Millwall player profile – Steve Morison (2009-11; 13-14; 15- )

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

December 1, 2009 proved to be a landmark moment in the career of Steven William Morison.

After signing from Stevenage Borough in a deal worth £130,000 the previous summer, the striker's life at Millwall failed to get off to the best of starts.

He opened his account at home to Huddersfield on September 19, but that, plus an additional strike in a 5-0 demolition of Tranmere in early October, proved to be Morison's only goals in his first 16 appearances in a Millwall shirt.

With the crowd on his back, Morison's Lions career looked to be over before it had truly begun as on November 28, in an FA Cup tie at non-league Staines Town, he somehow managed to completely miss the ball when presented with an open goal two yards out.

Three days later, the striker played a crucial part in a night that changed the fans' opinions for the better.

MK Dons visited The Den with Millwall in 10th position. The Dons occupied sixth spot in the table – a position that the Lions had their eye on.

After Andy Frampton and Chris Hackett had given Kenny Jackett's side a 2-0 lead inside twenty minutes, soon-to-be-Lion Jermaine Easter reduced the arrears just after half-time, before levelling the scores in the 79th minute.

With the game entering injury-time and heading for a draw, Morison received the ball on the edge of the box, turned his marker and coolly slotted his shot past ex-Lion Willy Gueret in the Dons' goal, handing Jackett's men all three points.

It was a night that changed Morison's fortunes (And Millwall's, for that matter) as the Welshman would go on to score 18 goals in 30 league games to help Millwall race up the table. They finished the regular season in third place, before going on to defeat Swindon Town in the play-off final at Wembley.

Six years later, now in his third spell at the club, the goals are still flowing for Millwall's number 20: He has 17 this season, with 14 of those coming in the league, the last in Tuesday night's 1-0 defeat of Fleetwood Town.

2010-11 saw the end of Morison's first spell in SE16, after a season that saw the Lions finish ninth in the Championship. He netted 15 times in 40 league games, before making a £2.1million (rising to £2.8million) move to Norwich City at the end of the campaign.

He returned in 2013-14, this time on loan, as Ian Holloway's side survived the drop – eight goals in 25 games contributed heavily to that.

After falling out of favour at Leeds United, Neil Harris decided to bring the striker back to south London for a third time in the summer of 2015, signing him for an undisclosed fee.

He made his third Lions debut at Shrewsbury Town on the opening day and duly opened his account for the season, finishing off a move in the 59th minute to level the scores just four minutes after James Collins had given the home side the lead.

After learning his trade in league football alongside Harris in his earlier days, Morison now plays the senior role himself and has helped Lee Gregory maximise his potential, as well as provide insight for the likes of Alfie Pavey and Jamie Philpot.

Harris' decision to make the striker captain in the wake of Tony Craig's injury in October spoke volumes of the influence he has on the pitch and in many fans' eyes he is a real contender for the club’s Player of the Year crown.

As always, the striker has popped up with some crucial and outstanding goals this season: A classy volley at home to Doncaster immediately springs to mind, and he also scored the winning goals against Oldham Athletic and Fleetwood – the latter keeping the prospect of reaching the play-offs strong.

Steve Morison still has his doubters, but one thing is for sure – Millwall would be a lot worse off without him.

Mark Litchfield