Lions jump through the Hoops with 2-0 win to secure vital three points in battle to survive in the Championship
By Paul Lagan at The Den
Millwall 2 v QPR 0
The Lions secured the three point 'six-pointer' against fellow relegation-haunted QPR at the Den, winning the Boxing Day encounter in a dour match 2-0.
Both goals were scored at the thick end of both halves with Tom Bradshaw tucking home at the far post and substitute Murray Wallace doing the same late on in the second.
This was a win at all costs match for both sides – Millwall are now in 19th place with 26 points with the west Londoners still in the bottom three – 22nd with 20 points.
QPR are the side looking least likely to survive while Millwall, have the luxury of a few points in hand but need to up their game if they are to see 2024 as a season of transition, but one that sees them remain in the Championship.
The Hoops were woeful in the first half, and marginally better in the second. Millwall were consistent throughout the 90 plus minutes but a lack of confidence showed – this win will have helped.
The home side started the brighter, pressing the QPR back four at every opportunity.
George Honeyman had the first effort on goal, well, almost an effort, but his edge of the penalty area shot was well wide of Asmir Begovic's goal on five minutes.
Rangers' Jimmy Dunne was given a yellow car by referee Thomas Bramall after he hauled down Tom Bradshaw on 10 minutes.
The free-kick was just outside the QPR area, Honeyman whipped his right-footed curler high and wide of the opposition's goal.
Millwall thought they had a shout for a penalty on 23 minutes when George Saville and Dunne clashed for a ball in the six-yard box. However Bramall deemed it was the Lions' midfielder who was the guilty party and awarded a free kick to the west Londoners, much to the annoyance of the home fans,
The visitors first attack of note came on 28 minute when Ilias Chair tried his luck on the right. His shot was deflected away for a corner
Aidomo Emakhu was given a yellow card for a needless pull-back of Osman Kakay on 32 minutes.
Paul Smyth soon entered Bramall's little book, as was Honeyman a minute before the half-time whistle.
As the clock rolled I to the fourth and final minute of added time, the Lions got their just rewards for being the team more keen to score.
A quick break through the centre of the pitch saw the ball eventually crossed low and it zipped across the QPR six-yard box and at the far post, slid in Tom Bradshaw who tucked the ball home confidently.
There were no changes by either side at half-time.
Kenneth Paal held onto the ball for too long on 50 minutes and was dispossessed by Emakhu. The Millwall owed man raced forwards and produced an on-target shot which Begovic did well, at his left hand post to steer away for a corner.
Lineman Matthew Wilkes called attention to Bramall about something and pointed to his head – suggesting that maybe he was hit by something from the crowd on 56 minutes. There was a couple of minutes delay in play while he was looked at by Millwall medics but he continued on after that.
Disaster almost struck for Millwall on 62 minutes when a wayward cross pitch pass was intercepted. Chair took one touch and let fly with a daisy-cutter – but Matija Sarkic was equal to the task and snaffled the ball to safety.
This gave the visitors a fillip and they started to press the Millwall rearguard more in search for the vital equaliser.
Substitute Reggie Cannon saw a far post volley inch wide of the Millwall goal, while two minutes later, on 80 minutes, Zian Flemming almost saw his edge of the area curler creep inside Begovic's goal, but it too was inches wide.
Just as the fourth official brandished 10 minutes of added time, Millwall scored their second and the three points were secured. Up popped substitute Murray Wallace at the far post and somehow managed to steer the ball home.
There was no reaction from QPR and Millwall saw out the remaining minutes/
Teams: Millwall: Sarkic, Cooper, Bradshaw, Bryan, Norton-Cuffy, Leonard, Watmore, Emakhu, Saville, Honeyman, Harding
Subs: Bialkowski, McNamara, Wallace, Hutchinson, Lisbeth, Mitchell, Flemming, Longman, Esse
QPR: Begovic, Kakay, Dunne, Clarke-Salter, Field, Dykes, Chair, Smyth, Dozzell, Larkeche, Paal
Subs: Archer, Willock, Richards, Dixon-Bonner, Cannon, Kelman, Drewe, Armstrong, Adomah
Referee: Thomas Bramall.