By Jake Sanders
MILLWALL are still in search of their first league victory of the season and needed a fine second-half display from Jordan Archer to earn a point against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.
The Lions goalkeeper made a host of impressive stops to keep Rovers at bay and ensure his side didn’t leave East Lancashire empty-handed.
It was a real game of two halves and one that both sides will be left scratching their heads at how it stayed goalless. Millwall hit the woodwork twice and Rovers once in a tight contest.
Neil Harris opted to stick with the same starting team that drew 2-2 with Middlesbrough last Saturday despite his side squandering a two-goal lead late in that game.
The Lions started brightly and almost took the lead inside three minutes. Steve Morison found space just outside the box and played a smart chipped pass to Jed Wallace, who was to his right, but the winger’s first-time volley flew just wide of the post.
Millwall showed no signs of letting up after their fast start as George Saville came within a whisker of opening his account for the season. Shaun Williams played a cute past to the Northern Ireland international, but his stinging effort came back off the post with goalkeeper David Raya beaten. Lee Gregory fired wide from the rebound from an offside position and Rovers survived.
Tony Mowbray’s side slowly grew into the contest and enjoyed a spell of possession, but a couple of corners was the closest they came to testing Archer, both of which were easily dealt with by the visitors.
It was the Lions that once again went closest to breaking the deadlock. Morison picked up the ball and advanced into the area before firing a low effort towards the far corner that came back off the woodwork and somehow failed to cross the line. From the resulting corner, Jake Cooper headed towards goal, but Gregory was unable to poke it past Raya as he claimed possession, and it stayed goalless.
It took the hosts until the final minute of the half to test the Millwall back four and it could have easily resulted in the first goal. Archer had to be at his best to tip Bradley Dack’s curling free-kick behind for a corner and then the Rovers man turned provider as his deep cross was met by Darragh Lenihan, but his looping header clipped the top of the bar.
Those chances seemed to spring Rovers into life and they started the second half on the front foot.
And Millwall were once again thankful to Archer for keeping the scores level. Dack found Danny Graham with a fine pass, but the Lions goalkeeper blocked the striker's close-range effort.
Moments later, the same two players combined, but it was Archer that came out on top – racing off his line before spreading himself to deny Graham when one-on-one.
The onslaught continued but Archer refused to be beaten as he made a third fine save of the half. This time it was substitute midfielder Joe Rothwell who drove forward and powerfully took aim from long range, but Archer was perfectly positioned again to acrobatically tip the ball around the post.
Harris introduced fresh legs when he sent on Czech Republic international Jiri Skalak to replace Aiden O’Brien on the left of midfield. Shane Ferguson also came on for Wallace, who had run himself ragged, but there was not much action in the latter stages of the game and both sides had to settle for a point.
Image: Millwall FC