Li­ons fall to 20th after loss

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Michael Hooper

BLACK­BURN Rovers ended Mill­wall’s four­match win­ning run after a dra­matic fin­ish at The Den saw the vis­i­tors snatch vic­tory with two goals in two min­utes.

Mill­wall cap­tain Shaun Hutchin­son de­flected sub­sti­tute Adam Arm­strong’s cross into his own net after 86 min­utes un­der in­tense pres­sure from Rovers striker Joe Nut­tall to give the vis­i­tors the lead.

Arm­strong, who had only re­placed mid­fielder Bradley Dack after 74 min­utes, then wrapped up the vis­i­tors’ first away win since the start of Oc­to­ber with a mem­o­rable solo strike less than 60 sec­onds later.

The win moves Tony Mowbray’s side up to 14th in the Cham­pi­onship, while Mill­wall drop to 20th, five points above the rel­e­ga­tion zone, de­spite los­ing only their sec­ond home game in the past 10.

In a scrappy and un­event­ful open­ing half, the hosts lost striker Tom El­liott to a sus­pected wrist in­jury within three min­utes.

They also had the only chance of note, as de­fender Jake Cooper headed wide from a Ryan Leonard cor­ner seven min­utes be­fore the break.

Neil Har­ris’ side con­tin­ued to look most threat­en­ing in the air at the start of the sec­ond half, with both Ai­den O’Brien and El­liott’s re­place­ment Steve Mori­son loop­ing head­ers wide.

How­ever, it was Leonard’s pow­er­ful vol­ley from 25 yards on the hour – an ef­fort well saved by Rovers goal­keeper David Raya – that fi­nally sparked the vis­i­tors from their slum­ber.

Nut­tall’s ef­fort from Har­ri­son Reed’s deep free-kick was de­flected wide, be­fore makeshift cen­tre-half Jack Rod­well headed wide from a sub­se­quent cor­ner.

Then, after 65 min­utes, Dack met sub­sti­tute Ryan Nyambe’s low cross with a back heel that was cru­cially blocked by the Mill­wall de­fence.

Mill­wall’s two best chances of the game came when right­back Mahlon Romeo shot pow­er­fully at Raya from 12 yards after 78 min­utes, be­fore mid­fielder Ryan Tun­ni­cliffe waste­fully blazed over from a cor­ner that Rovers failed to clear.

The match was de­cided in the space of two min­utes late on as Rovers pro­duced the game’s only mo­ments of cre­ativ­ity to claim the three points.

Arm­strong, who ap­peared to be off­side when he crossed into the box, started and fin­ished the move that led to the vis­i­tors’ opener cour­tesy of an un­for­tu­nate Hutchin­son. Arm­strong then latched on to stand-in cap­tain El­liott Ben­nett’s pin­point through­ball and curled into the bot­tom cor­ner past Jor­dan Archer to make it 2-0. The win for Rovers marked their fifth win in their past eight vis­its to The Den.

Black­burn re­turn to ac­tion with an FA Cup re­play against New­cas­tle United at Ewood Park on Tues­day, with a home game against Premier League side Wat­ford await­ing the win­ners.

PIC­TURE: PSI/Ian Stephen

AT THE DEATH: Black­burn’s Joe Nut­tall scores and cel­e­brates, in­set

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