Millwall fight for first clean sheet: Three things we learned

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

WE take a look at some of the talking points after Millwall halted a run of three successive defeats by claiming a point at Scunthorpe.

The Lions needed an element of luck when Scunthorpe striker Paddy Madden blasted his penalty over the bar with 10 minutes left.

But Neil Harris’ side could have won it too when Steve Morison hit the post in injury-time.

From Jordan Archer’s fine form to a more flexible approach, we analyse the latest result and what it means…

1. Archer makes impressive bow

The former Tottenham keeper confirmed his talent on Saturday – now the next step is to show it consistently.

His manager Harris refused to heap too much praise on Archer after Saturday’s accomplished performance, and quite understandably.

He is two games into his Millwall career and there will be challenging times ahead.

His fingertip save to turn Paddy Madden’s low shot around the post in the sixth minute showcased his best attributes.

He not alone read the direction of the shot but had the reflexes, speed and agility to get down low to his left and pull off such a crucial early save in what was always likely to be a cagey contest between two sides desperate not to lose again.

Harris preferred the block he made in injury-time when he again prevented what looked like a certain goal, this time tipping Madden’s header from just a couple of yards out onto the bar.

There was one moment though when he needed luck to intervene after he had parried Hakeeb Adelakun’s shot to Madden who nodded in.

That would have gone done as an error had the linesman’s flag not shot up to deny the luckless Scunthorpe striker, who also missed a penalty with 10 minutes left.

Still, it was the only asterisk after another performance of rich promise.

Archer’s emergence as the man now in possession of the number one jersey does beg the question whether David Forde would be happy to play supportive understudy to his young rival.

The suspicion is that he wouldn’t.

After the end of last season it was thought he would join a club in the Championship of Premier League in an effort to win back his Ireland place, but with the absolute dearth of options available to Martin O’Neill it’s not inconceivable he could win back his international place anyway.

He held talks with Fulham during the summer but there hasn’t been a queue of clubs lining up to take him.

The irony now is that even if his dropping to number two in the order at Millwall hardens his desire to get away, the very fact of it might put off any would-be interested parties.

2. Chopper’s changes show he will be flexible 

Millwall started three forwards at Glanford Park, with Steve Morison and Fred Onyedinma either side of Lee Gregory up front.

But it was a fluid attack with the three players frequently shifting positions to keep Scunthorpe’s back three guessing.

Morison initially started on the left but could have won it for the Lions in injury-time when his shot from a position on the right of the box smacked off Joe Anyon’s near post.

Onyedinma also played through the centre at times and if this performance wasn’t as eye-catching as previous ones – though there was a sumptuous piece of skill to somehow weave a path between two defenders in the box in the second half – it will give opponents who might have prepared to deal with his threat from the flanks something else to consider.

The benefit of playing three in midfield was also evident in the performance of Shaun Williams, who looks much more comfortable at the base with Jimmy Abdou and Ben Thompson in front of him.

Harris praised his defensive work and his reading of the game afterwards, but, as against Barnsley, he could have scored again when he made a late run into the box in the first half only for Anyon to bat away his effort from 10 yards.

The Millwall boss also confirmed after the game that it was not necessarily a formation he would only use away from home, meaning the line-up and tactical approach will be a source of intrigue for Lions fans before the release of the starting XI an hour before kick-off against Chesterfield next weekend

3. Little Ben will supply big goals

He already is threatening, and surely his first Millwall goal is not far away.

He almost got it early in the second half at Glanford Park, emphasising the real quality of his striking when his shot from 25 yards just cleared the outside of Anyon’s post.

He found himself in a similar position later in the half only to shoot high and wide, but the more regularly he finds himself in these positions the more composure he will have.

When that happens his natural technique will make him a threat from anywhere inside 35 yards and it doesn’t seem like an exaggeration to say, based on two substitute appearances and Saturday’s demonstration of his quality, that he could contribute at least five goals this season.

With Aiden O’Brien also still feeling his way back in after injury, the goal-scoring potential of the side should grow as the season progresses.

John Kelly

(@jkelly1882)

15 thoughts on “Millwall fight for first clean sheet: Three things we learned

  • August 24, 2015 at 15:33
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    'DO THE BUSINESS MILLWALL' THATS ALL WE ASK FOR AS FANS, OR THE GATES WILL KEEP FALLING, AND ONLY THE 350 ODD 'AWAY - FANS' WILL MAKE THE TRIPS! LOOK OUT - STORMIN' NORMAN IS STILL ABOUT!

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  • August 24, 2015 at 15:44
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    Good Things come to show when those who wait. Congrats Archer on Debut + Skills and Abilities to show performance onto the pitch.

    we need someone like Jordan Archer to become Captain and No1 GK also bring the likes of Thompson and Powell on First Team sheet.

