Millwall through in JP Trophy: Three things we learned

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

WE take a look at some of the talking points after Millwall won at The Den for the first time this season.

The Lions secured their place in the second round of the Football League Trophy in injury time and on chances created deserve to be in the draw this Saturday.

From the performance of the returning Carlos Edwards to some tricky selection decisions, we analyse the Lions’ latest result and what it means.

1. King Carlos leads by example

It’s possible to set the tone, tempo and set an example from a full-back position. Edwards proved it against Peterborough and though his contract runs to January Neil Harris will hope he stays available for the season.

The 36-year-old made his return to the first team after nearly a year out injured and was a key player at both ends of the pitch even before his cross for Shaun Williams’ winner.

His first instinct was to always try to retain possession and his attacking influence grew after the break.

He did give the ball away a couple of times in dangerous areas in the first half, and there was a lapse in the second when Marcus Maddison gave him the slip to shoot.

But that was more down to his lack of first-team football and where a player with less experience or confidence may have opted for safety first after those errors, Edwards had the composure to keep trying to play constructive football.

Subconsciously that rubs off on players around him and it was notable that Williams played his most effective game of the season so far after being dropped for the league defeat to Chesterfield.

Edwards also has an excellent defensive positioning sense and that must be reassuring for Sid Nelson.

Even after just 90-plus minutes back in the first team Edwards is already looking like he’ll be a key presence for the Lions this season, which is something else considering he will turn 37 next month.

2. Conflicts of interest

At one point on Tuesday night a voice bellowed from the back of one of the stands to “hit it long” as Williams checked backwards to find Mark Beevers who then swept the ball wide to maintain possession.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with that piece of play – in fact, it was the sensible thing to do to go backwards to find a different route to space yet it all emphasised what Harris has been saying about the need to show patience at home, and the conflict it can cause where there is impatience in the stands.

Millwall kept playing and eventually got their reward.

Some of their best moves were constructed when there was an extra pass rather than trying to get the ball into the box earlier.

Ed Upson was actually centrally involved in a lot of those moves from his nominal role on the left of midfield and, while Williams ended up with the headlines, Upson could have had an assist in the first half only for John Marquis to shoot weakly at Ben Alnwick.

The former Yeovil Town midfielder could also have scored when he brilliantly weaved through a couple of Peterborough defenders ten minutes from the end, but he just failed to dink the ball over Alnwick, who, like Jordan Archer, deserved credit for his performance.

3. Returning players means ruthless decisions ahead

There may have been only 2,050 in attendance at The Den but the effect on morale of this win for the Lions should not be underestimated.

Twelve days would have been a long time to brood over a home defeat, let alone a fifth so early in the season.

With Aiden O’Brien recovering sharpness and Joe Martin and Shane Ferguson to return to provide attacking thrust down the left, things will be looking a lot brighter at Calmont Road over the next week and a half.

It will be interesting to see what side Harris picks when they resume their League One campaign at Crewe on September 15.

One of the crucial ones will be who to play as the left-sided centre-back once Martin and Ferguson come back into contention.

Following uncertainty surrounding his future last month after a mooted switch to Bradford, Beevers was left out of the subsequent defeat to Barnsley.

He was recalled for the draw with Scunthorpe as Harris opted to swap him and Tony Craig and it has worked to the extent that it could be seen as harsh were the former Sheffield Wednesday defender to lose his place at Gresty Road.

Meanwhile, if after the break Harris decides to play with three in attack again away from home, O'Brien is an option on the left which would allow Steve Morison to start in a more central role.

John Kelly


17 thoughts on “Millwall through in JP Trophy: Three things we learned

  • September 2, 2015 at 16:35

    Nope. Not Moro in the middle.

    If we are going 3 up top it should be Greggers in the middle. AOB left and Fred on the right! Moro as an impact sub!!

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    • September 2, 2015 at 16:38

      @Brooks88: Moro at this level is the best striker we have. I think he works best in a front 2 but if we go with a 3 then he needs to be in the middle, he is wasted out wide.

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      • September 2, 2015 at 16:40

        @whiteliont: I would rather him as an impact sub. Not got the pace at this level although I do agree he is the best we have at this level

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      • September 2, 2015 at 18:00

        @whiteliont: I personally would only keep Moro and get rid of the other 3 out on loan and bring a couple of goal scorers in .

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    • September 2, 2015 at 17:02

      @Brooks88: gregory is not good enough to play at this level. Morison should start every game with AOB and Fred. Paris for me is the impact sub as well. Also I believe that gregory although he hasn't scored has looked more of a threat coming off the bench than when he starts so maybe he could come on late on with paris.

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      • September 2, 2015 at 22:05

        @MillwallChorister: been saying for weeks play Fred up front with Morison
        Martin LB Ferguson LW
        Edwards RB PCH RW

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    • September 3, 2015 at 07:56

      Whilst I can understand the people who like to pick their team formation, each game now is only a single episode in the demise of Millwall. A change of left back, or three up front is not touching the sides regards arresting the slide.
      The rot is so entrenched that the only point at which we can turn it around is to restructure after Berylsons departure.....wherever he may leave us.
      Harris must have known he was taking a gamble, he must have realised that he was surely condemning his managerial career to an early death, the lure was too great and he took the job. The only good thing for Harris is that history will show that avoiding relegation will have been a good half a minor miracle.
      The one position that should really be under scrutiny every day is Berylsons. Even if he fleeces us on his way out, which he will, we can not move forward till he goes

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  • September 2, 2015 at 17:07

    The last player we had of a similar age to Carlos ( I think ) was Steve Claridge . If you can cast your minds back the difference he made to our younger players was immense as Richard Sadlier was good before he came but was much improved after playing alongside him. The same can be said for most of the other youngsters in that team. Together with Joe Martin I see no reason why the current crop of kids can not improve in leaps and bounds playing with elder pros who will lead by example.

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