Penalty practice makes perfect for Millwall striker Gregory

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

PENALTY practice made perfect for Lee Gregory after he converted twice from the spot on his way to a hat-trick against Derby.

The striker revealed he'd been spending extra time in training working on his technique following his miss against rivals Charlton earlier this month.

And his hard work paid off as he confidently tucked away penalties either side of half time to give Millwall a 3-1 lead over the Rams on Saturday.

But it was a bittersweet afternoon for the striker, who after being substituted watched on as the Lions were pegged back to 3-3.

"It feels like a defeat rather than a draw," he admitted. "It wasn't nice in the dressing room afterwards. We should be seeing out games like that."

Gregory, who had already pounced on Lee Grant's error to open the scoring, sent the 'keeper the wrong way after Lee Martin's shot was handled in the 36th minute.

And when Alan Dunne was bundled over early in the second half, the former non-league star drove the ball into the same corner – but well beyond Grant's full-stretch dive.

Despite fluffing his lines against the Addicks, Gregory, buoyed by his manager's backing, had no qualms about stepping up to take the Lions' next penalty.

He said: "When I missed in the Charlton game, Neil Harris said straight away that I was still on penalties and he told me not to worry about it.

"I've been practising every day in training for the past few weeks, so I knew which side I was going to put it and thankfully it came off for me.

"I tell the 'keepers to try to save them in training – I tell them before which side I'm going to go, and then the 'keeper has to save it.

"We practise penalties and finishing every day now. We're a lot more confident and we know what we're doing when we're going forward, and it's paying off."

Gregory's treble should have been enough to give the Lions a crucial victory in their battle against the drop.

But Jeff Hendrick's late equaliser for Derby means they can be relegated if Rotherham win their game in hand against Reading tomorrow.

"We were cruising at 3-1 up to be honest," Gregory reflected. "Their penalty killed us a little bit and pulled some pressure onto us, and then they scored a great third goal.

"There's no doubt about that, you're not going to save those.

"Now we're relying on Reading – hopefully they can get a result and it goes to the last game of the season.

"I'll definitely be following the game at home. Hopefully Reading can do the business, Rotherham will bottle it on the last day and we'll beat Wolves.

"I don't think we will get relegated. I think we'll pull out of it. Reading can definitely get a result and the pressure is on Rotherham."

Neil Harris has overseen a marked improvement in both results and performances during his nine games in charge – but time is about to run out.

While the damage was done long before Harris took over from Ian Holloway, Gregory admits Millwall have had plenty of chances recently to save themselves.

"We could've won some of these games – Derby, Cardiff and Brentford in particular," he said.

"If we'd won at Brentford and kept that 2-0 lead, held on against Derby and nicked a goal at Cardiff, we would be out of it.

"It's down to us [the players]. Neil's done a great job but we've had enough games, we just haven't pulled it off – yet."

Like many of his teammates, Gregory believes Harris should be handed the reins on a permanent basis at the end of the season.

He said: "Neil has put the belief back into the side and that's what we were missing. He's a great manager.

"On a personal note, I hope he does get the job because he favours me and believes in me. I think he deserves to get it, we'll have to wait and see."

Alex Aldridge

(@accordingtoaldo)

15 thoughts on “Penalty practice makes perfect for Millwall striker Gregory

  • April 27, 2015 at 09:53
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    9 goals for someone who last sason was playing pub football.is not a bad total considering he had to play under coco for most of the seson

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  • April 27, 2015 at 09:54
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    Now we figured out the scoring bit can someone sort our defence and keeper?

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  • April 27, 2015 at 09:57
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    i think Reading can take points off of Rovverum but winning at Wolves is a massive ask. but if its at all possible that a win could save us i think we will do it.....
    COYReading

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  • April 27, 2015 at 10:06
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    As Gregs has said we could be out of this now, Bomber has set the side up and played the players, who gave us the chance, 2 goals up against both Derby and Brentford both teams who are chasing promotion and off the bar another off the line and a missed sitter at Cardiff, Talk about getting someone else in is in my mind wrong, back Neil lets start again next season.

