Blackburn 0-0 Millwall: Lions goalkeeper Jordan Archer keeps Rovers at bay
Jordan Archer produces superb saves to earn Millwall a draw
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 11/08/18 7:34pm
Millwall goalkeeper Jordan Archer produced a virtuoso display as his side held Blackburn to a goalless draw at Ewood Park.
The visitors dominated the first half and struck the woodwork twice, while Rovers - who also grazed the crossbar in the first half - took control in the second half.
They were thwarted time and again by Scotland international Archer, who was the chief reason they failed to notch a goal. He made a string of splendid saves denying Danny Graham, Bradley Dack and Joe Rothwell.
And although they could not force a winner, it is an encouraging start for promoted Blackburn, who did not look out of place against a side that finished eighth last season and knocked on the door of the play-offs.
Rovers boss Tony Mowbray made two enforced changes from last week's side due to injury, which gave on-loan Chelsea midfielder Kasey Palmer his first start. Neil Harris named an unchanged side from Millwall's draw against Middlesbrough.
It was the visitors who started brightest, when Steve Morison's early through-ball presented Jed Wallace with a chance, but he lashed his volley wide.
The Lions were unlucky not to take the lead in the 11th minute when George Saville's 25-yard piledriver flew past David Raya but cannoned off a post, and they continued to threaten as Rovers struggled.
Millwall should have taken the lead in the 27th minute when a neat ball from Lee Gregory set Morison free and though his 20-yard effort beat Raya, it hit the post and rolled agonisingly away.
Blackburn's first shot on target arrived in the final minute of the half through Dack, whose carefully-placed low free-kick had to be smartly tipped behind by Archer.
They went even closer in injury time as Dack's searching cross found Darragh Lenihan, whose header went over via the crossbar.
Millwall were indebted to Archer for keeping the scores level in the early exchanges of the second half when Graham burst into the area and held off Shaun Hutchinson before letting fly, but the keeper stood firm and diverted the ball behind.
Archer repeated the feat to deny Graham again after Dack had played him in.
It was all Rovers in the second half and debutant Rothwell set about making a name for himself, striding forward and unleashing a powerful drive that the magnificent Archer tipped behind.
The closing moments were uneventful, leaving both sides with a point - the least Archer deserved.
Tony Mowbray: "First half was a non-event from our point of view. Millwall played a lot of balls forward, played in our half, we couldn't get out. They hit the post twice and we needed to reset at half-time and get back to our basics of how we play.
"Second half, we did just that. We dominated for long spells, we created the better chances. Danny Graham had two one-on-ones with the goalkeeper that you'd hope, on another day, he would score given his record of nicking goals like that."
Neil Harris: "I thought Blackburn played well second half, we never got going and our use of ball was really poor. When you are defending like we were, you have to rely on keeping the ball and the turnover of possession was too often.
"When it's like that and it's not quite happening, you need to get a clean sheet. There are various ways of getting a clean sheet - deny opportunities. But if you do give them away, you need your goalkeeper, and I thought the goalkeeper was excellent today."