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 09:10
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    Well done gregs now practice one on one

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  • 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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