Millwall goalkeeper: I should have stopped strike

JORDAN Archer admitted he should have kept a clean sheet in the 2-1 win over Fleetwood on Saturday.

Archer was beaten by Fleetwood's first effort on target in the game, when he appeared to let Ashley Hunter's drive slip through his grasp at the near post.

That ensured a nervous last 10 minutes for Millwall, but Archer made sure they won the three points when he kept out Devante Cole's close-range effort late on.

Archer revealed he didn't have a clear view of Hunter's shot, but was disappointed he couldn't make the save.

"I didn't see the ball, I think it came through Tony Craig and someone else," Archer said. "Nonetheless, I should be saving it. I was unsighted and it was a good strike by the boy.

"It's put a dampener on my weekend because the boys dug in deep to get a clean sheet and they're the shots I should be saving.

"I made a save after it. It's important not to dwell on it, especially as a keeper, because there's going to be another chance in the game and you've got to be focussed, you've got to be ready to make a save."

Lee Gregory's two penalties had put Millwall in the driving seat, and Archer explained he also didn't see them, but for superstitious reasons.

He said: "Gregs does take a few (in training) and he scores most of them, he's very calm and composed. He's a top striker.

"If you've got the accuracy and pace then you're going to score most times. Strikers are expected to score, if a keeper makes a save it's a great save.

"I don't tend to look at the penalties, I walk away and the crowd usually tell me. When I hear the crowd cheering I have a little fist pump."

The win was Millwall's third in four games in all competitions, but their first in the league at The Den in more than two months.

The Lions are in 16th place in the League One table, but only five points off the play-off spots with a game in hand.

Archer said: "It's been a pretty poor run and we've had bad luck in the last few games, except for the Northampton game.

"That played on our minds but we're a confident bunch and the boys threw their bodies on the line. If they'd scored a second goal at the end it would have been harsh on us but the boys made sure they didn't do that.

"We are much better than where we are. At the start of the season most people had us tipped to go up but there is still a long way to go, we're only a few points off where we were last season.

"We haven't been side-tracked by where we are in the league because we know we're going to pick up wins. We know we're going to be there or thereabouts come May.

"We've got the mistakes out of our system, the gaffer has worked hard with us on the training pitch. We're more solid now.

"It's a tough league, but we've got a good squad here, we've got strength in depth. We've got a lot of players coming back to fitness and the boys are confident.

"It's probably a tougher league than it was last season but we're confident we'll be there or thereabouts come May."

Archer will have more competition for places in front of him, with Shaun Hutchinson having returned from injury on Saturday and making two late clearing headers as Fleetwood pressed for an unlikely equaliser.

And Archer revealed former Fulham defender Hutchinson had managed to spill blood despite only coming on for Gregory in the last minute.

"He's had some bad luck, he was a great addition to the squad in pre-season," Archer said. "He was unfortunate to pick up a few knocks but he's played a few games for the U23s.

"He came off the field with a cut on his head. He was only on the field five or 10 minutes and he was already coming off with a cut. I'm looking forward to having him back in the squad."

"Tony Craig and Byron Webster have been outstanding. Individually a few of us have made mistakes this season but they've been winning their headers, they've come up against some good strikers but more times than not they've come out on top.

"We've had a few unlucky goals against us, a few deflections or the ball has bounced for their strikers. But more times than not they're a dominant pairing and we've got Hutchinson coming back to full fitness so there's going to be competition for the centre-back places."

Image source: ©Millwall FC

John Kelly