" Cracking result Gromit! "
His namesake had flown into space in a homemade rocket, had created a large pair of robotic trousers (which would take his dog for walks) and had moonlighted as a window cleaner while creating a sheep shearing machine. Millwall’s own Wallace engineered a performance to ensure that Norwich City would not endure a Grand Day Out, that this match would not be a Close Shave and that if performances like that continue for the Canaries, then life in the Championship could be A Matter of Loaf and Death.
The teams walked out onto the pitch with the new found air of confidence that had recently surrounded The Den. A few years back, the Norwich line up with their new continental manager would have had the fans as nervous as Shaun the Sheep who has just been loaded into the back of the lorry, but could this be the game which Harris had promised would be the one where we give a team a thrashing?
The match started with Millwall allowing Norwich to pass the ball around. Wallace was looking dangerous and energetic on the right but it was Norwich who had the first effort with a long range strike which Archer had excellently pushed around the post. The resulting corner didn’t produce anything, although Millwall were doing a great impression of a loyal parrot on a pirate ship and following the shoulder of every pirate in a Norwich shirt, as every time a shoulder was dropped and a dummy carried out, the guilty player seemed to follow it.
Some of the passing in the midfield was long and optimistic from Millwall, which was causing a few groans from the fans in Block 3, although those groans disappeared in the 15th minute. On the contrary to Gromit when he panicked at the sight of his birthday gift in The Wrong Trousers, Lee Gregory calmly collected his present from a Steve Morison flick on and coolly slotted it past Angus Gunn.
The Millwall fans could hardly catch their breath when only 2 minutes later Gregory picked up the ball again and played it through to Aiden O’Brien, who still had some work to do before he brilliantly teed up George Saville for the second. Norwich were being picked apart and like in the past when they were being taken down mines to see if the environment was toxic, these Canaries were struggling to stay alive in this atmosphere that Neil Harris’ superb team were creating.
Norwich continued to shoot from distance, but this seemed to be more out of desperation as the Millwall centre halves were immense. Hutchinson and Webster were stopping everything that was trying to come through and although there were occasional moments where Murphy was managing to find space behind McLaughlin on the left wing, Norwich rarely threatened and were just flapping their wings and chirping annoyingly in their cage that Millwall had created.
Jed Wallace was on the right hand side seemingly with the large green Wrong Trousers on, running in and out the centre midfield effortlessly, a constant threat and nuisance to the Norwich players. Neil Harris was channelling his inner Feathers McGraw, the penguin with the rubber glove on his head who controlled the trousers, as Wallace was doing everything that he was being told to do and nicely slotted the ball to Gunn’s bottom right hand side for Millwall’s third in the 42nd minute. 3-0 at half time. I had to go into the gents, splash water on my face and pinch myself. We had played well this season but we were in dream land. A near faultless half and a wonderful performance.
The second half began and before you could say “Let’s be having you!” Aiden O’Brien was in yards of space with an open goal but could only find the top of the cross bar.
Millwall continued to press and the cracking Wallace again forced a last minute clearance by the Norwich defender who narrowly missed his own goal and put the ball out for a corner. Norwich were getting more and more agitated and this was displayed when the Norwich left-back, Husband was acting like a man who was told he had to go food shopping with the wife rather than go out with his friends on a Friday night.
Webster again unfortunately was doing his Pretty Polly impression when a Hoolahan shoulder was dropped and Long John Silver had showed Webster where to go. Hutchinson luckily tidied up and left the Millwall fans thinking “Who’s a Pretty Boy then?”
Apart from one real effort, Norwich had been poor. But shoe on the other foot, Millwall had been excellent and the Canaries did not seem to know what to do. McLaughlin had picked up from a shaky first half and after a Morison volley that went back out for a throw, Hutchinson was rewarded with his pieces of 8 that he rightly deserved with a towering effort that flew past Gunn in front of the Cold Blow Lane End in the 72nd minute.
The final whistle sounded and Rockin All Over the World blared around The Den for the first time this season. Daniel Farke had said before the game that he would probably learn some new words down The Den, he was also taught a new way to play football. Millwall were more direct, aggressive and more importantly, clinical. A great and thoroughly well deserved performance by the team.
🏆 Man of the Match 🏆
Nick Park could not have written a better script and there was nothing stop/start about this performance.
💬 Fans after thought 💬
After each game, I will speak with a fan and gather their thoughts on the team and the season so far. This week’s guest is James Hook, who unfortunately missed Millwall’s first goal of the season against Bolton as he was in the toilet.
Favourite player this season:
Favourite all time Millwall player:
Greatest Millwall Moment:
FA Cup Semi Final v Sunderland, 2004
What did you think of today’s game:
Happy to suffer possession if it means being more clinical, which we definitely were! Hard to choose a MOTM. Real Championship test will be against Wolves as most teams we’ve played so far I think will be in and around us come the end of the season.
What do you think of the season so far:
The level of interplay & passing has gone up significantly since last season, with the new signings making a big contribution on that front. If we could have just been more clinical in the games against Nottingham Forest & Bolton we would be sitting in the play off positions which would be an accurate & fair reflection of our start to the season.