REPORT: Millwall 2-2 Cardiff City

TOM Bradshaw scored for the fourth consecutive game as Millwall twice came from behind to earn a draw against Cardiff in front of new boss Gary Rowett.

Millwall fell behind in the 12th minute when some slack marking gave Danny Ward the chance to head Junior Hoilett’s cross past Bart Bialkowski.

The Lions levelled in the 45th minute after Bradshaw found space in the box to fire home his fourth goal in his last four games.

Neil Warnock’s side were back in front in the 57th minute as Lee Tomlin flicked the ball inside to Hoilett running off the left wing, and the winger brilliantly curled the ball around Bialkowski from 20 yards into the far corner.

Bialkoswki made two superb saves in less than a minute first to deny Aiden Flint from point-blank range before keeping out Sean Morrison’s snapshot from the resulting corner.

Millwall responded again and when substitute Jon Dadi Bodvarsson flicked the ball through a gap in the home defence Bradshaw cut inside Flint and fired into the corner with 13 minutes left.

Cardiff almost snatched the win late on, but Callum Patterson shot just wide of the post.

Adam Barrett, who reverts to a coaching role under Rowett, can be pleased with four points from his three games in charge.

New Lions boss on watching brief

Rowett watched the game from the directors' box at The Den.

Rowett is renowned as a good defensive coach – his Derby side kept 11 clean sheets in a 14-game run in the 2017-18 season – and he will have seen a lot to work on.

When the Bluebirds went ahead it was the fourth goal Millwall had conceded in the last 24 minutes of football.

The hosts were inviting Cardiff through the front door, muddy boots on, and the visitors were breezing in and making a mess of the home defence.

Bialkowski saved low to his left from Tomlin and then Ward as Cardiff were made to look like a slick, passing side.

Ward had a chance for his second when, again, he had too much space in the box to turn and shoot, and Bialkowski made another save down to his left.

Millwall then scored against the run of most of the first-half play.

The Lions haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last 10 league games and were sheared open again 12 minutes into the second half.

Cardiff showed the value of having players with fleet of thought as well as foot in attack as Tomlin and Hoilett combined brilliantly. Tomlin’s sumptuous flick was matched by Hoilett’s finish.

Rowett has a record of taking over teams and making them solid. That will be a priority when he takes his first training session on Thursday. From being so structured and reliable in 2017-18 – when they kept 19 clean sheets in the league – it’s been a slippery defensive slope since.

It seems most weeks we’re updating the tally of late goals conceded leading to points dropped. At least that didn't happen here.

At the other end of the pitch Rowett will surely be buoyed by having a striker whose confidence is so high. He seems to be taking nearly every chance he gets.

Striker matches Gregory run

The last Millwall player to score in four consecutive league games was Lee Gregory in January and February 2016. Gregory went on to make it six (Oldham, Port Vale, Chesterfield, Crewe, Walsall and Rochdale) and Bradshaw will be gunning for five in a row against the former Lions striker’s Stoke side on Saturday.

Bradshaw dispatched his fifth goal in his last four games with such accuracy and pace. It should be a decent shootout between Bradshaw and the man he replaced this weekend.

Jed Wallace takes attacking fight to Cardiff

In his first official interview with the club, Rowett said Wallace was as good as any player in the division in his position.

Wallace looked like that had put an extra spring in his already sprightly step as he ran at the Cardiff defence any chance he got.

He was instrumental in getting Millwall moving quickly forward, off either wing, and getting them back in the game in the first half.

Millwall also looked much more dynamic in the last 20 minutes when Bodvarsson came on for Matt Smith, who had made little impact.

Team news

Barrett made two changes to his side, and switched to 4-4-2. Aiden O’Brien and Smith started in place of Jayson Molumby and Shane Ferguson.

Millwall: 4-4-2: Bialkowski; Romeo, Hutchinson, Cooper, M. Wallace; J. Wallace, Thompson, Williams, O’Brien (Mahoney, 86); Smith (Bodvarsson, 70), Bradshaw.

Subs: Steele; McCarthy, Pearce, Molumby, Ferguson.

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly