By Jake Sanders
MILLWALL conceded two penalties and were denied their first victory in seven league games as a late second-half double from David McGoldrick earned Sheffield United a 3-2 victory at The Den.
Billy Sharp had a first-half penalty saved by Ben Amos, but the striker eventually did put the Blades in front just before half-time with a header.
Two goals in three second-half minutes after half-time from Jake Cooper and Lee Gregory seemed to be about to end the Lions’ winless run, but McGoldrick struck 79th and 89th minutes to seal a dramatic win for Chris Wilder’s side.
Neil Harris said before the game that Millwall needed to return to basics and his starting XI reflected that as Aiden O’Brien and Lee Gregory returned, with the latter partnering Steve Morison after his midweek rest.
The visitors made a bright start to the game and almost took the lead on seven minutes, but Amos made a good stop to deny Sharp after a fine long pass from Chris Basham over the top.
Millwall took a while to get going but grew into the game with a series of corners, though they failed to test Dean Henderson in the Sheffield United goal.
Enda Stevens and Ryan Leonard – the latter against his former club – picked up bookings as neither side could really stamp their authority on the contest in a scrappy first-half.
On 26 minutes, the Blades were gifted a chance to take the lead after referee Andy Davies had adjudged the ball hit Shaun Williams’ hand. He wasn’t wrong, but the fact the Lions man was no more than yard away felt extremely harsh.
Sharp stepped up, Amos made a wonderful save – via the crossbar – and after the resulting danger was cleared, Millwall survived.
At the other end, Williams let fly from distance, but Henderson was equal to his powerful drive.
It looked like the sides would go into the break on level terms, but Sharp – clearly keen to atone for his earlier penalty miss – had other ideas.
Mark Duffy was given far too much time on the right to deliver an inch-perfect cross for Sharp, who was unmarked to coolly nod home from eight yards out.
The Lions could have been given a penalty of their own in first-half stoppage-time, but Gregory, who looked to have been clipped by a Blades defender, stayed on his feet instead of going down before Henderson made a good save at his near post after a well-timed flick-on from Morison.
It took Millwall less than two minutes of the second-half to restore parity. Williams’ deep corner found Cooper who headed into the far corner.
Two minutes later, the Lions completed the turnaround. Leonard provided a wonderful pass for Gregory, who composed himself before beautifully dinking past Henderson into the far corner for his first Championship goal since the opening day of the season against Middlesbrough.
O’Brien had a golden chance to extend the lead, but he could only blaze over after great work from Morison.
Sheffield United responded positively and just nine minutes after going behind they almost got themselves level. Kieron Freeman and Duffy combined, before the latter’s low effort was palmed away from danger by Amos.
Their equaliser did eventually come on 79 minutes after Williams conceded a second penalty of the afternoon, this time for a foul on Duffy. The visitors changed takers, and it had the desired result as McGoldrick sent Amos the wrong way and made it 2-2.
And with just two minutes to go, the dangerous Duffy produced another fine cross and McGoldrick was left all alone three yards out to tap home.
Harris sent on Shane Ferguson, Tom Elliott and Tom Bradshaw as his side searched for an equaliser, but it was to no avail as the Yorkshire side left The Den with maximum points.
Image: Millwall FC