Bolton 0-2 Millwall: Lions roar into top six
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 10/04/18 11:17pm
Millwall moved into the Sky Bet Championship play-off places and pushed Bolton closer to the drop zone with a 2-0 victory at the Macron Stadium.
Striker Tom Elliott headed Neil Harris' in-form Londoners in front after 34 minutes. Ben Marshall, who created Elliott's goal, then doubled Millwall's advantage after 62 minutes to stretch his team's unbeaten league run to 16 games and gain a first win at Bolton for 45 years.
In contrast, Wanderers slipped to a fourth successive defeat though Barnsley's defeat at Ipswich leaves Phil Parkinson's strugglers outside the bottom three ahead of Saturday's trip to Oakwell.
Millwall, unbeaten in the league since New Year's Day, showed first. Lee Gregory miskicked in front of goal to prevent Wanderers slipping behind in the first few minutes.
Bolton retaliated with a fierce, angled shot from Sammy Ameobi with Lions keeper Jordan Archer relieved to watch it go behind.
Archer then clutched a Craig Noone shot on his line after an Ameobi cross sparked a six-yard box melee.
The home side continued to seize the initiative and Noone was unfortunate to see a goal-bound shot deflected behind for a corner by Shaun Williams.
A dreadful back pass from Jed Wallace then gave Adam Le Fondre a great opportunity to break the deadlock.
Charging into the area the veteran striker delayed his shot moments too long and Jake Cooper slid in with a superb tackle.
Bolton continued to press and skipper Darren Pratley, restored to the side after a shin injury, unleashed a right foot volley from 20 yards that Archer grabbed at the second time of asking.
It was against the run of play when the visitors hit the front with a simple but well-constructed and finished goal.
Marshall's cross from the Wanderers left was towards the six-yard box and Elliott, preferred in the starting line-up to Steve Morison, rose above Lions old boy Mark Beevers to head in his sixth goal of the campaign.
Noone fired over from just outside the area as the opening period came to an end.
Trotters boss Parkinson finally made a change to try and reverse their decline with Noone and Derik taken off and Filipe Morais and Zach Clough coming on with 30 minutes to go.
Soon Clough was back-tracking in vain as Mahlon Romeo raced 80 metres before pulling the ball back for Marshall to fire home right-footed from 15 yards.
That was the game over as a contest, despite a couple of long-range efforts from Ameobi and Le Fondre, while Marshall was denied a second goal by Ben Alnwick's fingertips.
Phil Parkinson: "It is still in our hands with games at Barnsley and Burton. There is a way and we are going to find it. We have got to work together as staff and players to find a solution to go and get that result we need. In the first half we had good chances to score and when you have that period you've got to take those chances.
"We started the second half slowly and physically were second best. Millwall are a team full of confidence and we looked deflated. I made the two subs to give us a lift and almost immediately they scored. At 1-0 there was always a chance but at 2-0 it looked like we had the energy sapped out of us and they grew 10 feet tall."
Neil Harris: "It's a special time for us. Millwall fans are pinching themselves a bit. But league tables don't lie after 42 games. We are in the top six because we deserve to be in the top six. The boys are on form, individually and collectively. And what I know is the players won't rest. They want to attack the play-offs.
"Now we have four massive games starting with Sheffield United away in front of 25-27,000 fans, Fulham live on TV in front of a sold-out Den, Middlesbrough who spent £6billion quid in the summer and then we have Aston Villa at the Den in the last game of the season, which we have sold out. Whether we stay in the top six or not, what a fantastic season my players have had."