Millwall 1-0 Brentford: Lions maintain charge
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 10/03/18 6:49pm
Millwall kept up their Sky Bet Championship play-off push with a 1-0 win over Brentford thanks to George Saville's early strike.
Brentford struck the woodwork twice in the second half but could not turn pressure into goals against their stubborn hosts.
Millwall are now unbeaten in 11 Championship games since New Year's Day, and the team managed by Neil Harris have not lost at home in any competition since November.
The home side got off to the perfect start, scoring in the first minute, although Brentford were largely the architects of their own downfall.
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Andreas Bjelland dwelled on the ball, and was challenged by Lee Gregory. The tackle left Bjelland on the floor, unable to play any further part in the game, and Gregory was allowed to head the bouncing ball into Saville's path.
Millwall's top scorer in the Championship this season made no mistake, finishing calmly past Daniel Bentley. It was the second time in consecutive games that the midfielder had put his side ahead inside 60 seconds.
The visitors looked to hit back immediately and thought they were level eight minutes later when Yoann Barbet bundled in at the far post following a corner.
However, after a long delay, during which Barbet celebrated in front of the Millwall fans, linesman Steve Child raised his flag.
It was the only chance of note that Brentford created in the first half, as they dominated possession but barely mustered a shot. The first time they tested Jordan Archer was in stoppage time, and even then the goalkeeper barely had to move to gather Sergi Canos' low drive.
In fact, Millwall had the better opportunities, most notably Saville who saw a deflected shot hit the foot of the post, while Steve Morison had a header tipped just over the bar by Bentley after the break.
The visitors came out with far more purpose in the second half, led by Ollie Watkins, whose dribbling caused plenty of problems. He and Canos both drew saves from Archer, and Canos had the goalkeeper beaten with another curling effort, only to see it come back off the post.
John Egan also hit the woodwork, powering a header against the crossbar only to see it bounce down and away, while Henrik Dalsgaard somehow failed to convert a corner from three yards, James Meredith making a near-miraculous clearance off the line to keep Millwall's lead intact.
Neil Harris: "The best side won the game 1-0, the best side always wins the game - that's the result. I thought Brentford were very good today. We rode our luck at times. Millwall going like a steam train really pleases me. Six points off the play-offs, with nine games to go. The players, and fans, have earned the right to dream.
"You make your own luck in this game - in any walk of life, but in football particularly. Today we did ride it a bit. But we worked hard, the shape was good."
Dean Smith: "The better team got beat today. There are such small margins in football at times. I can't question the lads' performances today, I thought we were very good, especially in the second half.
"We've won most of the games we control. Today we didn't because a player gets injured and because of a linesman's flag. That's the only reason we haven't won today."