"Lazarus, come forth!"
The resurrection of Lazarus is one of the most famous tales in scripture in which Lazarus of Bethany is brought back to life after being perceived to have been dead and buried after an extended period of time. On a cold and wet Saturday afternoon in South Bermondsey, a club led by Neil Harris who many thought were on a path to being dead and buried managed to rise up from certain relegation and breath life into our Championship campaign that may just see us stay up.
The Den was rocking and although it was the visitors who retained possession in the opening segments of the game, it was Millwall who came close in the 10th minute of the match. Working well and battling on the right wing, Ben Thompson managed to get a low cross into the penalty area, but Lee Gregory could not connect effectively and skied it over the crossbar.
The match continued to be a feisty affair and although there was some excellent tracking back from Ryan Leonard in the 23rd minute to win Millwall possession and Ben Thompson again showed his love for the club with a desperate blocked that ricocheted off of the side of his face, it wasn't until the 30th minute when the Millwall fans saw the next real chance, and goal! The impressive and recently reborn Ryan Tunnicliffe unleashed a long range effort from outside the Baggies' penalty area which ricocheted off a West Brom defender and nestled into Sam Johnstone's net. The home fans were euphoric as the Lions took the lead and no longer wept as Millwall were showing signs of life.
Inspired by his team mate, Jed Wallace picked up the ball and hit a superb effort from distance in the 34th minute which would've many goalkeepers beaten, but Johnstone reached out well to keep the score at only 1-0.
Just before the half time whistle, David Martin pulled off his own miracle in the Millwall goal by keeping out a superb long range shot by Conor Townsend. With the ball destined to ripple the Millwall goal, Martin acrobatically lept and somehow pushed the ball over the bar to rapturous applause from the home supporters around The Den. The referee whistled to signify the end of the opening forty-five minutes and Millwall went in a goal up.
Not wanting to let the momentum die down, Jed Wallace was first out of the blocks in the opening moments and his well struck shot after some great work by Ben Thompson and Ben Marshall was aimed towards Johnstone's near post, but his effort was deflected wide.
The Lions continued to press and came close to doubling their lead again when Ryan Leonard had a long range shot in the 53rd minute after calls from the home stands, but his effort could only got wide of target.
A rare chance from the visitors came in the 58th minute after an uncharacteristic mistake from Mahlon Romeo fell at the feet of Hal Robson-Kanu, but a perfectly timed block from James Meredith saw the danger cleared and Millwall hold on to their lead.
Only two minutes later on the hour mark, West Brom were given a chance for their own revival when Jake Cooper brought down Newcastle United loanee Dwight Gayle. Up stepped Jay Rodriguez to bring the Baggies level, but the away fans were stunned as the experienced striker dragged his spot kick wide of the target.
In the 66th minute it was all over for the Midlands side as some good work on the right hand side saw a cross come in and the ball deflected off of Ahmed Hegazi and bounce into the back of the West Brom defender's own net. The scoreline was doubled and there was no answer back from the side who are eyeing a return to the Premier League.
Millwall had the chance to extend their lead in the 74th minute when Lee Gregory was the first to react to a goalkeeping spill after a Ben Thompson shot, but his effort too was palmed away.
The final straw for West Brom was in the 80th minute when Hegazi was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence before stupidly booting the ball into the bottom tier of the Cold Blow Lane end. A second yellow was shown and the red card that came from James Linington's back pocket signified the end of the defender's game.
The final whistle sounded and ensured Millwall had three vital points in the battle for survival. It may not be all over yet, but this was the victory the Lions needed to be a shot in the arm on the race to Championship safety.
Millwall: Martin, Meredith, Cooper, J. Wallace (O'Brien 85'), Thompson, Gregory, Romeo, Pearce, Tunnicliffe, Leonard, Marshall.
Subs not used: Archer, McLaughlin, Williams, Skalak, Elliott, Morison.
West Bromwich Albion: Johnstone, Robson-Kanu (Murphy 72'), Johansen, Livermore, Brunt, Townsend, Gayle, Rodriguez (Mears 85'), Adarabioyo, Hegazi, Holgate.
Subs not used: Gibbs, Leko, Edwards, Bond, Harper.