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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