MILLWALL couldn’t take full advantage of Rotherham’s defeat at home to Aston Villa on Wednesday night as they laboured to a goalless draw against QPR at The Den.
The Hoops came to south London in determined mood, and fairly comfortably succeeded in keeping the gap between the sides to four points.
The visitors were put under more pressure in the second half, but the Lions failed to really trouble goalkeeper Joe Lumley.
Millwall’s 5000th league game in their history, and that’s about all that was notable about it for the record books.
At one point on Wednesday night Millwall were in the relegation zone, before other results eventually turned for them.
They didn’t really do enough to deserve any more than a point, and could have been caught in the second half after Bright Osayi-Samuel came on for the visitors and threatened a breakthrough.
Hoops full-backs Ryan Manning and Darnell Furling defended brilliantly, with QPR happy they had enough to match their opponents on set-pieces.
Jake Cooper had a couple of half-chances, but it was Osayi-Samuel’s pace on the break that looked like it could unlock the hosts. David Martin made one brilliant save to deny the attacker, and was relieved to see efforts from the same player and Luke Freeman clear his goal. The goalkeeper kept his third clean sheet in four league games.
Millwall ran out of steam towards the end, but remain above the relegation zone.
Neil Harris named an unchanged side for a third straight game, with one change on the bench where goalkeeper Ben Amos replaced Jordan Archer.
4-4-1-1: Martin; Romeo, Pearce, Cooper, Meredith; Wallace, Tunnicliffe (Morison, 83), Leonard, Marshall (O'Brien, 78); Thompson; Gregory.
Subs: Amos, McLaughlin, Williams, Elliott, Skalak.
It was about as poor a first half as was seen at The Den this season, and it didn't get much better in the second. There was so little space for either side to play in and then when they did get possession players gave the ball away easily, or thumped passes out of play under little pressure.
— John Kelly (@JKelly1882) April 10, 2019
Referee John Brooks was the villain in the eyes of the home fans early on. He booked Ben Marshall and Ryan Tunnicliffe, but it was his awarding of soft-looking free-kicks to the visitors that riled Lions supporters.
There was also the moment that Lee Gregory chased a long ball and appeared to be clipped by Joel Lynch, the last defender. It was hard to tell if there was contact, though the three home stands’ boos for Brooks at the half-time whistle told what they thought of some of his decisions.
QPR went closest to scoring in the opening half. Martin gathered Matt Smith’s volley at the second attempt, before Smith headed Freeman’s cross across goal. Had any QPR player anticipated it they would have had a tap-in.
Rotherham took the lead against Aston Villa in the 36th minute of their game, to drop the Lions into the bottom three. Reading and Wigan were also winning at that point and it almost got worse for the hosts when Smith won a header over Martin but Cooper cleared off the line. Smith also got to Freeman’s corner first, and nodded just over.
It was just as physical at the start of the second half and Massimo Luongo was booked for catching Mahlon Romeo late, before Cooper’s header from Marshall’s left-wing cross was saved by Lumley.
Millwall had moved up a gear and from the second of two corners Alex Pearce’s header was cleared off the line by Manning.
The Lions continued to chisel away at the visiting defence, and though they were dominating possession and territory they were struggling to create goal chances. QPR were defending well in wide areas, blocking a number of attempted crosses. It left Gregory frustrated in the box.
Millwall were then almost caught. Substitute Osayi-Samuel out-paced Pearce and was in, but Martin was swiftly off his line to save his side. Freeman then gained possession and aimed a shot across goal that narrowly went wide.
Osayi-Samuel had given QPR a real threat and pace in attack. From a counter-attack he surged into the right side of the box to shoot, but just missed the far post.
Millwall stay unbeaten at home against the Hoops since 1990.
Image: Millwall FC