MILLWALL couldn’t match the high of their FA Cup victory over Everton last weekend as Rotherham claimed a 0-0 draw at The Den on Saturday.
After one shot each on target in a poor first half the game sparked in the 56th minute when Ben Marshall cleared off the line and players from both sides got involved after a late tackle on Jordan Archer. Richard Wood was booked after that melee.
Millwall were the better side in the last 10 minutes and went agonisingly close with the last kick of the game when Lee Gregory couldn't hit the target from five yards from Jed Wallace's cross.
It was disappointingly predictable that this game mostly played out as had been feared. Millwall hadn’t won any of their four league games directly after matches against Premier League opposition in the FA Cup under Neil Harris.
In fact, this was a fifth 0-0 draw to add to that peculiar winless list.
This was a chance to extend the advantage over Rotherham to seven points, but instead the gap remains at four as the Millers give the impression they aren’t going to give up their Championship place after one season.
It’s such a crucial month for the Lions with five more league fixtures, none of them straightforward.
This may have looked that – the Millers hadn’t won away in the Championship in 39 consecutive games – and Gregory will be left wondering how he didn't win it at the end.
Harris made three changes to the side that defeated Everton 3-2 last Saturday. The Lions named the same team that started in the 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough, Marshall, Ben Thompson and Wallace returning to the side.
Fred Onyedinma was on the bench, Jiri Skalak, James Meredith, Jethro Hanson and George Alexander dropping out of today’s squad.
4-3-3: Archer; Romeo, Hutchinson, Cooper, M Wallace; Leonard, Williams, Thompson (Morison, 65); J Wallace, Gregory, Marshall.
Subs: Martin, Onyedinma, Ferguson, Pearce, Tunnicliffe, O'Brien.
Marshall clipped the top of the bar in the second minute as Millwall started with Thompson the more advanced midfielder and Wallace and Marshall coming in off their wings to support Gregory.
Jake Cooper headed Shaun Williams’ corner over the bar in the 20th minute as Millwall made most of the early running.
Rotherham had one effort on goal before the break, left-back Clark Robertson heading straight at Jordan Archer.
Ryan Leonard then shot over after Shaun Hutchinson had flicked Marshall’s corner back to him, before Marshall was unmarked from Williams’ corner but headed over.
Six minutes before half-time Millers goalkeeper Marek Rodak was behind Mahlon Romeo’s effort from 25 yards.
Seven minutes into the second half centre-back Semi Ajayi fired over the bar for the visitors when he should have kept his shot on target.
The Millers were more dangerous since the break and Archer had to push away Michael Smith’s shot in the 55th minute. Two minutes later the goalkeeper came for a throw-in but missed it, Marshall blocked Smith’s shot on the line and then Wood appeared to catch Archer late.
Ajayi had another effort that the visitors claimed hit Cooper’s arm before Archer saw a clearance partially blocked by Smith and was relieved to see Cooper hook the ball away.
Harris brought on Steve Morison for Thompson in the 65th minute and switched to 4-4-2.
Millwall were more urgent going into the last 20 minutes but Rodak still hadn’t been rested since that Romeo effort.
In the 77th minute Wallace sprinted through the middle of the pitch towards the Rotherham box – after winning possession in midfield and leaving Matt Crooks injured – and passed wide on the right to Morison but his cross was over everyone.
The Lions were inches away from making the breakthrough with 10 minutes left. Marshall crossed from the left wing and Robertson was relieved to see his header just clear the post.
Marshall then went even closer in the 83rd minute but his header from Wallace’s cross drifted wide.
Millwall thought they would win it in the 95th minute, but Gregory somehow missed an open goal.
Image: Millwall FC