NEIL Harris praised Aiden O’Brien and Jed Wallace for their “outstanding strikes” as Millwall defeated Northampton 3-0 to stay in sixth in League One with three games left.
O’Brien fired a first-time volley past Adam Smith in the 27th minute before Wallace rifled a 25-yard shot into the top corner 11 minutes later, his second goal since re-joining the club on loan in January.
He made that three when he put Millwall 3-0 up in first-half injury-time, finishing a well-worked move that started with Steve Morison’s quick throw-in to Lee Gregory. He laid the ball off to O’Brien who beat a defender before crossing for Wallace to shoot into the roof of the net.
All of Millwall’s closest play-off rivals won on Friday, and Harris was pleased with his side’s display.
He said: “It was an excellent performance, the mentality of my players was outstanding. It was a tough fixture at this stage of the season, they play a direct a style with a lot of energy and they have goals in their team.
“If you’re not right mentally you come unstuck against teams like Northampton.
“We stood up to their direct play and aggression really well, I thought we were very workmanlike at times and then added real quality.
“The first two goals were outstanding strikes and the third one was a brilliant Millwall goal.
“We played with tempo and energy, there was a quick throw to get into a good area and then composure and quality to score.
“The first one was a great strike by Aiden and the second was just a hammer-foot from Jed, he’s got that ability. They both showed their qualities, not just with their strikes but with their link-up play.
“I thought there were moments when they showed real composure and class during the game.”
Millwall needed Tom King to make three smart first-half saves as they kept a clean sheet for the first time in seven games.
King kept out Luke Williams’ low shot before producing a brilliant reaction stop to prevent Shaun Hutchinson scoring an own goal. King also had to deal with a tricky, swerving free-kick from Matthew Taylor at the end of the first half.
Jordan Archer made his return to the bench after three games out, but Harris didn’t want to risk his first-choice goalkeeper.
“Jordan’s still not been convincing enough that he’s 100 per cent fit,” Harris said. “He’s done bits of training, come off the pitch, and done a bit again.
“I thought we needed stability. Kingy has done ever so well. It would have been risky for me to have played Jordan today.
“I thought Kingy made one really good instinctive save from Hutch’s mis-cued clearance and the other two were dangerous, the ball bouncing in front of him but he showed good hands and made good decisions.
“I was really pleased with him.”
Image: Millwall FC