KEOGH EARNS POINT FOR KITLESS LIONS
IF LOSING your first three games of the season without scoring isn’t bad enough, arriving at Saturday’s opponents Sheffield Wednesday without their kit was not the best start for Millwall.
Luckily for the Lions the home side didn’t get too shirty about the issue and were kind enough to lend them their away colours from last season.
Manager Steve Lomas described the error as ‘an honest mistake’ and that it simply added to the madness of the game.
He was not wrong. Although both sides are still looking for their first win, the 2-2 draw was a fair result between two sides who have a long season ahead if they defend like they did here.
The visitors raced into an early lead inside three minutes. Anthony Gardner turned Lee Martin’s left-wing cross into his own net from close range – Millwall’s first league goal of the season.
But in a frantic opening, Millwall returned the compliment by giving away two poor goals in the space of 15 minutes. First, former Owls goalkeeper Stephen Bywater dropped what looked a routine catch and Reda Johnson headed the ball into the empty net on seven minutes.
And when Martin gave the ball away needlessly just outside his own area on 21 minutes left winger Jeremy Helan punished him with a great strike into the bottom corner.
That was the way it stayed until four minutes from time as Andy Keogh rescued a point for Millwall from the penalty spot, leaving Lomas to focus on the positives of a first point of the season.
He said: “I thought for long parts we controlled it and got the ball down and passed it and spent a lot of time in their half.
“I sound like a broken record but we got off to a great start, and then we come up with an error and they get back into it.To compound matters we then make another error to make it 2-1 but you’ve got to give the lads credit, they could have crumbled but they stuck at it.
“The penalty was an accumulation of ones that had gone before that one because earlier we should have had one. I thought the result was no more than we deserved. It’s something to build on.
“We could have felt sorry for ourselves but we didn’t. I thought it was just reward for the boys.”
Millwall may have looked all at sea in the first 45, but at least they returned for the second half in the right colours. The right away kit had finally arrived from London but it was clear boss Lomas had already torn a strip off his defenders during the interval and his side looked a lot better after the break.
They had to wait until four minutes from time for their reward when Helan needlessly pushed Richard Chaplow in the area and striker Keogh kept his cool to send Chris Kirkland the wrong way.
A frustrated Dave Jones was left scratching his head at fulltime following his side’s lacklustre performance.
“We should see it out and win the game,” he said. “We got caught being the wrong side of the player. It wasn’t a penalty the referee is closer but for some reason the linesman wants to get involved and give it.
“It’s not a penalty but that’s not the reason why we didn’t win the game. If you can’t get a third then don’t let them score.
“We didn’t play well, we gave the ball away too many times and we were sloppy in our play but we still managed to get our noses in front. When you are not playing well then you win ugly and we didn’t do that.
“Right from the start we never played with any real tempo in our play and it’s hard to explain.We hit the highs away at Leeds and then hit the lows. It’s our own down fall, it’s no one else’s.”
RISING HIGHEST: Reda Johnson scores for Wednesday. Inset: Andy Keogh scores from the penalty spot