Nottingham Forest 1-0 Millwall: Barry McKay nets first-half winner
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 05/08/17 3:11pm
Barrie McKay's first goal for Nottingham Forest was enough to secure a 1-0 win for Mark Warburton's side at the City Ground - but Millwall boss Neil Harris will be wondering quite how.
The winger's spectacular long-range finish, four minutes before half-time, was far from the game's only decisive moment.
Millwall had a host of chances not only to level, but to take away a win of their own - but this was one of those nights where nothing went for them, as opportunity after opportunity went begging.
It was the grit of Harris' Lions that initially got the better of the guile of the home side and Millwall should have been a few goals ahead before the half-hour mark.
George Saville drove a shot into the side netting and Aiden O'Brien's header lacked the power to beat Jordan Smith. Veteran striker Steve Morison did beat the 'keeper from close range but saw his strike bounce powerfully away off the bar. Lee Gregory's shot on the turn had Smith scrambling to make an impressive save, after O'Brien had sent a free header a foot too high.
But it was Forest who took the lead when McKay, the £500,000 summer capture from Rangers, conjured up an outstanding long-range strike with 'keeper Jordan Archer helpless to keep the ball out of the net.
Millwall were left kicking themselves again after missing their best chance yet. A poor pass from Smith left Morison with only the 'keeper to beat. He unselfishly squared for Gregory, who blazed over the empty net.
After Murphy had sent a header wide for Forest, Millwall spurned yet another opportunity. This time it was Wallace who failed to score when clean through, with Smith making an outstanding save.
Morison was celebrating what he thought was an equaliser after squeezing the ball home at the far post but, after a long delay, it was chalked off for offside. To balance things out, Zach Clough saw an effort for Forest chalked off for a marginal offside as well. Substitute Fred Onyedinma summed up the game when he headed wide for Millwall in injury time.
Mark Warburton: "All credit to Millwall, because they deserved something out of the game at least. They were very good. It would be disrespectful of me to stand here and say we were poor, because they were good. Millwall came here and did exactly what we expected them to do. They were direct, they were effective and they were winning first balls.
"They created chances from wide areas and they attacked the ball. They were very good and they were very unfortunate not to come away with something. The players are in there, in the dressing room, delighted to get the first game out of the way and to have got the first three points.
"We gave the ball away too often. They had a physicality about them, but we have to deal with that. I am not criticising them for that - I am saying that we have to deal with it.
"We looked as though we had the weight of the world on our shoulders at times, so I am relieved to get that first game out of the way and I am very relieved that we have three points in the bag. All credit to Millwall for their performance, because they deserved more."
Neil Harris: "It is disappointing because we dominated the game against a really good Forest side. The players executed the game plan perfectly. We worked into good positions and created good chances. It was a top performance. But I am disappointed because we did not get the result.
"You have to be clinical when you get your chances at this level. It was a good performance, but we have to be more ruthless. There were encouraging things to take from this, because it was a good performance. It is about how we react to this now. Home form will be critical for us in this division now."