Report: Chesterfield 1-2 Millwall

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MILLWALL came from a goal down to record a third successive win in Sky Bet League One for the first time this season.

It was also the first time the Lions came from behind to claim three league points since the opening day 2-1 win at Shrewsbury Town.

Chesterfield went into a deserved lead in the 25th minute when midfielder Sam Morsy fired low past Jordan Archer from 20 yards.

Millwall were level two minutes later when after a couple of half-hearted appeals for a penalty following Shaun Williams’ corner, Aiden O’Brien got his 11th of the season when he headed Shane Ferguson’s cross past Tommy Lee.

Chesterfield were much the better side in the first half with Sylvan Ebanks-Blake going close but just failing to get enough of a touch on Jay O’Shea’s cross to divert the ball past Archer.

Archer was the busier keeper, getting down low to save O’Shea’s volley.

Millwall were in front two minutes into the second half, Lee Gregory racing into the area to prod past Lee for his 14th goal of the season.

Archer came to Millwall’s rescue twice midway through the half when he kept out Morsy and then produced a point-blank stop from substitute Byron Harrison’s header.

At the other end Steve Morison just failed to make it three when his shot from inside the box deflected up and onto the crossbar.

Jekyll and Hyde Lions

No one seems to be able to quite put a finger on why Millwall have been so inconsistent this season. Before Saturday’s game they hadn’t drawn any of their last 15.

It was slightly easier to pinpoint why Chesterfield were so dominant in the opening 45 minutes. Morsy, so impressive this season, was given too much space to dictate the tempo of the game.

He had already gone close to opening the scoring when he picked up the ball outside the box in the 13th minute, took aim and whizzed a right-footed shot wide of Archer’s left-hand post.

The other principal problem was just how easily Millwall were giving the ball away. That carelessness was dangerous with O’Shea, Lee Novak and Ebanks-Blake all looking sharp. From one passage of play the away side lost the ball in midfield and Ebanks-Blake immediately swept a pass to Novak. His chip over Archer had the crowd on their feet but there was disappointment when the ball fell on the outside of the side netting.

Moments later Chesterfield went ahead when Morsy again picked up possession under little pressure from outside the box to fire past Archer.

Chesterfield had 62 percent possession up to that point and while that isn’t always an accurate indicator, they were creating by far the better chances.

Lee had had little to do until the 27th minute when he must have wondered how it was he was picking the ball out of the net given his side’s dominance.

Half-time hairdryer?

And as if to drive home that point, and sum up the nature of Millwall’s season, the away side were ahead with less than two minutes gone in the second half.

There seemed little danger when Archer launched a free-kick long but suddenly Gregory was bursting onto Jed Wallace’s pass into space in the box and he reached the ball first to toe-poke past Lee.

There was also a little moment after that goal that probably hinted at Neil Harris’ displeasure at the break. When Morsy rolled on the deck after being kicked by Gregory it was easy to imagine what the half-time instructions had been.

Millwall were much more diligent about Morsy’s position in the second period, but he was still a threat from outside the box and Archer pulled off a superb save when he got down low to his left to save the midfielder’s shot and then sprung to his feet to prevent the ball rolling over the line.

He pulled off an even better save when O’Shea got to the endline to pull the ball back for Harrison who was left holding his head in his hands as Archer scrambled the ball away.

The goalkeeper has been excellent since regaining his first-team place.

What’s next?

For all the head-scratching about Millwall’s inconsistency a win in the home fixture against Crewe next weekend would make it four league wins in a row.

Then they are just 90 minutes away from an April Wembley appearance when they travel to Oxford the following Tuesday.

And given the season so far no one would put it past them or be all that surprised were they to go there and rescue the tie.

John Kelly

(@jkelly1882)