At the start of the season, Millwall were made favourites by the bookies and the pundits for promotion back to the championship. Millwall fans especially after last season were confident and felt entitled to think that automatic promotion and not playoffs was what we were going for.
Millwall fans are not prone to flights of fantasy and do not think all we have to do is turn up and the three points just drop into our lap. They know hard work is required, but with the key players from last season staying, with the exception of Beevers, who let his contract run down and went back north. We also added to the squad.
Last week we were at Southend, I was not there myself but by all accounts it was a disaster. In fact in the match programme for the game against Rochdale AFC, Captain Tony Craig, in his column told us “We have worked extremely hard in training this week in order to rectify all that was wrong with our performance against Southend last Saturday. There is no hiding away from the fact that it wasn’t good enough particularly in the second half when it should have been us putting them under pressure. Instead it was the other way round and we were not strong enough to deal with attacking threats.”
From what I saw, against Rochdale clearly we forgot the script just after kick off. As after nine minutes Rochdale took the lead when midfielder Camps strolled through the midfield and gave the visitors the lead.
Within two minutes, O’Brien brought us level with a well taken goal! Then on the 18th minute, O’Brien in the thick of the action was brought down from behind and Lee Gregory stepped up and converted the penalty.
At that point we fully expected to take a firm grip on the game and put the game to bed as Ben Thompson nearly added a third goal.
In the second half, what a difference! In my view it was only a question of time before Rochdale would draw level.
We were not closing down quick enough when we lost the ball! It was predictable what we were going to do route one to Morison or Gregory. Then ex-Lions loanee, Calvin Andrew, in my view, rose like a salmon and with a great cross headed home the equalizer.
Shortly afterwards, the Lions were reduced to 10 men when Thompson picked up a 2nd yellow card but it was never a sending off for me.
In the extra time added, Rochdale were awarded a penalty and Henderson converted the spot kick just within seconds before the final whistle went.
The last three games we have played teams that were in the bottom three and got one point from a possible nine and that is not acceptable.
In fact with Rochdale winning they picked up their first away win of the season.
Millwall Line-up | Archer, Romeo, Nelson, Webster, Craig, O’Brien, Thompson, Williams, Ferguson, Morison, Gregory
Millwall Subs | Worrall for O’Brien, Abdou for Ferguson
Rochdale Line-up | Lillis, Thompson, Canavan, McGahey, Bunney, Camps, Keane, Lund, Andrew, Henderson, McDermott
Rochdale Subs | Rafferty for McGahey, Davies for McDermott, Odelusi for Thompson