time with no further score.
City came out for the second half having made 8 changes to the line up and they were nearly made to pay as a shot from Elliott came back off the post with keeper Logan beaten. After this though City looked the more likely to score and the pressure was rewarded on 60 minutes when another good move ended with Campbell scoring a with a clinical finish. To be fair to Rotherham they still were coming forward themselves but their finishing was fairly wayward. Any chance of an equaliser was snuffed out by a floodlight failure and after a few minutes of standing around it was decided to end the game.
Not a bad game and home for 11pm.
More pictures of The Don Valley Stadium here.
Rotherham United 1-2 Leicester City
Programme: None available