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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 06 Feb 16 at 17:00 PM

Walsall 0-3 Millwall

Lee Gregory scored his 17th and 18th goals of the season either side of a memorable strike from first team debutant Mahlon Romeo to help Millwall record an emphatic 3-0 victory over high-flying Walsall on Saturday afternoon.

All three goals came in an incredible 16-minute second-half blitz as The Lions closed the gap on fifth-placed Coventry City to just one point.

Neil Harris was forced into two changes to his back four with Sid Nelson replacing the suspended Mark Beevers and Romeo, making his senior Lions bow, coming in for Shaun Cummings, who picked up an injury in the second-half of Tuesday's game against Oxford United.

In extremely difficult wet and windy conditions, it was The Lions who began the game the brightest, with Ed Upson's clever chip from distance drawing a smart save out of Liam Roberts before Steve Morison's cross just evaded the touch of Gregory at the far post.

Jordan Archer was first called into action after eight minutes with a smart double save; firstly tipping James Demetriou's cross out of the box before getting his body behind Andy Taylor's long-range strike.

Debutant Romeo was up against a tricky customer in left-winger Rico Henry, but it was perhaps a little harsh from referee Trevor Kettle to book the Millwall right-back for a challenge on his man after just 14 minutes. Anthony Forde took the subsequent free-kick, which Archer tipped away.

Nelson was his usual all-action self, and despite having to receive treatment on a nasty looking facial injury, the Millwall defender was an early magnet to crosses in the box as he twice cleared teasing deliveries from full-backs Taylor and Demetriou.

Having come through a sustained spell of pressure on their goal midway through the first period, Millwall came closest to the game's opening goal twice inside two minutes shortly after the half-hour mark. Firstly, Byron Webster's header was flicked on by Jed Wallace into the path of Romeo, whose effort from a tight angle was beaten away Roberts at the near post, before the Walsall keeper twice blocked shots from Gregory and Ed Upson inside the area.

The Lions were finishing the first-half on the front foot but they could thank the woodwork for ensuring the score was level at the interval after Forde's long-ranger rattled the bar following a quick counter.

Ironically, the second-half's first attack ended with Walsall again hitting the frame of the goal, but this time Henry's deep cross bounced off the far post and against Ferguson before the left-back scrambled the ball clear.

That chance was a sign of things to come early on in the second-half as Walsall again went close through Sam Mantom and Demetriou before the hour-mark.

But then, somewhat against the second-half run of play up to that point, The Lions took the lead. The away side launched a quick attack down the right-hand side, from where Wallace crossed for Gregory to guide the ball home at close range.

Walsall showed more urgency in their attacking play after going behind and could have scored a quick equaliser were it not for two superb blocks from Nelson, first to deny Romaine Sawyer and then to stop Henry's shot.

In the 70th minute, though, Millwall scored again - and in some style. Jimmy Abdou and Wallace exchanged passes on the far side before the latter played a one-two with debutant Romeo, who controlled, darted into the box and fired low past Roberts to spark jubilant scenes in the away dugout and amongst the travelling Lions faithful.

Walsall boss Sean O'Driscoll threw on Milan Lalkovic and Kieron Morris in an attempt to change the game but the duo barely had time to take to their positions before The Lions grabbed a third. This time a deep ball from Williams was latched on to by Gregory, who charged forward and slotted home for his second of the afternoon.

It could and probably should have been even better for Millwall in the 84th minute when Gregory's shot appeared to strike an arm before Upson looked to have been fouled, but the referee turned both penalty appeals down.

The third goal visibly killed any hope Walsall held of a comeback, and Harris' men comfortably saw themselves through the closing stages to secure arguably their best result of the season so far.

Walsall: Roberts, Demetriou, Downing, O'Connor, Taylor (K.Morris, 75'), Chambers (Lalkovic, 75'), Mantom, Bradshaw (Cook, 50'), Sawyers, Forde, Henry

Subs not used: Preston, Kinsella, B.Morris, Jezeph

Millwall: Archer, Romeo, Nelson, Webster, Ferguson, Wallace (Martin, 75'), Abdou, Williams, Upson, Gregory (O'Brien, 88'), Morison (Marquis, 88')

Subs not used: Forde, Wood, Thompson, Onyedinma

Goalscorers: Gregory 61' & 77', Romeo 70'

Bookings: Romeo 14'

Referee: Trevor Kettle

Attendance: 4,843 (749)

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