Millwall exit Capital One Cup: Three things we learned

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

WE take a look at some of the talking points after Millwall were knocked out of the League Cup by Barnet.

The Lions came back to level through Steve Morison after John Akinde had put Barnet ahead before Andy Yiadom sent the Bees through to the second round.

From Lee Gregory’s importance to the side to Millwall’s habit of going behind in games, we analyse the Lions’ latest result and what it means.

1. Gregory makes a difference

Neil Harris wanted a trimmer squad this season – and the stats show a positive correlation between the fewest number of players used per season and final league positions – but two or three injuries can quickly reveal limitations.

Harris rested Lee Gregory last night and probably would have liked to have been in the position to leave him on the bench for the entire evening.

But, with John Marquis struggling to impose himself and strike up an understanding with Steve Morison, Gregory was summoned on 66 minutes to replace his team-mate.

The former Halifax Town striker has a knack of always seeming to find himself at the centre of the action in and around the box.

He immediately unsettled the Barnet defence last night and linked well with Morison and with Fred Onyedinma and Paris Cowan-Hall.

It’s crucial Gregory stays fit if Millwall are to challenge for a top-six spot. He scored nine league goals last season after his move to the Championship from non-league football, so reaching a target of 15 this season – with Morison already on two in two games – will surely leave Millwall duking it out towards the business end of the table.

2. Archer enjoys target practice

Jordan Archer has had to bide his time for his competitive Millwall debut. He finally got his chance last night and produced several really excellent saves, as well as some truly heart-in-the-mouth moments.

It is tempting to think regular number one David Forde wouldn’t have got down to tip Luke Gambin’s 26th minute shot against the post to prevent Barnet taking a two-goal lead.

Archer also showed lightning reflexes to keep out a John Akinde shot from inside the box in the second half, again getting down smartly, this time to his right, to divert the ball around the post.

Forde, along with club captain Tony Craig, is a key player for Harris in the dressing room and is quite vocal before games.

He is also at this point a steadier presence than his understudy.

Twice last night Archer had Millwall fans holding their breaths. First he looked like he was going to try to take the ball around Akinde close to his own line only to be quickly closed down. He was lucky – and relieved – that the ball squirted harmlessly wide.

In extra-time he raced out of his box to clear, only to see his header go behind him to Michael Gash whose shot towards an open goal was on target but cut out by Webster.

Archer has an all-action style, cat-like reflexes and an eccentric side that could make for some interesting watching this season.

3. Space invaders

Moses Emmanuel. Lyle Taylor. Luis Machado. John Akinde.

Millwall went behind in three of their four pre-season games and have done the same in both competitive fixtures so far.

A feature of the goals scored by the players above for Bromley, AFC Wimbledon, CD Tondela and Barnet was the space those players exploited behind Millwall’s defence.

Harris wants to play a high, pressing game, but the Lions defence has been caught out with long balls over the top or passes played in the inside channels between the centre-backs and full-backs.

When teams have broken through the first line of defence in midfield they have often found time and space to play a ball in behind a high line for pacy strikers to attack the spaces between the back four and goal.

Last night, Akinde warned of the threat he posed a few minutes in when he took up a position off Byron Webster’s shoulder and with Sid Nelson slightly out position the striker worked space for a shot that went over.

A few minutes later he was able to isolate Webster and after being picked out with a ball down the inside-left channel he raced away from the defender only to be brought down in the box.

In the 102nd minute of extra-time the scenario was repeated, this time in the opposite channel but against the same opponent. Akinde had done all the hard work when Andy Yiadom arrived to finish past Archer.

On Saturday, Webster could find himself directly up against Adam Armstrong, Coventry’s quick, on-loan Newcastle forward.

He played in a left-sided role against Wigan, scoring twice in a 2-0 win.

Millwall will have to be aware of the danger he is capable of posing, especially if Coventry work space in midfield or, as against Wimbledon and Tondela, just after possession has been turned over.



42 thoughts on “Millwall exit Capital One Cup: Three things we learned

  • August 12, 2015 at 14:23

    Can we swap John Marquis for John Akinde plus a few quid? Then our striking options really would look like promotion material. Secondly I wonder how long NH will give Webster to come good. Otherwise we will start to get punished and concede goals and lose games more regularly. Maybe he was a decent player at Yeovil and scored goals for them. For us, i'm still not convinced.

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    • August 12, 2015 at 20:24

      @Millwaller: First of all would John Akinde got better service from our creative midfield or our wingers last night had he been playing for us , all you hear is poeple slagging of John maquise he was chasing long balls and getting into that massive centre half and winning a few balls against him Steve Morrison got the better of him when he scored that was the only time .I wonder if John maquise had been give the oppotunity to have taken the penalty would he have scored it certainly would have boosted him in a lot of peoples rating ,we are only 1 game into the league and 1 game into or should say out of a cup , give him some credit its very easy to blame him there were quite a few who were under par last night .

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  • August 12, 2015 at 14:28

    Good point,especially the 3rd point , Armstrong looked good against Wigan and will exploit what we saw last night,hope the home whodoo is pit too bed this weekend.

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    • August 12, 2015 at 21:13

      i fully agree with your comments this continual slagging off of John is ridiculous especially when you can see how badly he is served by a very poor midfield who are unable to create decent chances for the strickers.

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