REPORT: Stoke City 0-0 Millwall

SHAUN Williams was sent off as Millwall stretched their unbeaten away run to six games with a 0-0 draw at Stoke City.

Williams was given a straight red card with five minutes left after he clattered into Liam Lindsay on the edge of the Potters box.

The Lions survived late Stoke pressure to earn a draw.

Dull game comes to life late on

A case of post-Christmas drift for both sides.

This was a poor game, perhaps understandably after the hectic period in late December and early January.

Millwall looked such a counter-attacking threat away from home in their last four games but not really here.

But if you’re not on your attacking game then you need to be assured and steady in defence, and that was the main positive for the Lions on a day that didn’t have many of them.

Millwall’s three-pronged attack didn’t function as a unit, and Jed Wallace was unusually uninvolved.

Stoke had the game’s best two chances, but in keeping with the story of the contest James McClean made a mess of his and then Jake Cooper cleared Tyrese Jackson’s header off the line.

Williams could have a case for saying he had his eye on the ball as he challenged Lindsay, but after players from both sides came together sparked by the incident, referee Jeremy Simpson produced a red card.

A point away from home keeps the unbeaten run going, but this contest won’t last too long in the memory.

Winger struggles again away from home

It’s probably unfair to pick out one player given how poor the attacking play was from both sides for most of the game.

But Connor Mahoney looked nothing like the player who had scored and assisted in each of the last two games at The Den. He has struggled away from home and towards the end of the first half it was a struggle to recall any contribution from him.

There is no doubt he is a gifted player, but he has to find a way to more aggressively become involved. At one Jed Wallace sent a ball towards him from left to the right, but Mahoney was backing away from play rather than going more central and Stoke won possession back.

Mahoney was taken off shortly after that and he still has some convincing to do.

Former Lion on the bench

Lee Gregory had scored just four goals in 23 games in all competitions before this game. He desperately would have wanted to start but was instead on the bench.

From being arguably Millwall’s most important player last season, Gregory hasn’t hit his stride at Stoke.

He came on with two minutes left, but that wasn’t enough time to make an impact.

Match details

Campbell had the game’s first real effort when he shot over from 20 yards in the sixth minute.

In the 10th minute Tom Bradshaw went outside Lindsay in the box before shooting low and forcing Jack Butland to tip the ball around his right-hand post.

Stoke forced several corners with McClean trying to pick out Danny Batth at the far post, but Cooper stayed close to the opposing centre-back to deny him an effort on goal.

The sides traded chances just after the half-hour mark as Butland saved Mahlon Romeo’s low shot before Stoke counter-attacked and Sam Vokes headed just wide of the near post from Bruno Martins Indi’s left-wing cross.

A minute before half-time McClean crossed from the left and Vokes beat Alex Pearce to the ball but could only flick his attempt wide at the near post. The quality of the half was summed up when Bart Bialkowski kicked the ball straight out of play on the left touchline, the third time the goalkeeper had done it in the opening 45 minutes.

From the second-half kick-off Jed Wallace tried to lob Butland but the effort went well over the crossbar.

Williams then shot from 25 yards but again it didn’t really trouble Butland who saved low to his left.

Nick Powell fired over the bar in the 54th minute as the game continued to lack real spark or attacking flair.

The hosts had a glorious chance to go ahead on the hour when Vokes parted the Millwall defence with a header and McClean was through on goal, but he hacked at the ball with his right foot from 15 yards and the Lions were let off the hook.

The visitors then had Cooper to thank for clearing Campbell’s header off the line after Bilakowski had punched away Joe Allen’s cross and was stranded.

Moments later Bradshaw went down in the box and referee Simpson had a good look before deciding there was no contact.

The game was more open now and when Campbell crossed from the right Bialkowski was relieved to see the ball drift outside the post.

Williams was dismissed after Cooper’s header had been cleared off the line.

Stoke pushed forward against the 10 men, but couldn’t find a winner.

Team news

Rowett made five changes to the side that started in the FA Cup third-round win over Newport last weekend.

Romeo, Shaun Hutchinson, Williams, Wallace and Bradshaw returned to the starting XI.

Millwall: 5-2-3: Bialkowski; Romeo, Hutchinson, Pearce, Cooper, M Wallace; Molumby, Williams; J Wallace (Mitchell, 92), Bradshaw (Bradshaw, 68), Mahoney (Ferguson, 61).

Subs: Steele, McCarthy, Mitchell, Skalak, Bodvarsson.

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly