Ben Thompson: Half-time hairdryer from gaffer lifts Millwall

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

Ben Thompson revealed a half-time blast from manager Neil Harris and his coaches provoked the desired response as the Lions eventually negotiated their way past AFC Fylde in the FA Cup first round. 

The home side were sluggish in the first half and could have been behind at the break had a Danny Rowe shot that skimmed the post been on target.

And Thompson said Harris let his side know that the performance was well below par.

“There was a lot of criticism from the manager,” Thompson admitted.

“It was a poor, poor first half but they told us what to do second half and we just went out and did the job.

“It wasn’t great first half, for me personally and the team. I didn’t think we got hold of the game quick enough.

“At the start of the game we said we were going to go out with the same intensity as we would at any game but maybe we did slacken off a bit.

“But I thought in the second half we did well and got the result.”

Meanwhile, Harris says he is fortunate to have two quality goalkeepers after watching David Forde make a winning return to the side.

The Republic of Ireland international started for the first time since August 18 and, though there were a couple of wobbles, he produced a fine save late on to help avoid a nervy finish.

Forde, 35, has been understudy to Jordan Archer since the 3-2 defeat to Barnsley, but Harris stressed it hasn’t affected his work ethic.

“It’s really important Fordey keeps his focus," Harris said. "He’s been a terrific pro and he trains hard in every session. He’s off on international duty and to have two keepers of that quality, I’m really lucky."

The Millwall boss did admit, though, that Paris Cowan-Hall's lack of competitive action showed after the winger made way for Aiden O’Brien at the start of the second half.

“That was Paris’ first start in a Millwall shirt and he’s been here 11 months," Harris said. "That says it all, really. He’s had a stop-start time here and he looked like he lacked a little bit of rhythm and knowledge of our play because of the minutes he’s missed."

Harris was pleased with the contributions of his strikers, all three of whom scored against Dave Challinor’s side.

“All three goals were really good finishes. The third goal was a really good move and I think a few times Shaun Williams also showed his quality in possession.

“When you’ve got players who can find through balls like he can it gives strikers opportunities to score goals. When you’ve got three good strikers who all know where the back of the net it it’s a big help.

“There was disappointing stuff, but I’m not trying to be negative, there was a lot of good stuff as well but we just didn’t sustain it for long enough to be as flowing and effective as we can be.

“It’s football, sometimes it just happens – ask Louis van Gaal."

But Harris also emphasised the quality of Fylde: “They’ll win the league this year, they’ll be in the National League and they’ll be right at the top of that as well. And when they get their new stadium I’m pretty sure they’ll be in the Football League in a few years.”

John Kelly