Gary Caldwell and the coaching staff clearly went with a game plan in this one. Millwall have been a problem team for us on the last two occasions we faced them as they were successful in stopping us playing football and let the game get rough. Just like last season their tactics at the Den meant we saw a player walk and us go down to ten men. Yet this season they couldn’t break through our defensive walls, nor beat the impress Jussi Jasskelainen.
Sam Morsy could have gone onto play a key and vital role in the second half, had it not been for a ten minute period where it all came crashing down and he saw two yellow cards. Both of which could have gone either way and in terms of fouls he could have not made.
It eventually allowed Millwall to have more of the ball in the second half than I imagine was intended. With Yanic Wildschut left on the bench, it was clear Caldwell wanted to ground Millwall down and attack them in the second half. Yet the red card to Morsy meant a change of tactics.
It still meant that Wildschut came on, but it was a less effective switch with top goal scorer Will Grigg coming off in his wake.
In the end it will be a game remembered for Millwall not making a most of playing for nearly 50 minutes against a team with ten men. Which for me highlights the great togetherness within this squad to work so tirelessly and selfishly to keep out the attacking lions.
We have come a long way from the slow and lacklustre team of Malcky Mackay 12 months ago. We may have lost some of the top quality players we had in our side. Yet in their stead now stands a team full of youth and hunger with the potential to really progress.
One player for me though who yet again deserves a mention, and in some ways highlights the change in this team is Chris McCann. The midfielder was slowly being edged out in the last regime but after not making the move over the summer has really knuckled down and performed exceptionally well and did again last night in the defensive line. The partnership at the back of Craig Morgan and Jason Pearce showed the endeavour a drive to keep out what has been a potent Millwall line up especially at the Den.
All things considered, and other results, the 0-0 draw on Tuesday night wasn’t a bad result. Away from home at an in form team, going down to ten men inside the first half. The players who played that second half should be proud of themselves and take the confidence of yet another clean sheet into this weekend’s tricky fixture against Peterborough.
In the football league there is no such thing as an easy game, and the schedule is gruelling especially when you want to remain at the top.