JAY O’Shea’s brace helped Chesterfield inflict a third successive league defeat on Millwall at The Den this season.
The midfielder was given way too much space on the edge of the box to arrow a right-footed volley past Jordan Archer into the bottom corner on 17 minutes.
Dean Saunders’ side dominated the first half as Millwall struggled to put any moves of note together and, though the Lions improved after the break, O’Shea sealed it in injury time with the last kick of the game.
The Spireites deserved their win despite a spirited second-half performance from the home side.
Much of that was down to Aiden O’Brien, who came on for Lee Gregory at half-time, and Millwall came closest to equalising 15 minutes from the end only for Tommy Lee to deny Jimmy Abdou.
Fred Onyedinma also could have equalised when he just failed to connect with an O'Brien cross, but Chesterfield were dangerous on the break and substitute Mani Dieseruvwe nearly wrapped it up when he shot across Archer.
As he did last week, Archer also produced another one-on-one to deny Sam Morsy in the first half, but he was blameless when O’Shea’s shot took a deflection and looped over him to give Chesterfield their third win of the season.
Did Harris stick with the same formation?
The Millwall boss sprung something of a surprise before the game by dropping Shaun Williams and giving Jack Powell his first league start of the season. Chesterfield started with a 4-5-1 formation and the Lions matched them with Abdou, Ben Thompson and Powell in the centre of the pitch.
Powell sat at the base, but wasn’t restricted from moving forward. He has bags of skill and is a classy, confident footballer who said in pre-season he feels he has a complete game.
And it was obvious early on that he wanted to get the ball down and pass it only to find few options in front of him. It was Chesterfield who dominated the ball in the opening 45 minutes, with captain Morsy dictating everything in midfield.
The uncertainty worked its way into Millwall’s defensive mindset as well and they seemed unsure who exactly should have been closing down in the build-up to O’Shea’s goal.
Archer picks up where he left off
He didn’t have much of a chance with O’Shea’s shot. It may have taken him slightly by surprise but it was really well placed into the bottom corner.
On 40 minutes though he produced a brilliant save to deny Morsy after the midfielder found himself free in the box. Archer rushed off his line to spread himself and divert the ball out for a corner.
The mood was really edgy already at that stage and would have plummeted had that gone in. As it was the players were booed off at half-time and, apart from Powell’s attempts to get something going, there was little else to be positive about.
There were few scares for Chesterfield keeper Lee to deal with and the first-half stats were damning: Millwall had just 31% possession and no shots on goal.
What changed after the break?
O’Brien came on and immediately looked more comfortable in the role than Steve Morison. He gave Millwall a lift and offered more pace to trouble Liam O’Neil.
That was something that was clearly missing in the first half and Millwall finally started to pin their opponents back as the half went on. Shaun Cummings was also instructed to push further forward and had a number of opportunities to work crosses for Morison, now in a central role.
It all resulted in much more activity in and around Chesterfield’s box and Lee had to pull off a stunning save to deny Abdou an equaliser on 75 minutes.
Paris Cowan-Hall also came on to offer more directness and while it was all a bit helter-skelter, at least Harris got a reaction from his side in the second half.