Millwall have historically always under performed in the game after FA Cup victories and with struggling Rotherham United this weekend’s visitors to The Den, it was down to the Lions to produce a show of magic from their key players to break this curse. Unfortunately for the South London side, this would be another underwhelming hangover from a momentous game only the weekend before.
The action started early in the game for the Lions when a deep cross from the right hand side in the 2nd minute landed at the feet of Murray Wallace on the far post. The full-back took a touch and went down from the faintest of touches before the ball fell to Ben Marshall outside the box. Using his wand of a right foot, the winger pointed it at his target, but it was just too high as it bounced off the top of the Rotherham cross bar.
The visitors seemed out of their depth from the opening whistle and Ben Thompson, Ben Marshall and Murray Wallace on the left-hand side were causing the Millers problems from the start, but although the Lions were far and away the better side for the opening period, it took a while for the next real chance of the game. A corner was swung into the penalty area in the 20th minute and Jake Cooper rose well to meet the ball, but unfortunately his close-range effort was off target.
The 26th minute saw Marshall looking dangerous and again looked like he would cast a spell on the away side and put Millwall in front. Picking up the ball on the left-hand side and running across the face of the penalty area before laying the ball off to Mahlon Romeo. The Lions’ full-back delivered a lovely cross into the penalty area, but this rare moment of magic was ruined by the ball being just too high for Ben Thompson and going out for a goal kick.
The 35th minute once again saw the home side come close from a corner and this time it was the magic man who was at the end of a searching cross. Standing within the Rotherham six-yard box and connecting, Marshall got his head to the ball, but once again this effort was off target.
The half-time whistle blew just after Jordan Archer caught a rare attack from the Millers, and the first half ended on the 45 minute mark goalless.
The second half started slowly, and it wasn’t until the 52nd minute when Rotherham had a chance after some clumsy head tennis, but a drilled effort went high and wide of Jordan Archer’s crossbar.
The visitors came close again in the 55th minute and should have took the lead when a throw in was launched into Millwall’s box and caught Jordan Archer exposed. With the Millwall shot stopper beat, a hooked effort was launched towards Millwall’s goal, but luckily for the Lions Ben Marshall did an amazing re-appearing illusion and appeared from nowhere to clear the ball off of the goal line.
Only two minutes later in the 57th minute, a goal line scramble resulted in Jordan Archer gathering the ball on the goal line before a late, late tackle from Richard Wood. The home side and fans were incensed as the Rotherham captain seemed to have caught Archer with two feet and a short melee ensued, but the referee soon took back control and saw the Millers’ captain receive a yellow card.
It was in the 83rd minute when Millwall though they had taken the lead when Jed Wallace did his job perfectly as the magician’s assistant and crossed in a beautifully weighted ball, but the rabbit pulled from the hat from the on-loan midfielder, Ben Marshall just wasn’t enough and the ball went wide.
The last chance of the game was in the dying minutes of injury time and after another phenomenal piece of heroics from Jed Wallace, the ball was crossed into the path of Lee Gregory and all he had to do was get a good connection to secure victory for the Lions. The striker made the connection, but by some miracle, the ball went wide of the far post and the final whistle sounded straight after to signify the end of the game.
A draw was a fair result for both sides, but the Lions will be left thinking why they did not take more advantage of the pressure they piled on their visitors from their first half set pieces and Lee Gregory will be left thinking how his effort did not grant Millwall the three points.
Millwall: Archer, Hutchinson, Cooper, Williams, J. Wallace, Thompson (Morison 64'), Gregory, Romeo, M. Wallace, Leonard, Marshall.
Subs not used: Martin, Onyedinma, Ferguson, Pearce, Tunnicliffe, O'Brien.
Rotherham United: Rodak, Mattock, Vaulks, Ajayi, Wood, Robertson, Crooks (Towell 89'), Ihiekwe, Yates (Vassell 67'), Smith, Jones.
Subs not used: Price, Vyner, Forde, Taylor, Newell.