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  • April 27, 2015 at 10:49
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    Well done Greggs the practice obviously worked both were fantastic on Saturday I think he will be a real asset to us next season his running off the ball and creating space is getting better and better and I think whatever division we are in he will get 20 goals ( fingers crossed ) .
    How ironic it would be if Leeds keep us up next week after all as pointed out to me its a Yorkshire derby . In Reading we trust .......

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  • April 27, 2015 at 10:54
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    Enthralling game to watch - sickener at end - but can't deny quality of the strike.

    Difficult to separate the sides - one team which is (MAYBE!) going up and which team is (NOT!) going down. The set piece defence for their first goal was poor.

    What a contrast to the Norwich game - where every one of their attacks looked like it would end in a goal. No one knew what they were doing.

    I blame Holloway for converting me into a Reading supporter - if only for 2 hours tomorrow night...

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  • April 27, 2015 at 10:59
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    IF we are in league one we surely have a good nucleus of a squad, off the top of my head, forde,cummings, webster, beevers, nelson,goodman,williams,upson,gregory,o'brien,paris,fred,martin,powell,hoyte,abdou,edwards !! ( calm down, just put hoyte in there to make sure you were reading this, lol)............. a quality centre forward, a bailey type in midfield, a left back required?

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    • April 27, 2015 at 11:46
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      @rowanonthewing7: No Forde for me. I don't rate him and pretty sure he'll be off to pastures new. As for the impending clear-out, as much as I'd like to see the back of Dunne I'm sure he'll still be here. Adios though to- Shittu, Hoyte, Hoff, Fuller and lastly Edwards who I think is a fine player but whom will probably be medically retired.

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      • April 27, 2015 at 11:55
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        @NICKOLA: I'm not going to write of Edwards just yet. Apparently he's back in light training and looking good. He could certainly teach our fullbacks a thing or to on how to play the game should he take up a coaching role (fully deserved) if that's his plan after retiring from playing.

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      • April 27, 2015 at 12:18
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        @NICKOLA: I agree about forde, i was just going though who had contracts, i have always tried to defend forde to be honest, but i was very disappointed with his display saturday, the 'wall' for their first goal i think he was the only one who didnt see that ince was going to put it there !! and his kicking ! still, we have been here many times, so until tomorrows result from up norf, we still have a chance !

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  • April 27, 2015 at 11:36
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    Be gutted if we get a win at Wolves only to go down on GD if Rotherham get 2 draws.

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  • April 27, 2015 at 11:40
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    The next two months could be the most decisive for our club for many a year, the board have to decide on 1) who will manage the club 2) what players stay and who goes 3) what targets are lined up by our new recruitment team 4) will our manager be known as Head Coach and an adviser employed to take the mundane tasks of his shoulders and allow him to coach and select the team. 5) and the most important of all the size of the playing BUDGET. I would love to be a flu on the wall in that board room.

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  • April 27, 2015 at 12:53
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    As for budget, if you possibly can get your season ticket now just to show we, as fans, have a commitment to the club. Most of the big earners will almost certainly go would not be surprised if we keep the Hoover though, I think Forde will and we can get a fee for him. I am sure Neil's and Dave L wages, if, as I hope, they get the job will not be anything close to Holloway and Gibb, which certainly helps ease the pain of the payoff. Actually really looking forward to next season whatever league we are in, we seem to have got our Millwall back with Bomber, the youngsters are coming in along with the likes of Dunny ( i would have him in the squad) and Jimmy, I have just got my season ticket, as an Old F, at under eleven quid a match it allows me to go and have a chat with friends, let off steam with a shout at the ref/ lino/ team get the elation of a goal and all hopefully ending up with a Status Quo sing song at the end it does seem a bit of a bargain.

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  • April 27, 2015 at 14:52
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    If there was a choice of teams I wanted to play next, it would be Reading. They have finished their season and couldn't give a monkeys. So, unfortunately expect a comfortable win for Rotherham tomorrow.

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