For the third time this season we failed to win in London but it could have been a lot worse and in hindsight, a point is a good result away at Millwall. You’ll recall in the preview for the game I touched on the fact that they saw off Middlesbrough and Sheffield United whilst having significantly less of the ball so bearing that in mind, they were always going to look to counter us as opposed to dominating the ball and that’s exactly how their first goal came about.
The genius that is Ruben Neves threaded a pinpoint pass through to the onrushing Matt Doherty, but his shot was saved and we were awarded a corner. Chance. From the corner, Millwall scored, work that one out. It took fourteen seconds from when the corner was taken for the ball to be in the back of John Ruddy’s net and to be fair to the ‘Lions’ it was a blistering counter-attack which was started by their keeper punching the ball out; from the punch ex-Wolves man Jed Wallace beat Ruben Neves in the air and then he drove with the ball, played a superb through ball and Gregory made it 1-0. Bollocks.
Minutes later it was nearly two as our defence decided that they weren’t going to bother marking Millwall players as the Millwall forward should have really done better, even though he was stretching. Neves was again the architect as we looked to respond in the best possible way as he produced an exquisite lofted through ball which Costa, who was in for Bonatini, took in his stride but took one too many touches as he eventually hit it at the keeper, it would be a sign of things to come, however.
“That’s why we’re top of the league”
Costa made amends for his earlier miss just before the referee blew for the interval as he performed a fantastic dummy and turn to sell the Millwall defender down the river, he then continued his run into the box and squared to Diogo Jota who was arriving right on time to send the travelling support who were housed behind the opposite goal, into raptures. Just what the doctor ordered before halftime. On a slightly worrying note, whilst Jota was drawing us level, Cavaleiro was down on the deck and he didn’t reappear for the second half as Bonatini replaced him.
We drew first blood after the break as Jota turned provider as he zipped a pass across the turf which could have put Costa clean through if he had got there earlier, either way, he managed to do something constructive with the ball as he fed it back to Saiss who arrowed it into the top corner, 2-1. It could have been three not too soon after if it wasn’t for the good work of Archer in the Millwall goal; a corner broke out to Neves and it was the worse of the two extremes when it comes to his shooting and his shot was heading for the corner flag, but Jota was unmarked and in the right place at the right time. Unfortunately, he couldn’t beat Archer and the advantage remained only one.
No one likes losing their Willy, especially not Nuno Santo and it was no surprise that after he was withdrawn for what seemed to be a recurrence of an injury which kept him out earlier in the campaign, that Millwall equalised. Before they did draw level, there were indicators of what was to come as Roderick Miranda, who came on for Boly, chested the ball right to Millwall’s frontman and if it wasn’t for Coady chopping him down, that could have well been 2-2 then.
Their equaliser was, to put it lightly, a fucking shambles. The corner was crossed in and they won the ball at the back post and headed it back across the goalmouth which isn’t too much of an issue because normally we win the second balls, not this time. There were THREE fucking players marking one man and he beat them all in the air to head it in, ridiculous. Guess what they’ll be doing in training as when we face Bristol City on Saturday it will be the same again as Flint is a man mountain and if we struggle to contain Millwall, then what hope have we got against Bristol City? Nowt. Bear in mind this is without me even getting started on the keeper and his positioning but I quite like doing this writing lark and think if I went into Ruddy, I would have privileges taken off me.
Chance to go eleven clear
Apart from Douglas’ free-kick being saved in the dying embers of the game, that was that and considering Cardiff lost, a point wasn’t actually too bad and the maximum we can get now is 121, which is still respectable, I guess.
The game against Bristol City is massive. If we win, we’ll go eleven ahead of them and I think they are the team we need to watch, not Cardiff as I think Warnock will lose his head and hopefully they’ll miss out on the playoffs. Big decisions will have to be made regarding Boly’s and Cavaleiros’s fitness, but I trust Nuno implicitly.