Aston Villa 0-0 Millwall: Neil Harris' side earn point at Villa Park
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 09/12/17 8:42pm
Promotion-chasing Aston Villa were held to a goalless home draw by Millwall on Saturday afternoon.
The hosts' attacking limitations were exposed by the battling Lions, who remained without an away win this term. Villa had won their previous two home games, but rarely looked like they would chalk up a third success.
Millwall, encouraged by an impressive home win over Sheffield United in their previous outing, played with a lot of commitment following a hesitant start and fully deserved their point.
Villa, looking for a fourth win in five games, began with cool assurance, with little pressure exerted by the Lions. Their casual approach failed to create any real problems for Millwall's defence, although Keinan Davis wasted a good opportunity by aimlessly lofting the ball over the bar.
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Albert Adomah, following a slow start, suddenly got into the game with a couple of goal attempts sending out a message to the Millwall defence that he was the danger man.
Millwall were deploying a defensive formation, with Lee Gregory their lone forward, and relied on snappy breaks to boost their victory hopes.
The game-plan almost paid dividends when Mahlon Romeo broke down the right, but a hasty headed clearance by Chris Samba averted a dangerous situation.
Encouraged by the ease with which they were later able to attack Villa's defence, Jed Wallace raced through the middle only to be thwarted by home goalkeeper Sam Johnstone.
Villa's goalscoring reliance upon Davis was evident but his finishing on this occasion against the tough-tackling Lions left a lot to be desired.
Jack Grealish was brought on just before the hour mark as Villa boss Steve Bruce attempted to inject a spark, and he did show a willingness to shoot only to be denied by a smart save by David Martin.
It was, however, Millwall who played with more determination. Aiden O'Brien emerged as a growing threat on the left flank, giving Alan Hutton a busy afternoon before the Scotland international was substituted 20 minutes from time.
Villa had a major let-off in the 75th minute when Gregory raced through and grazed the bar with his cross-shot, but there was to be no winner.
Steve Bruce: "Sometimes you have to take your hat off to the opposition. If ever you want to know how difficult the Championship is you only have to look at Millwall. They are big, strong, physical, powerful, committed, ran a million miles and caused us all sorts of problems.
"We didn't deal with the first ball, or the second. When we had the ball we gave it away. All in all we will take the point and move forward because any other day it could have been one of those horrible afternoons when you lose."
Neil Harris: "I was delighted with my players' performance from the first whistle to the last. I thought we unsettled a really good Aston Villa side and quietened a passionate home crowd. I think we dominated large parts of the game and limited Villa to very few chances.
"We have belief; mentality and the performance were there. I am not going to bemoan players for not scoring but if we want to take the next step and become a top-half team then we need to win these sort of games.
"Our defensive shape was excellent. We looked solid and reliable and fine on the counter-attack and I thought we deserved to win the game."
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