Hatters take the points at the Den as the Wall lose for first time in the league for two months
By Alessandro Schiavone at The Den
Millwall 0 v Luton Town 2
Millwall’s 22-year unbeaten league home record against Luton Town came to an agonizing end after slumping to a shock 2-0 defeat against The Hatters at The Den. Goals either side of half-time from the unplayable Harry Cornick ensured Luton leapfrogged today’s unflattering Lions in the Championship table. To compound matters, Millwall were denied a lifeline when Jed Wallace saw his 83rd-minute penalty clawed away by Sluga to send the furious home supporters into despair. No one saw today’s gobsmacking result coming, not least as Millwall hadn’t lost in the league for nearly two months and The Hatters’ solitary away win this season came against third-from-bottom Barnsley. Before kick-off the unfancied visitors were one point adrift of Millwall in the table but there were light-years between the two sides in terms of fluency, hunger and cutting edge. Millwall started the brighter but Jed Wallace fired a lame effort straight at Luton goalkeeper Sluga after latching onto a long pass from Jake Cooper. And Luton Town were surprisingly ahead after 11 minutes through Cornick, who found the top-corner with an exquisite first-time finish after Jordan Clark had slipped the ball through to him. Millwall only had themselves to blame for falling behind after some sloppy defending led to James Bree winning the ball and quickly teeing up Clark, who then picked out Cornick in the box. Solid at the back, the visitors also looked ominous on the break and exposed Millwall every single time they charged forward thanks to their change of pace and urgency. Falling behind should have sparked a revival in Gary Rowett’s men but other than sending long balls into the box, albeit often inaccurate, they lacked a plan B and were devoid of ideas. Clark tried to catch out Bartosz Bialkowski on 22 minutes but his effort went off target. Millwall lacked confidence and conviction in the final ball and Benik Afobe had his shot blocked in the box two minutes later. The second half was the mirror-image of the first. Millwall started with more vigour and determination. But for all their attacking intent and possession, they could not create clear-cut chances and were cut open at will in transition. Millwall’s goal was breached for a second time when his backline failed to pick up Cornick, who afforded time and space, added to his tally after slotting the ball beyond the dive of Bialkowski into the far corner. And just as the vocal home fans were voicing their displeasure at their team’s appalling performance in the stands, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu nearly extended Luton’s cushion. But his thumping long-range effort cannoned off the bar as Millwall got away with another piece of poor defending. After a horror show in the first 70 minutes, the deflated Millwall players tried at least to pick themselves up and go out on a high note. And there were some positives to take from their display in final minutes, not least the commitment and heart they showed, when some of their fans were already leaving the ground in frustration. And they came close to reducing the deficit on three occasions. Wallace first saw his free kick deflected wide by Sluga before missing a crucial spot-kick seven minutes from time. Sluga guessed correctly to deny Millwall a route back into the game. That was that and in stoppage-time the excellent Luton goalkeeper palmed away substitute Matt Smith’s towering header as the in-form Hatters won at The Den for the first time since 1999. Today’s victory was no mean feat and the last time Luton did so, in 1999, the man who netted today’s brace, Cornick, was a four-year old toddler about to begin his journey as a professional footballer at Dorset-based minnows Christchurch Football Club.
The boy has come a long way since.
MILLWALL 33 Bartosz Bialkowski- 2 Danny McNamara-3 Murray Wallace- 4 Shaun Hutchinson©- 5 Jake Cooper- 7 Jed Wallace- 14 Sheyi Ojo- 17 George Saville- 23 Benik Afobe- 26 Daniel Ballard- 28 George Evans LUTON TOWN 12 Simon Sluga- 2 James Bree- 4 Kai Naismith- 5 Sonny Bradley- 6 Glen Rea- 7 Harry Cornick- 11 Elijah Adebayo- 15 Tom Lockyer- 17 Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu- 18 Jordan Clark- Amari’I Bell