The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Nathan Hemmingham

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.”

PIC­TURE: Steve El­lis

RIS­ING HIGH­EST: Reda John­son scores for Wed­nes­day. Inset: Andy Keogh scores from the penalty spot

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