Bees sting in tail to shock Li­ons

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Nick Bull

MILL­WALL in­terim manager Neil Har­ris ad­mit­ted he was strug­gling for words af­ter his side threw away a two-goal lead to draw at Brent­ford.

The Li­ons, who now haven’t won in nine games, ap­peared to be on course for a sur­prise victory fol­low­ing goals from Lee Gre­gory and Ai­den O’Brien.

How­ever, the pro­mo­tion-chas­ing hosts scored twice in the fi­nal five min­utes through Alex Pritchard and Moses Odubajo to earn a point, some­thing that Har­ris found hard to ac­cept.

“I’m gut­ted for the play­ers, I thought they were out­stand­ing again,” said Har­ris, who now has drawn two and lost one in his time in charge.

“At 2-0 up, you’d ex­pect to see the game out. But I think that’s where we’re at as a club.

“What can you say to the boys? I feel for them. But we can learn, we’ll study the goals, we’ll talk it through as a group.

“We’re get­ting closer and closer to a victory, and I’m sure as soon as we get one, we’ll get a sec­ond and third quickly af­ter.”

The vis­i­tors be­gan con­fi­dently as Ed Up­son and Mar­tyn Wool­ford forced Brent­ford keeper David But­ton into good saves within the open­ing six min­utes.

Brent­ford seemed sur­prised by the con­fi­dence with which the vis­i­tors were play­ing, even af­ter Jota hit the bar with a header from Pritchard’s cross.

On 28 min­utes, the Li­ons took the lead. But­ton came out to col­lect Up­son’s long ball, but was beaten to it by Gre­gory, who rounded him and coolly fin­ished for his sixth of the sea­son.

“I’m de­lighted with his goal,” added Har­ris. “The move­ment and the through ball were ex­cel­lent. In the way we’re play­ing, Lee will score lots of goals like that.”

Only an Odubajo block de­nied O’Brien from mak­ing it two on 55 min­utes.

But the striker couldn’t miss with his head af­ter Wool­ford picked him out at the back post shortly af­ter the hour mark. It was his first goal for the south Lon­don club.

The home side’s re­sponse looked unin­spired un­til Pritchard scored a penalty on 85 min­utes, fol­low­ing Wool­ford’s foul on Alan Judge.

Then af­ter Sid Nel­son could only par­tially clear Pritchard’s cross, Odubajo fired low to earn his side a pre­cious point.

Nonethe­less, Mill­wall could have won it in the fourth minute of stop­page time, but sub­sti­tute Gary Tay­lor-Fletcher fired just wide af­ter run­ning through the home de­fence.

“It could be a valu­able point come May 2nd,” said Brent­ford manager Mark War­b­u­ton. “The play­ers’ char­ac­ter was ev­i­dent, but we have to re­alise that we were con­sid­er­ably off our best here and that it wasn’t good enough.

“We know what Mill­wall are about, they’re scrap­ping hard, and it was al­ways go­ing to be a tough test. How­ever, we started off scrap­pily, didn’t get the ball mov­ing and were putting in too many aim­less crosses.

“In the sec­ond half we took more care with the ball in the fi­nal third, but we were still too sloppy at the back.

“The play­ers know that’s not the level we’re af­ter. There was no fa­tigue in the play­ers, there are no ex­cuses; as a group we were be­low-par.”

With Ip­swich win­ning at Wat­ford, the Bees are now out­side the play-off places, while Mill­wall re­main sec­ond bot­tom.

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

SPOT ON: Brent­ford’s Alex Pritchard scores their first goal with a penalty

for Mill­wall O JOY! Ai­den O’Brien nets

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