The Lions went into this game with four regulars missing: Steve Morison and Shaun Hutchinson out through injury; Shane Ferguson and Jimi Abdou out as they are on International call-up.
Neil Harris in the match day programme stated, “I regard this game as our biggest game of the season so far, not just because it is the next one, but because we are facing a really in-form Bristol Rovers side. We now have a chance to close the gap between ourselves and the top six, but we are under no illusion that this will be anything other than a tough challenge.”
The Lions record against Bristol Rovers, Played 80 won 26 Drawn 20 Lost 34, with the form guide going into this game Millwall LWWWW and Bristol Rovers WLWDL. Millwall defenders would be required to keep Pirates Striker Matty Taylor quiet in the game as he is their top scorer, with 12 goals so far this term.
Before kick off the 1-minute silence for the Remembrance of this country’s fallen was strictly observed by all.
For the first 15 minutes of the match, both sides were attacking at every opportunity and it must be said that Rovers had the better of the play at this point.
Then in the 15th minute, Lions’ forward O’Brien was taken down with the Millwall fans at that end were claiming a penalty. And the next we knew that Rovers’ defender Dean Leadbitter was shown a straight red card as the referee claimed that Leadbitter was the last man.
On the 20th minute, Lions’ forward Harry Smith, who has signed from non-League Folkestone, making his league debut, nearly scored with a looping header but Rovers’ keeper Roos managed to push the ball round the post.
Within 2 minutes, Gregory had a shot but Roos spilt it and it fell to O’Brien who then slotted home 1-0 to Millwall.
Credit to Bristol Rovers although down to 10 men they played good football and there was plenty of good movement by their players. There were times when the Lions defence looked fragile and on a couple of occasions panic set in but they got away with it.
In the 64th minute, Williams shot the Lions into a 2-0 lead after some good play between Worrall and Gregory who laid on a pass for Williams to rifle the shot into the bottom corner.
Four minutes later, Gregory made it 3-0 when Smith made a lovely cushioned header into his path and Gregory slotted home.
In the 88th minute, Smith made it 4-0 after a mix-up in the rovers defence and the ball rolled to Smith and he slotted home. The whole Millwall team celebrated with him, Smith had played well and he fully deserved his goal.
The Lions kept their first clean sheet since the opening day of the season and for me, that was the best thing about their victory. Let’s hope we have plenty more clean sheets. With this victory, the Lions moved to the 8th position.
After the game Lions boss, Neil Harris in his after match press conference stated “for 37 minutes today we played as well as at any time under my stewardship”
Millwall Line-up: Archer, Martin, Craig, Williams, Thompson, Gregory, Onyedinma, Romeo, Webster, O’Brien
Millwall Subs: Worrall for O’Brien, Butcher for Thompson, Cummings for Williams
Bristol Rovers Line-up: Roos, Leadbitter, Brown, Lockyer, Hartley, Harrison, Taylor, Lines, Sinclair, Boateng, Colkett
Bristol Rovers Subs: Montane, for Boateng, McChrystal for Colkett, Taylor for Easter.