|Millwall 3 v 0 Ipswich Town|
Saturday, 27th October 2018 Kick-off 15:00
Millwall 3-0 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Saturday, 27th Oct 2018 17:11
Lee Gregory netted twice and Ryan Leonard once as Millwall comfortably beat the Blues 3-0 at the Den, highlighting the extent of the job now facing new manager Paul Lambert who was watching from the stands along with his staff. Gregory profited from Town’s set-piece frailties on 26 and 51 before Leonard made the most of a mix-up between skipper Luke Chambers and keeper Bartosz Bialkowski with 20 minutes left on the clock.
Andre Dozzell, Grant Ward and Trevoh Chalobah came back into the team for caretaker-manager Bryan Klug’s one game back in charge in a 3-5-2 system.
Ward returned to the right wing-back role he occupied in the first two games of Klug’s stint as caretaker-boss last season, having previously played there during the academy head of coaching and development’s time working at Spurs.
Chalobah lined up on the right of the centre of the defence with Matt Pennington on the left and skipper Luke Chambers in the centre with Jonas Knudsen the left wing-back.
In midfield, Dozzell joined Cole Skuse and Flynn Downes while Freddie Sears and Kayden Jackson were up front.
For Millwall, skipper Shaun Hutchinson returned from two months out for James Meredith, who dropped to sub, while Jiri Skalak came in for the injured Jed Wallace. Ex-Blues loanee Ryan Tunnicliffe was on the bench.
After a rather confused minute’s silence with the game Millwall’s Remembrance Day fixture, the Lions started the more positively and went close on six when Hutchinson nodded over from a corner having been given a free header after Knudsen had slipped.
Following a lengthy stoppage for an injury to Gregory the Blues, wearing their all orange away strip, began to make an impression in the Millwall half, Downes turning his man on the right but his cross deflected behind the Town players in the area.
On 15 Knudsen whipped over a low ball from the left which was cleared just ahead of Sears at the near post.
But Millwall continued to see most of the ball, although without seriously threatening. On 22 they claimed a penalty when Shaun Williams went to ground as he exchanged passes with Gregory in the area but referee Robert Jones wasn’t interested.
A minute later, Ryan Leonard chested down a loose ball and shot not too far wide and in the 27th minute the Lions went in front.
Jake Cooper nodded Williams's corner from the right back into the six-yard box from the far post having risne above Chalobah and Gregory turned home from four feet. Town claimed a foul - probably a push on Cole Skuse as the ball came back in - but referee Jones wasn’t interested.
Set-piece goals have been Town’s Achilles’ heel all season and in the 31st minute they almost conceded another. Hutchinson knocked Shane Ferguson's freekick from the left back across goal and Cooper was just unable to add the final touch at the post.
Aside from the two crosses around the 15-minute mark the Blues had been largely been pressed back in their half with Millwall well in control.
The home side again went close to their second of the game from another set piece in the 39th minute. Ferguson’s freekick whipped in from the right and Elliott’s header rather fortuitously flew straight to Bartosz Bialkowski.
Dozzell had seen little of the ball but on 42 he was twice involved in a move which saw Ward break down the right and cross but far too deeply.
As the half moved into two minutes of injury time Pennington nodded a ball over the top back to the advancing Bialkowski.
The Lions were well worth their lead at the break having been much the better side with the Blues fortunate that they had conceded only the one set-piece goal.
Millwall had been in charge from virtually the start with Town struggling to keep possession and only fleetingly able to get Dozzell on the ball.
Millwall keeper Ben Amos will rarely have had a quieter 45 minutes with the Blues not registering a shot on or off target. If he hadn’t prior to the half, incoming manager Lambert - pictured top with, from left to right, first-team coach Matt Gill, assistant manager Stuart Taylor and fitness coach Jim Henry - will have had a good idea idea of what his new job will entail by its end.
The Blues were put through their paces by academy physio Jimmy Reynolds on the pitch prior to the second half with Klug, who as last season was again being assisted by Chris Hogg and Gerard Nash, switching Skuse, who had gone into the game carrying an ankle knock, making way for Jordan Spence with Ward moving into midfield.
Six minutes after the restart Millwall doubled their lead and again the goal came from a set piece. Leonard’s long throw on the left was flicked on by Cooper and Gregory turned home his second of the afternoon from close range.
Given Town’s history this season a comeback looked hugely unlikely but on 54 they at least managed their first shot of the afternoon, however Downes scuffed his 20-yard effort well wide.
Jackson, who had hardly been involved, was replaced by Lankester two minutes later before Millwall swapped Elliott for Steve Morison, moments after Pennington had been yellow-carded for a foul on Williams. On 63 Aiden O’Brien came on for Skalak.
Match Gallery: 8 photos
Skipper Chambers scraped a shot well wide from the left of the area in the 67th minute after Millwall had made heavy weather of clearing Town’s first corner of the afternoon and the Blues had worked an opening on the left.
But on 70 Millwall made it 3-0 with Town again the architects of their own downfall. Ferguson pumped a long ball from deep into the area from deep and Chambers got in Bialkowski’s way as the keeper punched. With the Polish international grounded, the ball fell to Leonard 30 yards out from where he looped it into the corner of the net. For once not a set piece but a goal equally as poor as the earlier two.
Millwall denied Gregory a chance of a hat-trick by replacing him with Tom Bradshaw in the 75th minute. The striker was clearly not overly impressed to have been withdrawn. Gwion Edwards took over from Dozzell with nine minutes of the game remaining.
With the match over from a competitive perspective, the Blues saw more of the ball in the latter stages and on 88 Chalobah smashed a shot from a tight angle on the right which slammed against Amos’s left post and behind.
Another miserable afternoon for the 2,000-plus strong Town support was brought to a close with Millwall having settled for their three goals.
If new boss Lambert was unaware of the situation he is inheriting at Town he will now be well aware from watching another thoroughly lacklustre display.
Very much second best throughout, if anything the 3-0 scoreline flattered the Blues who looked like conceding from every set piece.
Town, now three points behind second-bottom Hull and five off safety, have shipped at least two goals in each of their away games this season barring the first two at Rotherham and Exeter.
The Lions, hardly one of the division’s top sides, although now up to 18th, were well in control throughout and cantered to what will be their easiest three points of the season.
Chalobah’s late strike against the post, at a time when the match was already over as a contest and Millwall had essentially declared, was the only time the Blues, who now haven’t scored for three matches, came close to getting on the scoresheet.
Lambert is set to meet the players and staff tomorrow when he will begin what on today’s evidence looks the very tough job of rescuing Town’s season and preventing the Blues from dropping into the third tier for the first time in 62 years next May.
Millwall: Amos, Hutchinson (c), Cooper, Williams, Gregory (Bradshaw 75), Ferguson, Romeo, Elliott (Morison 57), M Wallace, Skalak (O’Brien 63), Leonard. Unused: Archer, McLaughlin, Meredith, Tunnicliffe.
Town: Bialkowski, Ward, Pennington, Chambers (c), Chalobah, Knudsen, Skuse (Spence 46), Downes, Dozzell (Edwards 81), Sears, Jackson (Lankester 56). Unused: Gerken, Nolan, Rowe, Nsiala. Referee: Robert Jones (Merseyside). Att: 15,386 (Town: 2,195).
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