The Morning After: Millwall 1-1 Blackburn Rovers


It has been well over a year since The Den was rocking and at near full capacity, but the performance and score-line was a carry over from the echoey stadium season...

 

It was Saturday, geographically not too far from Cold Blow Lane and we'd all come down to cheer....


After what felt like an eternity, an era of our lifetimes which will be on future exam papers across the globe and a world where all you could smell was hand sanitiser, the fans were back in SE16. It was a time we had been aching for: no more ballots, no more messaging friends asking if they were in ticket group A or B and a time when friends and family could get back into Zampa Road, past the horse manure and through the clicking rusting turnstiles to our seats.


QPR may have had an oxygen sucking atmosphere in the away end the week before, and the League Cup encounter with Portsmouth had fans tingling for what was coming, but the feeling and adrenaline all week was a return the EFL Championship action for Gary Rowett's men. Cold pies, warm beers, cashless bars and long queues were what was in store for those in the Dockers, Cold Blow Lane and Barry Kitchener Stands, but we would take all of this in return to see our side in navy take to the field again with the roaring monk chant.


A combination of an announcement from the man our club will always be grateful to, John Berylson, and the surrounding traffic, meant that kick-off was delayed by 15 minutes, but at 3:15, the whistle sounded and Millwall vs. Blackburn Rovers was underway.


The first half was a game that Millwall edged, with Jed Wallace showing just how much of a thorn in the side to other teams he is, and both Jake Cooper and Benik Afobe looking dangerous for the travelling side. George Saville also showed his dangerous side when his close range effort was deflected wide of the target for a corner, and when the half time whistle blew, there only really seemed to be one side in it.


The temperature was raising in the ground to match the anticipation of the home fans, and a lovely three pass movement which started in the Millwall back line saw the ball land to Scott Malone, and his inch-perfect cross was placed into the back of the net by Jed Wallace. As with the goal last week in West London, the net rippled and the crowd exploded with no need for goal music - we were on our way to 4 points from our opening two games, and for a Millwall fan this was the early start to our promotion push.... or so we thought.


After a number of Millwall free-kicks and corners that struggled to trouble the player at the near post, Blackburn Rovers showed us how it was done, as a glancing header from the re-named Ben Brereton Diaz beat Bartosz Bialkowski and drew the scores level in the 76th minute.


Millwall tried their last throw of the dice by bringing on super-sub, Matt Smith, but this was to little impact as the final whistle sounded and the points were shared. The game ended a disappointing 1-1, and Gary Rowett's drawing masterclasses from last season carried over into the 2021/22 campaign.

 

We Need To Know?!!!


Well it's Groundhog Day.... Again?!

Yes, it was another draw, and yes, Jed Wallace aside there was little attacking flair and creativity, but the substitutes were uninspiring and weren't given the time to stamp their mark on the game. Should these changes have been made before, or should Gary Rowett chosen different players to try and influence the game?


Ref or Tactics?

Every time the whistle blew there was a groan from the fans. You can argue, as Gary Rowett did, that some decisions did not go Millwall's way, but are we blaming the match official for our short comings in a game where we invited our opponents back into it?


Are we getting the best out of this team?

On paper, this is one of the strongest sides Millwall have had for a long time, but is Benik Afobe's effort and determination the main thing that he was brought in for? Are Scott Malone's attacking runs or crosses being read properly by his team mates, and is George Saville's 70ish minute performances enough at the moment?





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