REPORT | Millwall 1-0 Southend
10-MAN BLUES dropped out of the play-off places after Fred Onyedinma’s headed goal gave Millwall a 1-0 win at The Den.
Having weathered some early pressure, which saw Steven Morison go close and Ben Coker forced to make a clearance off the line, the Blues then had to face almost an hour with just 10-men.
Will Atkinson was shown a straight red card for a studs-up challenge on Millwall captain Tony Craig but it wasn’t until after the hour mark that the home side made their advantage count.
A cross to the far post found the head of Fred Onyedinma who expertly headed the ball back across the dive of Ted Smith to find the bottom corner.
Southend felt they should have had a penalty late on when Jermaine McGlashan looked to have been up-ended by Craig and Smith denied Calum Butcher late on but the one goal was enough.
The defeat sees Millwall leap-frog the Blues and into the play-off places, extending their unbeaten run to 11-games whilst Southend had to settle for just their second defeat in 18 games.
It was frustrating afternoon for Phil Brown’s side, with the Blues gaffer likely to be disappointed that his side never really tested Millwall ‘keeper Jordan Archer.
The home side were in the midst of a 10-game unbeaten run and made the brighter start with Steven Morison seeing his effort curl over the bar. Moments later Jed Wallace’s corner was flicked deflected on target only for Ben Coker to clear off the line.
Morison then should have put Millwall in front after a great run down the left by Wallace. After Wallace’s initial effort was saved by Ted Smith, the rebound was crossed low and hard towards the far post only for Morison to slice it wide from inside the six-yard box.
Millwall were certainly looking the more threatening in the final third and went close once more when Fred Onyedinma got to the by-line, cutting the ball back to Aiden O’Brien whose strike flew just over Smith’s crossbar.
Having been under the cosh for most of the opening half Southend’s problems deepened as Will Atkinson was shown a straight red card by referee Andre Marriner for a hard tackle on the Lions’ captain Tony Craig.
Despite being a man down Southend created their best chance of the game before the break as Marc-Antoine Fortune and Anthony Wordsworth linked up well down the right, allowing the latter to cut the ball back to Michael Timlin whose left foot effort spun off target.
With Southend down to 10-men the onus was on Millwall to press home their advantage, but apart from a low strike from Wallace that was comfortably saved by Smith the Lions had little in the way of clear openings early in the second half.
Southend had to be patient and pick their moments, and they almost were gifted a chance when Fortune flashed a cross into the box that was fumbled by Jordan Archer and required Shaun Cummings to head the ball away.
The Millwall fans were become increasingly frustrated at their sides inability to break down a resolute Blues defence but just after the hour mark the home side took the lead through Onyedinma.
A cross from the right picked out the Millwall number 10 who had peeled off at the back post, heading the ball back across goal and beyond the despairing dive of Smith to put the home side in front.
Now with a goal to the good Millwall seemed content to sit on their lead with Phil Brown reacting the going behind by bringing on Theo Robinson to replace Fortune.
The pace of Robinson looked the be troubling the Lions’ defence and he done superbly well to get himself into the Millwall box but wasn’t able to find a man in pink with his cut back as the home side scrambled clear.
A second goal for the home side would have killed off any hope Southend had of salvaging something from The Den but Phil Brown’s side were left furious that they weren’t awarded a penalty after Jermaine McGlashan went down in the area under pressure from Craig.
With Southend pushing forward for a late equaliser they left themselves exposed at the back and were almost punished as Calum Butcher ran clear but he wasn’t able to beat Smith. It didn’t matter however as Onyedinma’s goal was enough to see Millwall pick up all three points.
Milwall XI | Archer, Cummings, Craig (C), Onyedinma, Wallace (Ferguson 70’), Butcher, Webster, Morison, O’Brien (Worrall 82’), Cooper, Abdou. Subs Not Used: King, Martin, Romeo, Smith, Donovan
Blues XI | Smith, Coker, Wordsworth, Thompson, Timlin (McGlashan 78’), Cox (Nouble 85’), Atkinson, Fortune (Robinson 58’), Leonard, Demetriou, Ferdinand (C). Subs Not Used: Bexon, White, Amos, Inniss
Referee: Andre Marriner
Assistants: S Burt & R West
Fourth Official: M Wilkes
Millwall: Fred Onyedinma 63’
Southend United: None
Millwall: Tony Craig 20’
Southend United: Theo Robinson 31’, Jermaine McGlashan 87’
Southend United: Will Atkinson 32’