Harris: Frustration of Millwall fans affected players

MILLWALL boss Neil Harris admitted “it’s hard to know what to say” after Millwall missed a host of chances in their 1-0 defeat to Shrewsbury Town on Saturday afternoon.

Millwall fell behind when Louis Dodds fired past Jordan Archer in the 17th minute after Adam El-Abd had cleared Lee Gregory’s shot off the line.

Shrewsbury midfielder Jim O’Brien did the same from Tony Craig’s header in the first half. Harry Smith missed from a few yards out late on and Craig headed David Worrall’s cross wide when he had found himself unmarked in the penalty area in added time at the end of the game.

“In our stats we had 19 attempts on goal from our penalty area,” Harris said. “And conceding from one of three chances we’ve given away, it hurts.

“It’s hard to know what to say after that, we’ve dominated for such long periods during it, got into so many good areas, put so many balls into the box and created so many chances. And we end up getting beaten.

“What I will say is in games like that we can’t lose it, that game should be nil-nil and we should be sitting here saying, ‘well, it’s a point and we’ve dominated the game’. It’s another ball gone in the back of our net, we didn’t defend well enough and we can’t rely every week on strikers and attacking players to score two, three, four goals to win games. We have to be better.

“The only way they let me down slightly was it was a poor goal to give away. At times (we needed) a little bit more composure and at times we got carried along by the frustration of the crowd and panicked on the ball. That can’t happen, we have to be stronger than that and more positive than that.

“That frustration comes because we’re trailing, if we’re not trailing it’s fine, everyone is composed and looking at the game from a different angle.

“We created so many chances but have to have an end product. That’s not just Harry Smith, who missed a great chance, and it’s a good learning curve for him today that he can’t always be the hero.

“You want chances to fall to Lee Gregory, but they didn’t. They were falling to centre-halves, midfielders and wide players. But you’ve got to have an end product.”

Millwall goalkeeper Archer went forward in injury time and got close to connecting with a late corner, but the ball ended up in the arms of Jayson Leutwiler, who in the first half produced a brilliant save to keep the ball out after El-Abd had diverted Shane Ferguson’s cross towards goal.

“The goalkeeper has had the game of his life,” Harris said. “There were two off the line, or three with the one at the end when we pushed Jordan up.

“You look at the positives and say we created 19 clear-cut chances but couldn’t score. We created loads of pressure, but I expect that anyway. What I also expect is that if we’re going to do that and don’t score, we get a point and a clean sheet.”

Harris confirmed that Byron Webster had missed the game with a tweaked hamstring he picked up against Braintree last weekend. He could be back for the trip to Scunthorpe next Saturday.

Shaun Hutchinson is due to play for the u23s on Monday.

John Kelly