- English Football League - Championship
- Tuesday, April 30th 2019
- The Den
James Crawley reports from The Den
Report: Millwall 1-2 Bristol City
Tuesday, April 30th 2019
City fought from behind in dramatic style to overcome Millwall 2-1 at the Den.
Lee Gregory had volleyed the hosts into a first-half lead but their push for a second goal proved unsuccessful, with the post coming to City’s aid before Max O’Leary’s save from a Shaun Williams penalty.
That proved to be the turning point as Lee Johnson’s side equalised through Jamie Paterson’s exquisite free kick only four minutes later, before Famara Diédhiou pounced to hit the winner less than ten minutes from the end.
The result means City will end the season in the top nine, with their fight for the final play-off spot still very much alive ahead of Derby County’s clash with Swansea City.
Johnson handed Liam Walsh his first start of 2019, being one of three changes from Saturday’s defeat to Derby County. O’Leary replaced Niki Mäenpää in the City goal, while Lloyd Kelly replaced Jay Dasilva.
It was a game which lacked in the action early on, with the Robins faithful creating a buzz in the visitor’s stand as the spring sun settled in the capital.
Much like recent displays, City were enjoying plenty of possession and looked to the wide areas to create. Diédhiou, the recognisable target man, couldn’t get close enough to a low through ball from Walsh, while David Martin made light work of a tame Paterson effort and Josh Brownhill sent a glancing header over the bar.
City’s defence had had little to worry about, only a misjudged Adam Webster backpass had O’Leary backpedalling but the ball fortunately ended up wide of goal rather in the back of the net.
An apparent injury to Jack Hunt forced the right-back off with Eros Pisano his natural replacement, while going forward City again looked to create.
The move started with Webster who brought the ball forward and found Andreas Weimann wide to his right. The Austrian’s delivery into the box was long but kept alive by Paterson who tried to pick out Diédhiou but Millwall just about survived.
The game comes to life
The action would come late in the half it would seem and minutes later the Den erupted as Gregory fired the hosts in front, with their first real chance on goal. It was Millwall captain Steve Morison with the assist, who headed the ball into Gregory’s path and he turned and shot past O’Leary.
It was almost two moments later as the Lions looked to build on their momentum. Gregory was involved again, putting pressure on Webster and the chance looked on when he won the ball back in City’s penalty area. However, he took too much time and the travelling side were able to block and clear their lines.
City then had O’Leary to thank with a big save from the goal-hungry Gregory. Pisano was quickly put under pressure and his attempted clearance ricocheted into the path of Millwall’s number nine. The attacker was through on goal but City’s keeper was quick off his line to smother the shot before half-time.
Johnson introduced Kasey Palmer at the break with attack now seen as the best form of defence but only the post denied the hosts from doubling their advantage less than ten minutes into the second half. The chance came from a corner, from which Jake Cooper headed the ball off the woodwork and Ryan Leonard couldn’t keep the follow up down.
Now the home crowd were in voice and City had to survive another dangerous wave with Gregory looking to turn architect. His initial hold up play was good before he laid the ball into Ryan Tunnicliffe’s path. The midfielder burst into the penalty area, his shot was low but O’Leary used his right leg to block.
A tactical switch followed with earlier substitute Pisano replaced on the hour-mark by Matty Taylor; Johnson’s final roll of the dice as he continued to look for avenues to get forward.
O'Leary save turns momentum
Still, Millwall remained a threat on the counter and when the referee pointed to the spot, as Gregory tumbled under O’Leary’s tackle, the away end held its breath. Up stepped Shaun Williams from the spot but O’Leary had done his homework and dived to his right, producing a strong one-handed save to push the ball away.
And it was exactly what was needed as City pushed on from what would prove to be the game-changing moment, forcing the equaliser just minutes later. Taylor got himself in the action and won a free kick 25 yards from goal, from which Paterson dispatched the perfect kick, guiding the ball into the corner, leaving Martin rooted to his spot.
There was a sense of belief but not before a crucial clearance from Tomas Kalas as he stood in the right place at the right time to block Gregory’s overhead kick, though with nine minutes remaining City would take the lead!
Diédhiou seals it
This time it was Paterson turning provider in front of the away supporters, feeding a ball into Diédhiou’s path from a central position and the strike made no mistake, slotting the ball beyond the Lions keeper, to send the three points back down the M4.
The Robins will now travel to Hull City for the final schedule game of the 2018/19 campaign on Sunday (May 5th, 12.30pm).
- Gregory (41')
- James Meredith, Shaun Williams
- Paterson (76') , Diedhiou (81')
- Jack Hunt, Liam Walsh, Eros Pisano