|Collins 55||Venue: Greenhous Meadow
|Morison 59, Gregory 67 (pen)|
STEVE Morison scored on his second Millwall debut to help Neil Harris’ side to the three points against Shrewsbury at Greenhous Meadow.
Morison tapped in at the back post for a 59th-minute equaliser before the excellent Lee Gregory scored from the spot eight minutes later.
It was no more than the Lions deserved after a battling display, and Gregory and Fred Onyedinma in particular were key to the win.
Gregory worked non-stop throughout and was embraced by Neil Harris when he was replaced with five minutes left.
Morison will rightly get some of the headlines, but it was Onyedinma who was central to both goals and he looks like he has hugely benefitted from last season’s loan spell at Wycombe.
This was an impressive Millwall performance and though Shrewsbury had their chances, the away side were well-organised and showed impressive hunger to close down their opponents.
It was also a first win away in the league since February 10 against Birmingham City and Harris could hardly have imagined it going much better in the first game of his first full season as manager.
He handed a debut to Morison with the former Leeds man partnering Gregory up front.
Mark Beevers continued at left-back in the absence of the injured Joe Martin while on-loan Newcastle winger Shane Ferguson was on the bench.
Harris also went for the more physical Byron Webster to partner captain Tony Craig in the centre of defence with Shrewsbury possessing some robust forwards.
And it was Millwall who were first to threaten when Onyedinma, with the new number ten shirt on his back and looking confident, took on and beat Mat Sadler but his cross was headed away.
But Shrewsbury have a formidable recent home league record and they quickly settled with Ryan Woods in particular looking composed in midfield.
Clearly the instructions from Micky Mellon were to try to get Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro in behind Shaun Cummings on the left and on 14 minutes the tactic almost paid off when the winger beat the defender to cross for Tyrone Barnett who headed over.
David Forde, who was shaky in the last pre-season game against CD Tondela, was looking much more confident here and he was quickly off his line to thwart James Collins as he attempted to muscle through in the box.
Gregory spent much of the opening 45 minutes chasing down and battling for loose balls and after he had won a free-kick 35 yards out, Shaun Williams almost surprised Jayson Leutwiler with a stinging drive but the keeper gathered at the second attempt.
Leutwiler then did even better to tip Lee Martin’s deflected free-kick over the bar as Millwall enjoyed a period of possession.
And they came closest to opening the scoring shortly before half-time when Beevers climbed at the back post to head Martin’s corner towards the top corner, but Abu Ogogo had done well to scramble back and he headed the ball off the line.
Shrewsbury’s front pair were causing Millwall’s defence a few problems and Barnett again headed over a difficult enough chance before the break.
Ironically it was after the game’s quietest period that Shrewsbury went ahead on 55 minutes.
Ogogo did well to fizz a cross behind Millwall’s back four and Collins beat Forde from a tight angle close in.
But Millwall quickly recovered after that shock and equalised four minutes later.
Onyedinma took on and teased Matt Tootle to cut the ball back for the onrushing Gregory. He missed it but Morison arrived at the back post to tap in.
That goal didn’t just transform the away side as Morison suddenly began to look a real threat as well.
With just over 20 minutes left Onyedinma again drove at the heart of the Shrewsbury defence to find Morison who collected the ball in the box and was taken down by Sadler.
Shrewsbury fans were upset with the decision but Gregory kept his composure to fire into the top corner.
Upson went close with a couple of snapshots and Millwall hung on through six minutes of added time to hand Harris the perfect start.