STEVE Morison scored an 89th-minute penalty to give Millwall all three points against Sheffield United at The Den on Saturday afternoon.
Morison converted from the spot after Jack O’Connell had handled in the box to stretch the Lions’ unbeaten home run to 11 games.
Shaun Williams put Millwall ahead in the 14th minute but Stefan Scougall equalised for Sheffield United seven minutes later.
Lee Gregory missed a trio of chances after half-time and it looked like it wasn’t going to be Millwall’s day when twice Morison was denied in the last five minutes.
But the striker held his nerve to give Millwall their second league win of the season after a difficult week.
The wonder was how the side would respond to Neil Harris’ heavy criticism after the 5-1 defeat to Peterborough on Tuesday night but, if there were some moments of uncertainty, the way they improved in the second half and pushed for the winner that eventually came left few doubts.
If Millwall fans expected to see a number of changes following that poor midweek defeat at then Harris decided otherwise and gave nine of those players the chance to show, as Tony Craig said in the match programme, that it was a "one-off" this season.
The two changes Harris did make were expected: David Worrall recovered from a tight hamstring to replace Shane Ferguson while Williams was well enough after the blow to the head he took last week at MK Dons to come in for Jimmy Abdou.
Williams was there to give the side that control on the ball Harris said they lacked – among many other things – at Peterborough.
But he went above that in the 14th and showcased his shooting ability as well as highlighting he should probably work his way into these kinds of positions more often. After Worrall’s corner had been missed by Byron Webster the ball dropped to Williams who feigned to shoot before rifling the ball low to the far corner past debutant Simon Moore from 22 yards.
Sheffield United hadn’t won in four games this season – seven going back to April 19 – but if they felt that setback they didn’t show it.
Their gameplan was clear as they moved the ball quickly in front of a Millwall midfield and defence that spent large parts of the first period deep in their own half. Mark Duffy, nominally deployed as a winger but with instructions to roam, was knotting their best moves together.
The Blades’ full-backs were also much more purposefully moving into advanced positions to stretch Millwall, but it was from Duffy’s cross they equalised, though it did, literally, require a touch of fortune. Scougall didn’t get a great deal of power behind his shot but Tony Craig diverted the ball past Jordan Archer as he attempted to clear.
A minute before, Morison had headed Joe Martin’s free-kick over the Moore’s crossbar.
There was some notable anxiety in the stands with Sheffield United registering more than 60 per cent possession in the first half and a smattering of boos followed Andy Wollmer’s half-time whistle. It didn’t help either that the referee had pedantically pulled up Martin for not taking a throw from the correct spot.
Within two minutes of the start of the second half Millwall had two chance to go back in front and they both fell to Gregory. First he was unable to keep his hooked effort from eight yards down before moments later Moore did brilliantly to deny him when the striker was through on goal.
In the 52nd minute the dangerous Duffy moved into a shooting position in the box after a patient Blades build-up but he dragged his shot wide of Archer.
Gregory completed a trio of missed chances 10 minutes later when after Webster had slipped him through in the box he just beat Moore to the touch but watched the ball roll inches wide.
But Millwall were more urgent and decisive in attack than they had been before the break, Mahlon Romeo illustrating that with several bursts down the right, albeit with no tangible reward.
Chris Wilder, sensing the change in tide, brought on the quick Matt Done for Billy Sharp, and Webster twice had to watch his back with the forward trying to get in behind him in either inside channel.
Harris introduced Ferguson for Aiden O’Brien in the hope of providing Morison and Gregory with more quality delivered from the left.
Morison came close twice late on only to be denied by first Moore and then O’Connell’s tackle.
But moments later he was presented with the chance to win it for his side when O’Connell inexplicably handled in the box and Morison, making his 200th Millwall appearance, sent Moore the wrong way from the spot.
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