MILLWALL couldn't find a breakthrough against Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night with the result a first 0-0 draw between the sides since December 1947.
Wednesday goalkeeper Keiren Westwood saved Jed Wallace’s free-kick in a dull first half at an unusually quiet Den.
The visitors posed little attacking threat before the break with Liam Palmer’s 44th-minute cross that was cleared by Shaun Hutchinson the one time they showed any ambition.
There was more goalmouth action in the second half and Millwall went close to making the breakthrough when Ben Marshall headed towards goal but Jordan Thorniley cleared off the line.
Steven Fletcher went close to winning it with the last kick of the game, but his fierce shot just missed the top corner.
Millwall hadn’t won since the third round of the FA Cup here, and hadn’t scored a goal that didn't come off a set-piece in the league at The Den since December 8. Neither statistics looked like changing in the first half.
Both sides were more ambitions in the second half and there was a bit more bite, with a Fletcher tackle on Shaun Williams that on another day could have seen the striker sent off rather than booked.
Fred Onyedinma came on for his first Millwall appearance since August and had a chance in injury-time to force a winner, but after sprinting into the box he tried a stepover too many and left the ball behind to groans from the home fans.
Millwall have now drawn four blanks in five league games – it’s the wrong time to be running out of goals.
There was one change for Millwall from the defeat to Swansea on Saturday, Aiden O’Brien starting in place of Ben Thompson.
4-4-2: Archer; Romeo, Hutchinson, Cooper, M Wallace; J Wallace, Leonard, Williams, Marshall (Ferguson, 82); O’Brien (Morison, 71), Gregory (Onyedinma, 82).
Millwall were the more threatening side early on and Michael Hector had to hook over his own bar in the ninth minute after Marshall had headed Mahlon Romeo’s cross back across goal.
Owls right-back Palmer came to his side’s rescue in the 12th minute when his tackle denied the lively Marshall an effort on goal from eight yards out.
It was a game of dreadfully low quality and the most Wednesday could muster in the opening half hour was a hopeful cross to the back post towards Fletcher, who had stepped offside.
Even Millwall’s attempts to make the most of their set-pieces were being thwarted by a seemingly over fussy refereeing performance from Tim Robinson.
The Lions benefitted from Robinson’s whistle when Ryan Leonard was fouled by Thorniley 25 yards out nine minutes before the break. Wallace fired in a direct free-kick that Westwood batted away before the goalkeeper saved Romeo’s follow-up effort.
Wednesday’s Barry Bannan was the one player on the pitch possessing the quality to unpick a defence. He weighted a delightful ball to Palmer sneaking in behind Murray Wallace, and Hutchinson had to be at his alert best to clear with Lucas Joao ready to pounce.
Steve Bruce gave Bannan a more central role in the second half with George Boyd placed on the left of midfield after he had come on for Joey Pelupessy at the break. Boyd combined with Morgan Fox three minutes into the second period before Joao worked some space for a shot but it was straight at Jordan Archer.
Millwall’s main threat was down the right and eventually after trying that corridor for a number of minutes without success, Wallace crossed to the near post where O’Brien stooped to head but Westwood had his near post covered.
Moments later Archer saved Adam Reach’s effort before O’Brien flashed in a shot that Westwood didn’t know a lot about and the ball bounced away to safety.
There was certainly more vigour in the game now but Fletcher almost took it too far when he caught Williams. With several players sprinting towards the two players Robinson quickly calmed the situation with a yellow card for the Owls striker. Bannan’s influence was growing as the game entered the final quarter, and it was after the midfielder’s promptings that Hutchinson again had to clear Boyd’s low cross.
With 17 minutes left Reach’s cross to the back post almost went in after Hector had just missed making contact.
Steve Morison had come on for O’Brien two minutes earlier as the Lions went more direct to where they thought they could target the less experienced Thorniley. Morison got beyond the centre-back in the 79th minute but sliced his shot wide at the near post.
Millwall went much closer moments later and it was again Thorniley involved, the defender clearing Marshall’s header off the line after Morison had nodded Lee Gregory’s chip back across goal.
Onyedinma briefly raised hope that the hosts could find a winner, but his stumble summed up much of what had gone before, as Millwall then almost lost it deep into injury-time but Fletcher was a whisker wide.
Image: Millwall FC