Michael Appleton praises goalkeeper Josh Griffiths after draw with Rotherham

Michael Appleton praised on-loan goalkeeper John Griffiths (Nick Potts/PA) (PA Wire)
22:48pm, Tue 14 Sep 2021
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Lincoln’s on-loan goalkeeper Josh Griffiths drew the praise of manager Michael Appleton after his second-half heroics helped the Imps earn a point in a 1-1 draw in their Sky Bet League One clash with Rotherham.

His impressive performance, where he made at least five excellent saves, did not go unnoticed by Appleton who heaped praise on the young stopper, after seeing substitute Lewis Fiorini cancel out Michael Smith’s first-half opener for the Millers.

“He had a great game and showed great character,” said Appleton.

“It’s been a difficult start to his campaign, but to come through that type of match with crosses and set-pieces raining in on him, shows the type of character he’s got and what sort of goalkeeper he is going to be.

“Rotherham were better than us tonight probably due to the physicality of their players. We didn’t stand up to it in the first half and we gave a really poor goal away. But then in the second half, although they had a lot more shots, we stood up to them more.

“There was a bit of quality with our goal and I was happy with a point knowing that was about the best we were going to get out of the game.”

Just seconds after Fiorini had come on to replace the injured Conor McGrandles, Smith fired the Millers ahead, with the big striker slamming home Freddie Ladapo’s cross.

The Imps got back on level terms 10 minutes after the break when Chris Maguire threaded a ball through to Fiorini and as the Millers defence parted, he strode through to drive the ball past Viktor Johansson.

Griffiths, who had kept out Smith and Ollie Rathbone in the first half, then produced a couple of superb saves from Smith and he also denied Kieran Sadlier as the Imps clung on.

Millers manager Paul Warne was frustrated his side could not carve out a winner, but was delighted with his team’s display at a red-hot LNER Arena.

“I thought our performance was bordering on outstanding – it was one of the most enjoyable games I have seen since becoming manager of this club,” he said.

“We were very good and I don’t think anyone in the stadium could have begrudged us a second goal. I shook Chris Maguire’s hand afterwards and he said it was ‘absolute daylight robbery’ and that’s how it felt.

“Their goalkeeper got man of the match, he made some great saves, but we just needed that second goal and unfortunately we didn’t get it.

“We played at the sort of level that, if I was a football fan, I would want us to be playing at. We had 20 shots away from home against a very good side, with a lively crowd, but no one misses on purpose, although it is frustrating we didn’t take our chances.”

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