NEIL Harris hailed the performance of Mahlon Romeo after the defender scored on his senior competitive debut to help Millwall to a superb 3-0 at Walsall.
Romeo was named in the team with Shaun Cummings and Carlos Edwards out injured and though he was booked early on for a foul on Rico Henry he put in an eye-catching performance.
And he capped it with a stunning goal in the 70th minute as Millwall made it four wins in their last five league games to stay sixth in the League One table and close the gap to the Saddlers in the automatic promotion spots to nine points.
“My right-back scored one of the goals of the season for us,” Harris said. “It was lovely because he had a really difficult first 25 minutes against a really good player. He got dealt a really harsh decision with the yellow card, it was probably the best tackle of the game.
“So he had to stand strong. To be thrown in for your Millwall debut away at Walsall who are flying high near the top of the league is a tough challenge.”
Millwall took the lead in the 61st minute through Lee Gregory’s 17th goal of the season and the striker got his 18th seven minutes after Romeo had run into the Walsall area to shoot low to the far corner past Liam Roberts.
In awful conditions at the Bescot Stadium, Millwall had to defend resolutely, typified by the display of Sid Nelson, making his first start for the Lions since his mistake gifted Walsall their winning goal at The Den on Boxing Day.
“I thought on that side of the park, Sid Nelson, Mahlon Romeo and Jed Wallace, three young men, I thought the three of them were excellent today,” Harris said.
“Like I said it was a difficult first 25 minutes (for Romeo). We readjusted slightly around the half-hour mark to try and help him, to make it easier against Rico Henry. We readjusted as well at half-time, just minor adjustments to our shape and organisation and I thought it was really effective in the second half.
“We knew we’d have to be disciplined, to be organised and withstand a lot of pressure and possession from a good side. But we also saw enough in the first half in spells to know that when we had the football in open play in wide areas or on the counterattack that we’d create opportunities.
“I think we’ve been very good away from home, that’s 11 away wins for us and we’re very proud of that fact. We’re set up to withstand pressure, and a little bit of luck helps as well, the woodwork saved us today.
“But with the pace and the athleticism that we’ve got and the quality that we possess that we can really cause teams damage when we move forward.”