Millwall 1-1 Bolton: Jiri Skalak earns point for Lions
Substitute Jiri Skalak cancels out Mark Beevers header for Bolton.
Last Updated: 24/11/18 6:53pm
Jiri Skalak came off the bench to earn Millwall a point in a 1-1 draw against Bolton at the Den.
Mark Beevers' precise header had looked like earning Phil Parkinson's side their first win since September, ending Millwall's run of three straight home victories in the process.
But second-half substitute Skalak fired home from a Jed Wallace cross with eight minutes remaining to ensure the spoils were shared.
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Bolton had made a fast start and by the time they took the lead in the 12th minute, had already carved out several fine chances.
Will Buckley, drifting in from the left-hand side, caused Shaun Hutchinson all sorts of problems and should have had a glorious opening after just six minutes but opted to go down under the slightest of contacts when he burst into the box rather than getting a shot away.
But Millwall didn't learn their lesson and just a minute later, Buckley was through on goal again.
This time, he looked to slot it past Jordan Archer but the Millwall keeper denied him before brilliantly pushing Jason Lowe's follow-up over the bar.
Archer - making his first start since August and only in the line-up because on-loan Ben Amos was unable to play against his parent club - was arguably Millwall's best player but there was nothing he could do about Bolton's opener.
Joe Williams swung in a delicate cross from the right and Beevers, left inexplicably unmarked, stole in to stoop and head home via the far post.
The home side failed to muster any sort of response until first-half stoppage time when Ben Alnwick denied Ryan Leonard low down before Beevers headed Aiden O'Brien's follow-up off the line.
Bolton, who had recorded only one point in their last seven games, seemed happy to protect their lead, and Millwall's lack of penetration meant that most of the remaining drama in the first half surrounded the referee.
Lee Swabey, already a late replacement for the ill Tony Harrington, appeared to injure his calf midway through the half, and was replaced by an assistant following a lengthy delay.
After the break, the expected Millwall onslaught failed to materialise. In fact, it was Bolton who had the better chances for most of a dour second half, most notably when Archer was forced into another fine save to deny Lowe.
But with time running out, the home side finally managed to turn the pressure of possession into a shooting chance and Skalak rifled in a volley at the far post to keep Millwall ahead of Bolton and out of the Championship relegation zone on goal difference.
Neil Harris: "We didn't look Millwall-like at The Den, up and at them, 100 per cent - we were five per cent off. I said at half-time [that] it's about finding a different way, being brave with the ball, being brave without the ball, and using the ball a lot more on the floor.
"I thought we had some excellent passages of play second half, scored relatively late in the game, and got into some really good areas. For me, summing it up, it's definitely a point gained."
Phil Parkinson: "It was quite strange. The ref got injured in the warm-up, so a Millwall supporter was the fourth official. We were having a laugh with him because when their keeper made a great save, he couldn't help himself jumping up and applauding.
"So we said 'hold on a minute, you've got to be impartial' and the next minute he ends up running the line. So you can imagine it from our point of view, because this is a tough place for officials anyway - but he kept his integrity and did a good job."