By Jake Sanders
MILLWALL completed a perfect festive period and earned their first away victory of the season as they produced an incredible second-half comeback to beat Ipswich Town.
The Lions moved up 19th in the table and extended their lead over the relegation zone to six points.
They now take a short break from league action as they host fellow Championship side Hull City for the second time in the space of four-weeks in the FA Cup 3rd Round on Sunday.
When Millwall do return to league duties, they'll be looking to record four consecutive wins. The last time they achieved that was during their 17-match unbeaten run back in March.
In terms of the action, Jack Lankester gave the Tractor Boys an early lead, but three goals in 16 second-half minutes from Shane Ferguson, Jake Cooper and Tom Elliott put the Lions into a 3-1 lead. Kayden Jackson curled home a late stunner, but it wasn't enough for Ipswich, who stay bottom.
Neil Harris was forced into making two changes as Shaun Hutchinson and Lee Gregory both missed out through injury. Murray Wallace and O'Brien took their places, with the latter partnering Tom Elliott up front.
Ipswich started like a house on fire and took the lead inside the opening two minutes. Freddie Sears broke forward and despite being cleaned out by Cooper, his pass found Lankester on the right and he cut inside before arrowing a shot into the far corner.
And the visitors could have fallen even further behind just moments later. The lively Ellis Harrison crossed for Sears who nipped in at the near post, but his powerful effort was wonderfully blocked by Jordan Archer from point-blank range.
Despite a spell of Millwall possession, it was Ipswich who were creating all the chances. The Lions were opened up down their left-hand side – this time Teddy Bishop was the provider, finding Sears, who had to score, but Ryan Tunnicliffe produced a goal-saving block to keep it at 1-0.
But barely a minute later and completely against the run of play, Harris' side could have easily levelled.
Elliott put Jed Wallace in the clear, but after galloping forward on a tremendous run, the angle was tight, and he was denied by sharp stop from Dean Gerken.
Harris decided to change the shape at half-time, switching to a 4-3-3, with Morison – who replaced James Meredith – and O'Brien either side of Elliott, with Ferguson moving to left-back.
That switch seemed to unsettle the hosts, and just 15 minutes into the second half Millwall found a route back into game.
Cooper went long for Morison, who flicked on into Elliott's path before he was bundled over in the box by Luke Chambers. With Williams out injured, Ferguson took over penalty duties and coolly fired home from 12-yards.
And just nine minutes later the Lions completed the turnaround. Morison collected the ball on the right and found Elliott with an excellent cross to the back post, he then headed back across goal for Cooper to power home his fifth Championship goal of the campaign.
It got even better for Millwall on 76 minutes as they added a third. O'Brien produced a wonderful backheel for Elliott, who was on hand to slot home his third of the campaign and first since October.
The hosts pulled one back in the 88th minute through Jackson and despite six minutes of injury-time and a flurry of late Ipswich corners, Harris' side held on for their first away victory since 10 April and ensured they collected maximum points over the festive period.
Image: Millwall FC