Millwall boss Harris: We gifted Barnsley the three points

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

NEIL Harris rued his side’s first-half performance at Oakwell as Barnsley completed a league double over Millwall this season.

The Lions were sluggish early on as Barnsley made a much more urgent start to take the lead through striker Sam Winnall’s header, and they clinched the three points when Adam Hammill scored in the 67th  minute.

Harris made a double substitution at the break, bringing on Shane Ferguson and Lee Gregory for Ed Upson and Fred Onyedinma, both of whom had struggled in possession in the first half.

Millwall equalised in the 61st minute through Steve Morison and looked like they would go on to win the game, but Barnsley responded impressively again to re-take the lead when Hammill broke into the box to shoot past David Forde.

Hammill had also set up his side’s opener, and Harris revealed the squad had prepared in training to contain the Tykes winger.

“We worked for three days to stop him coming inside on his right foot,” Harris said. “He went past two players and put the ball in the net, that’s disappointing. We gifted them two goals and our decision-making defensively was poor as a team.

“It’s frustrating off the back of such a brilliant performance away at Southend. We weren’t at our best when we were behind. We got it back to 1-1 against the run of play and then there should only be one team that goes on to win the game. Chances dictate that also.  But then we gave another poor goal away in the second half.”

Millwall had numerous chances to score in the second period as Morison and Mark Beevers saw headers cleared off the line in the space of a few seconds, and Morison again came within inches of levelling in injury time when he looped another header over Adam Davies only for the ball to crash off the crossbar.

Harris felt his side improved in the second half after the personnel and tactical changes, but admitted he will be questioning his players why they were so slow to start.

“We certainly made the changes at half-time to give us more width and get the two strikers playing higher up the pitch,” he said. “I don’t think we affected the game in the first half as well as we could have, certainly not as well as we did at Southend.

“We were slow to a lot of second balls and we weren’t good enough in the front areas. Our use of the ball going forward was poor. In the second half we were much better.

“But I have to ask the players why we didn’t do that from the first minute.

“I’m disappointed today, really disappointed. I thought we gifted goals and three points.”