Harris: Millwall had a go second half but had mountain to climb

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

NEIL Harris says his players need to “organise better and take responsibility” after Millwall were beaten 3-0 at home by Gillingham on Saturday.

The Lions were 2-0 down at the break and down to 10 men after Jordan Archer’s sending off and though there was an improvement in the second half they couldn’t force an opening.

Millwall conceded from a set-piece when Dominic Samuel nodded home Bradley Dack’s free-kick in the 20th minute.

Dack put Gillingham two goals up from the penalty spot eight minutes later after Archer had been sent off for a foul on Cody McDonald.

And the Gills heaped on the misery in the 89th minute when Samuel grabbed his second of the game.

Harris wasn’t happy with the manner of the goals his side conceded, but was drawing some positives from the second-half display.

“I think they were three frustrating goals, poor goals to give away,” he said. “You certainly can’t give good teams a two-goal start and lose a player and expect to climb a mountain.

“I’m disappointed with the individual errors for the goals. They’re incidents that will happen for the rest of (your) footballing life – the centre-half could clear the ball, the goalkeeper calls for it, the player nips in between and it’s a penalty and a red card.

“Then you’re climbing after that. The first goal was poor marking by us on the set play. It’s uncharacteristic, but players have to be better, players have to be stronger. They have to organise better and take responsibility, definitely.

“Having said that, with 10 men I thought we had a right go in the second half and I was delighted with the performance. The battling qualities, the character we showed, the end product, I thought we got into good positions without getting the ball into the net.

“The third goal is a kick in the teeth because we were the better team in the second half and we could have really finished the game on a real positive.

“Unfortunately it leads to another poor error leading to a goal.”

Meanwhile, Samuel claimed afterwards he had been head-butted before half-time when players from both sides became involved after Joe Martin and George Saville had tussled with Gillingham right-back Ryan Jackson in front of the dugouts.

But Harris insisted he hadn’t seen anything untoward and praised referee Darren Handley for the way he dealt with situation.

“That’s football, isn’t it?” the Millwall boss said. “It’s a passionate game.

“I was seven or eight yards away and didn’t see any specific incident. I just saw a lot of players coming together. I was too busy trying to get the fourth official’s attention to ask him which way the free-kick was going.

“As I turned back around there were a dozen or so players involved. I didn’t see any incident and I haven’t had a look back.

“But that’s the modern game, you can’t really have incidents like that. The game itself wasn’t particularly fiery or feisty. It was keenly contested and I thought the referee dealt with the incident really well with the action he took, he calmed everybody down. It’s just one of those things that happens in football, isn’t it?”

John Kelly