STEVE Morison scored a brace as Millwall claimed their first away win in Sky Bet League One this season after defeating Chesterfield 3-1 at Proact Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Shane Ferguson gave Millwall the lead against the run of play in the 13th minute before Morison doubled the advantage seven minutes before the break.
The boos in the home crowd rang out when Morison got his second – his fifth goal in seven games this season – in the 41st minute.
Chesterfield fans had seen their side dominate the ball but they couldn’t find a way past Jordan Archer in the opening 45 minutes.
Danny Wilson’s team continued to press after the break and cut the deficit when Sam Hird headed past Archer.
Tony Craig had to head away close to his line with five minutes left after Ched Evans’ free-kick had been deflected towards goal.
But that was the closest they came to making it an uncomfortable finish for the away side and Neil Harris gave Calum Butcher his debut as the Lions saw out the game to move up to fifth in the League One table.
This was a confident performance by a Millwall side that has now won two league games in a row since the 5-1 defeat to Peterborough.
There are still concerns, though, not least among them the absence through injury of Lee Gregory who tweeted a good luck message to the squad before the game.
There were more injury setbacks here, with Joe Martin and Fred Onyedinma forced off in the opening 45 minutes.
It was almost a year to the day since Chesterfield won 2-0 at The Den but this win is a measure of the progress made since then, and few can doubt Millwall are much better equipped to challenge for automatic promotion this season.
Harris made six changes to the side that lost 2-1 to Nottingham Forest on Tuesday and watched a frantic first two minutes when Shaun Williams hit the crossbar and then immediately Chesterfield countered and wanted a penalty when the ball appeared to hit Martin’s arm.
Martin went off injured at the end of the first half to be replaced with Onyedinma, who himself didn’t reappear after the break with Sid Nelson coming on to partner Byron Webster in the centre of defence.
Before all of that, Ferguson displayed what could become a trademark at Millwall: a low finish across the goalkeeper from Aiden O'Brien's precise pass after Chesterfield had done most of the early probing.
Morison made it 2-0 when after a Webster interception he drilled a shot from 20 yards past Spireites goalkeeper Ryan Fulton.
Chesterfield had the majority of the possession in the first half but as if to emphasise the importance of what a team does with the ball Millwall displayed clinical efficiency to make it 3-0. Shaun Williams, who scored from the centre circle in that League Cup defeat to Forest, showed that same vision to set up Morison and the striker – who will turn 33 on Monday – perfectly judged his lob over the advancing Fulton.
Despite the emphatic nature of the half-time scoreline Chesterfield had had their chances and a couple of scrambles in the box reminded Millwall they needed to be defensively vigilant. The Lions had, after all, conceded seven goals in two away league games this season.
And those defensive frailties were evident again when Hird gave the Spireites hope by heading home Joe Nolan’s free-kick in the 65th minute. From another set-piece David Worrall sliced a clearance in the air after Evans had attempted to cross before Millwall broke rapidly and Fulton had to get down to keep out O’Brien’s shot.
Moments later Ferguson, O’Brien and Williams combined on the edge of the box but the latter jabbed his shot from 20 yards just over Fulton’s crossbar.
Chesterfield kept pressing for a second, but Millwall comfortably held on for three points in front of 489 away fans.