By Neil Goulding
MILLWALL manager Neil Harris was sent to the stands as super-sub Tom Bradshaw rescued a point at Middlesbrough.
Welsh international Bradshaw bagged his first league goal in over a year to cancel out Paddy McNair’s opener at the Riverside.
The Lions were looking to bounce back after being mauled by on-song Fulham in mid-week.
Neil Harris was still without Jed Wallace, the only Millwall player to score in the league other than Matt Smith, due to his sending-off during the club’s gutsy win over Sheffield Wednesday last Saturday.
Harris made two changes to the side which were hammered 4-0 in the mid-week London derby. Top scorer Smith and Aiden O’Brien returned to the starting line-up as Bradshaw was named on the bench and Jiri Skalak missed out after picking up an injury at Craven Cottage.
The Lions headed to the Riverside looking for their first win at the ground since 2014, when Stefan Maierhofer’s first-half brace bagged the points.
And they created some decent chances in the first period.
But they had to deal with some early pressure from Boro.
Shot-stopper Bartosz Bialkowski made a good save to keep out Britt Assombalonga’s header in the 12th minute.
Boro’s star striker Assombalonga then failed to get on the end of Ashley Fletcher’s drilled cross.
Down the other end the returning Smith went close as he nodded Murray’s Wallace’s pin-point cross just off target.
And Harris’ Lions continued to put the pressure on the hosts.
Ben Thompson saw his powerful strike superbly tipped over the bar by Irish ‘keeper Darren Randolph.
The resulting corner almost broke the deadlock in the north east. Smith did well to create some space for himself, only to see his header agonisingly nodded against the bar as Boro midfielder Adam Clayton cleared it off the line.
Thompson and Smith were the main threats for the visitors. And they combined as Thompson blasted over the bar after Smith knocked the ball into his path.
On the stroke of half-time, Lions boss Harris was sent to the stands by referee John Brooks. The altercation occurred on the touchline between both sets of coaching staff.
Harris had some choice words with the Boro bench as he tried to get the ball back from hosts’ coach Leo Percovich so the Lions could take a free-kick.
Millwall picked up from exactly where they left off before the break.
Smith squandered a great chance as Randolph spared his own blushes. The Ireland international stopper gifted the ball straight to the striker before making a good low save from Smith’s edge-of-the-box shot.
Millwall then cleared a scramble in the box as Boro began to assert themselves on the encounter. Fletcher could only head over after being expertly found at the back post by Marvin Johnson.
And the pressure told as former Manchester United players Fletcher and McNair linked up for the opener.
Fletcher found McNair with a well-weighted through-ball and the Northern Irishman blasted home.
Soon after going behind Harris brought on Bradshaw as he tried to get something from the game.
And the former Barnsley striker didn’t disappoint as he grabbed the equaliser seconds after coming on. Bradshaw bundled the ball home with his first touch after Ryan Leonard’s corner was knocked into his path by Smith with 14 minutes left.
With eight minutes remaining Fletcher fired off-target after cutting inside to let rip.
Late on, Smith failed to hit the target with a header after Connor Mahoney’s pin-point free-kick.
Millwall: 4-4-1-1: Bialkowski; Romeo, Pearce, Cooper, M Wallace; O'Brien (Ferguson, 67), Leonard, Williams (Bradshaw, 75), Mahoney (McCarthy, 88); Thompson; Smith.
Image: Millwall FC