    I think Powell would be good to replace Williams on my opinion.

    come on you lions and roll on this Saturday

    NOLU WDC

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  • August 24, 2015 at 16:11
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    3 things we've learnt.
    1) Archer deserves a good run in the side.
    2) Beevers is a centre back NOT a full back.
    3) Harris has the gonads to drop anyone and put his faith in our youth.
    I'm happy with that,let's get our season up and running COYL

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  • August 24, 2015 at 16:11
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    I listened to it over the internet:
    1. Elements of luck on both attack and defence kept it goal less.
    2. Need a settled back four.
    3. Have to take chances to gain confidence quick.

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  • August 24, 2015 at 16:27
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    It was a decent result and keeping a clean-sheet was probably the best we could expect after the previous three games. Fingers crossed we can start doing the business at home, but I think mid-table will be the most we can realistically expect from this group of players.

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  • August 24, 2015 at 16:33
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    I dont think our defence will be settled for a bit. Edwards over Cummings if hea ready. Is joe martin the answer at left back? Is ferguson out for his entire loan spell. Is craig a centre back? Is Webster finished? Beevers and Nelson would be my pairing

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  • August 24, 2015 at 17:05
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    I think for next Saturday match should be

    GK-Archer
    DF-Edwards,Cummings,Craig, Beevers
    MD-Abdou,Upson,Thompson
    CF-Fred, Morison, Marquis

    subs: Forde,Nelson,Webster,Williams, Powell and PCH

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  • August 24, 2015 at 17:13
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    I think the word this season is going to be patience. We have now seen that it will take us sometime to get a cohesive team together, with a basic way of playing this is not being helped by Neil being a inexperienced manager. It could just be the last three games have dampened down the expectancy of the fans as to what can be achieved this year but I think Bomber and the club are on the right path the youngsters are showing that going with them, for a club like us is really the only way. I would hope though that we could become a more of a passing side, the big hoof football I saw against Barnsley was not something I would enjoy watching week in but if it gets us results in the short term I would accept it.

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  • August 24, 2015 at 18:19
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    Saturday game
    GK ARCHER
    RB CARLOS
    CB NELSON
    CB BEEVERS or CRAIG
    LB ROMEO
    RW FRED
    CM POWELL
    CM JIMMY
    LW FERGIE IF FIT OR PARIS
    ST GREGGS
    ST MORRISON
    DO NEED PlAYERS 2 FIGHT 4 PROMOTION WE WON'T DO NOTHING WIV THESE PLAYERS TBH COYL

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  • August 24, 2015 at 21:56
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    i'd settle for mid table and blood all the kids if possible - dont want the wage thieves any more - 3 things we learnt?
    1. Forde is finished
    2. Archer is better than Forde
    3. Forde isnt as good as Archer

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  • August 24, 2015 at 23:10
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    @Lancslion - Agree with the fact that Archer is better+Fitter and wiser than the old its time to hang up the boots Fordey and Show young talent and skill of Experience Jordan Archer!!! NOLU WDC COYL

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  • August 25, 2015 at 09:44
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    "He not alone read the direction of the shot"?

    Strange voice of words, unless typing on an iPhone or something.

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  • August 25, 2015 at 13:08
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    I'm all for having Archer as our No.1 keeper. He showed bags of confidence and looked like a real pro between the sticks. This doesn't make me a forde hater though. I see him getting a lot of sh*t on here yet he has been a loyal servant for a good few years now. Clubs came in for him a couple of years ago yet he chose to stay at Millwall. With the diar straights our backline has been in, things can't of been too easy for him. His speed and reactions has seemingly vanished and I can see like many his time is up but I wish him all the best whatever comes of the rest of his career. He has shown Archer support in his aim for a starting opportunity and this just shows the sort of person he can be.

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  • August 25, 2015 at 14:19
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    The problem is that neither Bomber or the fans, including myself,know the best starting eleven. Most of us are agreed that Archer is now better than Forde. Edwards at RB if fit. Nelson or Webster right CB. Beevers or Craig left CB. Ferguson or Martin LB or sign someone else. You then have Abdou, Powell,Thompson, Upson and Williams to choose for the 3 midfield positions if you play 4- 3 -3. Fred, O'Brien, Morison or Gregory up front.
    My starting eleven would be:-
    Archer
    Edwards
    Nelson
    Beevers
    Ferguson
    Abdou
    Thompson
    Williams
    Morison
    Gregory
    Fred

    Edwards and Ferguson could provide the width for overlapping runs and crosses, Abdou and Williams the holding midfield while Thompson gets forward to support the front 3.

    Other fans will have their own views of the best starting eleven but the point I am making is that unlike most teams they don't pick themselves at the moment.

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    • August 25, 2015 at 18:36
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      @denslions: Couldn't of put it better myself. I would like to see another defensive midfielder signed as cover for Williams. Abdou can play there but in my opinion he would be wasted there.

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