Millwall boss won't blame Gregory for late penalty miss

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

MILLWALL manager Neil Harris revealed Lee Gregory felt he had let his teammates down after missing a late penalty in the 1-1 draw with Crewe.

Gregory had already scored from the spot for his 15th goal of the season before he fired his second penalty off the bottom of the post with two minutes left.

Harris didn’t blame the striker for the miss, and was pleased that his side had recovered from going a goal behind after dominating the first half but missing a number of good scoring chances.

Crewe had gone ahead through a penalty of their own after Jordan Archer had fouled George Cooper. It initially looked like there hadn’t been any contact, but Harris accepted referee Christopher Kavanagh’s decision.

“At the time I didn’t have any thoughts that it wasn’t a foul,” Harris said. “It was unlucky, Jimmy (Abdou) goes in for a 50/50 tackle and the ball ricochets to the centre-forward who just reacts a bit quicker than Jordan. So no complaints with that.

“I thought the reaction to get back into the game was good and the calmness of Lee to equalise was really impressive.

“It’s just a shame that the second one didn’t go in. He loves scoring goals and he feels like he has let the boys down, but that’s certainly not the case.”

Millwall began confidently and produced some of their best passing football of their season early in the first half, with Shane Ferguson and Jed Wallace involved frequently and sweeping a number of crosses into the box from wide areas.

But the home side failed to capitalise, and Crewe goalkeeper Ben Garratt made three excellent saves from Aiden O’Brien, Gregory and then Steve Morison, who had got through one-on-one late in the half.

Harris didn’t make any substitutions for the first game this season as Millwall chased a late winner, and he explained afterwards he thought the team that started carried enough threat to force a late winner.

“The players on the pitch have been successful of late, they’re been a real threat,” he said. “I felt we had another goal in us and we had the players on the pitch who had earned the right (to be left on) to try to score a goal.

“That proved to be the case until we missed the penalty, we had got ourselves in a good position.

“It might not happen too often; with subs sometimes it’s a gut feeling. I felt that something was going to drop for the attacking players and we would get that winner, but I was wrong.

“I think the first half we built a lot of pressure with Fergie’s deliveries and with Jed Wallace down the right-hand side.

“If I had any complaint I think there were some excellent deliveries from corners into key areas that we had identified, but the players in the box maybe didn’t do their jobs properly.”

John Kelly