Millwall end Cardiff's three-game winning streak with a 2-1 win over ex-Lion Morison's Bluebirds
Millwall 2-1 Cardiff City
Millwall bounced back from their 3-0 rout at Fulham in midweek with a 2-1 win over Cardiff City at The Den to end the Bluebirds’ three-game victorious run in front of 12,710 supporters.
The Lions survived an early barrage of chances in the second half before Murray Wallace put second-best Millwall ahead with a well-executed dipping header from a corner after 73 minutes.
And substitutes Mason Bennett and George Saville combined to devastating effect nine minutes later when the former Derby County starlet nodded home the Chelsea academy graduate’s deflected delivery.
Millwall were in front almost by accident, up until Wallace’s opener manager Gary Rowett’s men had been largely outplayed and had to thank ex-QPR striker Jordan Hugill for planting a poor header over the crossbar with the goal gaping on the hour-mark.
Cardiff reduced the deficit at the death through Joel Bagan and even had the chance to nick a late stalemate but Mark McGuinness’ overhead kick ended straight into the arms of Bartosz Bialkowski.
The ruthless Lions scored twice from three shots on target while the toothless Bluebirds found the back of the net only once despite 16 attempts and journeyman Hugill, who played for the other two capital's Championship clubs in the division in Fulham and QPR, should carry the can for his side’s defeat.
The game in itself was a slow burner and the supporters may have wished that their train to Bermondsey was late, such was the lack of effort and creativity from either side in the first half hour.
The Welsh giants had most of the ball but they lacked option and ideas in possession to transform it into something tangible.
It took Millwall 31 minutes to get their first sigh of goal, through defender Shaun Hutchinson.
But the former Fulham and Motherwell centre-back sliced his shot from Scott Malone’s corner which Alex Smithies nearly spilled after poorly failing to hold onto the shot.
After 33 minutes Oliver Burke latched onto a through ball before trying to chip the Smithies in Cardiff’s goal but the ex-QPR keeper rushed off his line to smother the threat. The rebound then fell invitingly for Jed Wallace who tried to chip goalkeeper and completely missed the target.
After the half hour mark Millwall were growing into the game and began to see more of the ball in the opposition’s third.
But it was the visitors who came out all guns blazing after the interval and they should even have been awarded a spot-kick after a Jake Cooper handball in the area.
If VAR was around in the second tier, the Bluebirds would undoubtedly have had the chance to take the lead from 12 yards.
After the unfortunate incident, they kept up the pressure but Hugill’s effort was too central to trouble Millwall’s Bialkowski.
The visitors had gained in fluency and pace but were still to wasteful in front of goal.
Substitute Isaak Davies drew a fine low save from the goalkeeper after being released into space and galloping forward.
Whatever Bluebirds manager Steve Morison said, it worked a treat as Cardiff moved the ball much quicker, regularly cut through Millwall’s backline and were undeniably the much better side in every department.
But Hugill undid all of his side’s hard work when he headed over from a corner.
And after being largely outplayed for 22 minutes, the Lions finally began to show signs of life when Jed Wallace dragged his shot wide.
But Millwall gained momentum and it wasn’t long before the other Wallace headed his rejuvenated side in front with a close-range diving header against the run of play after 73 minutes.
And nine minutes later Bennett, assisted by Saville, headed a free header into the corner to give his side a 2-0 lead, which they hung onto despite Bagan pulling one back in injury-time.
33 Bartosz Bialkowski – 2 Danny McNamara- 3 Murray Wallace- 4 Shaun Hutchinson- 5 Jake Cooper- 6 Maikel Kieftenbeld- 7 Jed Wallace- 10 Oliver Burke (Mason Bennett 69')- 11 Scott Malone- 23 Benik Afobe (George Evans 90')- 24 Billy Mitchell (George Saville 69’)
25 Alex Smithies- 2 Mark McGuinness- 3 Joel Bagan- 5 Aden Flint- 8 Joe Ralls- 9 Jordan Hugill (Uche Ikpeazu 75') 15 Ryan Wintle – Cody Drameh- 22 Tommy Doyle (Will Vaulks 76')- 29 Mark Harris (Isaak Davies 54')- 38 Perry NG