Millwall defender frustrated with defensive record

MAHLON Romeo admitted Millwall's run of conceding goals is "dejecting" and "frustrating" after the 3-2 defeat to Rochdale on Saturday.

The Lions haven't kept a clean sheet in the league since the opening day and have now conceded 17 goals in nine games.

That's in stark contrast to their defensive form in the second half of last season when they conceded the same number of goals in 23 games.

Romeo expected the side to react to conceding three times at Southend the previous weekend but instead was part of a defence that looked shaky at set-pieces as Millwall defended a 2-1 lead after Aiden O'Brien and Lee Gregory had scored following Callum Camps' ninth-minute opener.

And Romeo insisted the squad must work to erase defensive lapses from their game before they play Port Vale tomorrow.

"It's frustrating," Romeo said. "I thought the way we played would have been an improvement on Saturday but at the end of the day it doesn't matter if we're not getting the three points. It's dejecting, it's frustrating.

"It was good to be 2-1 up but at the moment we're conceding too many goals and we can only look at ourselves, really. The only thing we can do is to try to fix what went wrong and go again Tuesday.

"You can't keep clean sheets or win games forever. It's unfortunate that it's two on the trot now we've conceded three. Like I said, we've got to look at where we went wrong defensively and make sure we put it right."

Millwall were the dominant side after they had fallen behind, and could have extended their lead shortly after half-time when David Worrall found space to shoot in the box only to see his effort come back off the legs of Rochdale goalkeeper Josh Lillis.

Calvin Andrew equalised for the away side with a free header from Joe Bunney's free-kick, before Ben Thompson was sent off after picking up two yellow cards.

And Rochdale made it a thoroughly miserable afternoon for the hosts when Ian Henderson scored from the spot in the 94th minute after Sid Nelson had rashly kicked substitute Steve Davies.

That result and others on Saturday meant Millwall dropped to 14th place in League One, but Romeo believes that once the side regain their defensive discipline and knowhow they will climb the table.

He said: "We want to get back to winning ways and we know we can. It's just finding that spark to get going again. Once we do we'll be a real threat.

"We're conceding too many goals at the moment and it's not good enough, the last few games have shown that. We're a lot better than where we are now, which is why it's frustrating because we know we have so much more.

"Going in at half-time we were on a roll, if anything. Maybe it came at a bad time because we were so on top.

"I don't think we started the second half well enough, maybe, one could argue. But at the end of the day we're conceding goals and it has to stop.

"It's still early on, September hasn't even finished. I'm looking forward to picking up the form I know we have because we've got a quality side.

"Once we get into form and put our wrongs right we will be a real threat.

"I wouldn't say it's up to any one player, it's up to all of us at the end of the day. There are 11 players on the pitch and we've all got to step up."

Image source: ©Charlie Compitus

John Kelly