MILLWALL will go into their FA Cup fourth-round clash against Everton at The Den with confidence after a performance that deserved more at Middlesbrough at The Riverside Stadium on Saturday.
Boro needed a 90th-minute Jordan Hugill penalty to rescue a point after Jed Wallace’s 22nd-minute opener.
Neil Harris brought Ben Marshall and Ben Thompson into his side against Boro, the latter’s inclusion in midfield after his loan spell with Portsmouth facilitating a switch to a 4-3-3 formation that stifled the opposition for long periods and created several opportunities for counter-attacks.
Wallace ran almost the length of the pitch in the breakaway that led to the goal, Lee Gregory drawing in two defenders before releasing his team-mate for a finish past Boro goalkeeper Darren Randolph.
Thompson also enjoyed the extra attacking freedom the formation allowed, getting forward to support the attack and he had a chance to score from Shaun Williams’ cross.
Marshall, who joined on loan from Norwich last week, made a good start to his second Lions spell and sent one shot fizzing just wide.
But Harris will be unable to pick either Thompson or Marshall against the Toffees next weekend as both are cup-tied, coincidentally from the same fixture. Thompson’s Portsmouth defeated Norwich with Marshall in the side in the third round at Carrow Road.
Harris made five changes to his side against Tony Pulis’ Boro, but said those left out could be given a chance against Marco Silva's Premier League team.
“We had a think about the game,” he explained. “As you’ve seen this week there’s a lot of research done into the opposition – we certainly do our fair share.
“We knew how to deal with Boro physically, set-pieces and second balls because they’re so good at it, but we thought we could get them on the counter-attack.
"We thought that at home they’d be under pressure to get after us and we thought we’d have the energy and the legs to get forward. I’m delighted how that panned out for us.
“The changes are part of football. You have to pick team for a certain game. Some individuals will be disappointed today but they might be back in the team next week.”
Image: Millwall FC