Millwall vs Barnsley. Sky Bet Championship.
Report and free match highlights from the Sky Bet Championship clash between Millwall and Barnsley at The Den as two goals from Danny McNamara, Oliver Burke and Benik Afobe sealed a comfortable win for the Lions.
Saturday 9 April 2022 18:52, UK
Danny McNamara's double helped keep Millwall's play-off hopes alive with a resounding 4-1 win over relegation-threatened Barnsley at the Den.
The wingback's first two goals of the season gave the Lions a deserved 2-0 lead in this Sky Bet Championship contest, before Barnsley hit back through Romal Palmer.
But that proved to be just a mere consolation as Oliver Burke and then Benik Afobe left Barnsley staring down the barrel of relegation.
The Tykes need at least three wins from their last matches six to catch Reading, who are eight points clear of the South Yorkshire side and the relegation zone.
Millwall, meanwhile, still have no room for error in their remaining five games to claw back the four-point gap to the top six.
Despite their contrasting fortunes, the two teams arrived in remarkably similar form, each with one win and three draws in their last six games.
The outcome could have been very different had goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski not produced an excellent save to deny Barnsley full-back Callum Brittain from a tight angle in the first minute.
But the Lions quickly asserted their dominance, with first Scott Malone and then Daniel Ballard firing volleys on target - but both straight at Barnsley keeper Brad Collins.
Immediately after collecting Ballard's effort, Collins had to be replaced by Jack Walton, struggling with an injury to his left shoulder sustained earlier when trying to claim a corner.
The breakthrough came in the 31st minute, but not before Bialkowski had to make another superb low block at his near post from Callum Styles.
After some textbook link-up play from Afobe, Jed Wallace was released down the left.
The 28-year-old bagged his 11th assist of the season as his cross found McNamara, who duly slotted into the corner.
Millwall almost doubled their advantage in first-half stoppage time, as Liam Kitching nearly fired into his own net clearing another dangerous Jed Wallace cross.
But the hosts went on to score just one minute after the break. Afobe's delightful flick finding Malone, whose deep cross was met by McNamara's head to double his tally for the game and the season.
Barely two minutes later, however, Barnsley halved the deficit when Palmer thrashed a bouncing ball into the top corner from just inside the box.
Unnerved, Millwall continued to push and restored their two-goal lead on the hour mark with Jed Wallace involved yet again.
His delivery resulted in Walton parrying Ballard's header onto the bar and Burke tapped in from close range.
And in the 73rd minute Afobe grabbed his 10th goal of the season when he volleyed into the far corner from Jake Cooper's knock down.
Substitute Tyler Burey could have made it five in the final minutes but decided to Cruyff turn instead of shoot with only the keeper to beat.
Millwall's Gary Rowett: "We're going to have to put a run together, quite simply. There's no other way of looking at it. We're probably going to have to win two more games than a lot of other sides.
"I think we've been in this position probably every season. It's not easy to take the next step but I think what's important is the players give everything they've got to try."
Barnsley's Poya Asbaghi: "We let the fans down, and they were the best Barnsley players today by far. We have to make sure that they cannot see that in the next game we play against Swansea.
"We will put on a bigger fight. It is going to be even tougher. It is going to be against the most comfortable team on the ball in the league. We have to make sure that next time they travel to watch us they will see players that will go in with their heads first in every duel, unlike today."