Harris: I will not watch Millers
MILLWALL boss Neil Harris was understandably dejected after Lee Gregory’s hat-trick had the Lions dreaming of a great escape, only to see Derby share the points late on in a pulsating game.
Gregory’s first-half double, the second from the penalty spot, had the home fans believing, though Tom Ince’s fine free-kick gave the visitors a crumb of comfort.
Another Gregory penalty moments after the break should have ended the argument but Derby, with a play-off place on the line, kept fighting, Ince winning a penalty for Chris Martin to convert.
And a wonder volley five minutes from time from Jeff Hendrick saw the points shared, with Millwall now needing to win at Wolves on the final day and hope for other results to go their way if they are to extend their Championship stay to six seasons.
“I can’t pick them up at the moment,” said Harris. “They come in on Monday morning and pick themselves up and we have to sit and wait to see how Rotherham go on Tuesday.
“It’s really simple: if Rotherham get the win on Tuesday we’re relegated. I won’t be watching the game.The players as a group are built on hope and belief and to come from being on the run they were on and to get the performances and results they’ve got has been testimony to them.
“I certainly am not accepting perspective and ‘well dones’ for achieving some points, especially at home. The bottom line is if you play for Millwall Football Club you have to win your home games.”
The first goal, after 26 minutes, was an absolute horror show for Derby keeper Lee Grant as his sliced clearance found Gregory who ran unopposed into the box and finished well.
Shortly after, a strong burst down the left flank from Lee Martin saw Richard Keogh handle in the box, Gregory calmly converting the penalty.
Derby were rattled, but a cheap free-kick on the edge of the Millwall area allowed Ince to curl a left-footed beauty over the wall and send the visitors into the dressing room on a high note.
A needless corner conceded by Derby became a needless penalty early in the second-half as Hendrick was lucky to escape with a booking after seemingly elbowing Nicky Bailey.
Once again it was Gregory, now visibly brimming with confidence, who stepped up to complete his hat-trick.
Ince’s surging run in the 70th minute saw him clumsily felled in the box by O’Brien, Chris Martin, returning from injury, stroking home his 18th league goal this season.
And a breathtaking late equaliser followed for Derby, Ince pulling it back for an audacious right-footed volley from Hendrick into the top corner.
Derby manager Steve McClaren was furious about the penalties awarded, though proud of his side’s fight back.
“They’re two diabolical penalties,” he said. “I can’t weigh them up, I can’t understand. It gave us a mountain to climb again but they did it and they keep doing it.
“I don’t know what the referee is doing to give those decisions.To be fair I haven’t seen them again, but the first one wasn’t even a handball. He’s sliding across and I’m not sure it even hits his hand, it hits his thigh.
“We’re making hard work of everything.
“But I really cannot believe the character of this team.”
his third TREBLE: Lee Gregory scores