JACK Redshaw’s late penalty pegged Millwall back as Neil Harris was left cursing more bad luck with injuries at Bloomfield Road.
Redshaw equalised from the spot after Carlos Edwards was sent off for a last-man challenge on David Norris to extend Blackpool’s unbeaten run to five games.
Centre-back Mark Beevers had given Millwall the lead on 35 minutes when he drove home from inside the box for his fourth goal of the season.
Millwall looked like they would hold on to make it three wins and three clean sheets in a row despite an injury to Shaun Williams that left the Irish midfielder hobbling off the pitch soon after the break.
That seemed to give Blackpool a lift as they began to look threatening and they were rewarded for their persistence when Redshaw beat Jordan Archer from 12 yards in the 82nd minute.
Blackpool poured forward to try to get a winner and had two late penalty shouts, but after five minutes of frantic injury time, both sides had to be happy with the draw.
Same team, fresh legs?
Millwall left The Den at lunchtime on Monday to give themselves the chance to recover from the long coach journey north. And they started with real intent. Shane Ferguson and Steve Morison were especially prominent early on with Ferguson slinging a number of crosses into the box that perhaps just lacked a little bit of accuracy.
In fact, it was a similar pattern to Saturday in the early stages, with Millwall registering 71% possession as they passed sharply and worked crossing positions in wide areas.
Yet, Blackpool should have gone ahead on 25 minutes but for an outstanding save from Archer.
The home side had been playing their way back into the game with front duo Redshaw and Mark Cullen looking particularly lively.
It was the latter who carried the ball to the edge of the box and, with the Millwall defence backing off and unsure who should commit, Cullen unleashed a shot that took a deflection only for Archer to somehow stretch and tip the ball onto the crossbar. He’s collecting a number of those for a fine end-of-season montage but that was probably the pick of the bunch so far.
Millwall regained the upper hand as the half went on and it was again Beevers, arguably now the best defender in the league, who put Harris’ side ahead, reacting quickest in the box to fire home after Morison’s header had come back off the crossbar.
More injury woe – in the one area it was least welcome
Williams has been one of Millwall’s best players, of not the best, for the past six weeks or so. His influence has grown after an indifferent start to the season to the extent he is Millwall’s top passer and he wins the most amount of tackles of their midfielders.
So one wonders what went through Harris’ mind on seeing him slump to the turf and fail to rise to his feet. Actually, there’s probably little to wonder about and the guess is the word was short and to the point. It’s the last thing he needs. The hope will be it’s a knock and recovery will be swift, but it certainly didn’t look good as he was helped from the pitch to be replaced with Ben Thompson.
That left Millwall desperately short of experience in midfield, even if Thompson and George Saville don’t lack talent.
It certainly disrupted Millwall and eroded some of their midfield control.
Fred Onyedinma also came on for Lee Gregory to offer more protection to Edwards on the right, but it was the veteran who got on the wrong side of David Norris after Brad Potts’ shot was deflected on 81 minutes.
Referee Nigel Miller had little option but to send Edwards off and Redshaw slammed the penalty in off the bar.
But Harris will have more than that to worry about if the news on Williams isn’t positive.
Exorcising the demons?
Millwall had lost on each of their last four visits to Bloomfield Road with that wretched run stretching back to the Lions’ last win there in February 2007. There were bad memories too for Morison, who two seasons ago missed a penalty and hit the post as Blackpool won for the first time in the Championship in 101 days.
The Seasiders seemed to be on a death star journey to oblivion when they followed up relegation to League One four seasons after being in the Premier League by going winless in August.
They’d gone four games unbeaten before this and you could see why as they were well organised and possessed two forwards in Redshaw and Cullen that took some watching.
Millwall got tighter to the pair in the second half and looked to have taken most of the sting out of the home side before Redshaw’s late rescue act.