Reports from the Press Box
Millwall defender admits fault in Burnley equaliser
Millwall defender Jack Smith admitted he could have done better defending Burnley’s equaliser in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with the Championship leaders at The Den.
The Lions were seemingly well on their way to victory after 38 minutes as goals from Scott McDonald and Danny Shittu gave them a two-goal lead.
However, a Sam Vokes header just a minute after the Lions’ second put the table-toppers right back in contention.
And they were back on terms 10 minutes after the break when a defensive mix-up produced an own goal from Shane Lowry as the Lions were eventually forced to settle for a third straight draw after holding QPR and Reading.
Although it was Lowry who deflected Michael Kightly’s shot into the Millwall net, fellow defender Smith accepted he was equally at fault having allowed the Burnley player to get the better of him before unleashing his strike.
Smith admitted: "I've held my hands up, as I could have done a bit better, but Kightly's a good player. He's got the better of me once in the game and luckily for them they've scored from it.
Shane didn't really know where he was in regards to the goal or where the ball is going. He's just slid and it has hit him and just bobbled in, but it probably didn't look great.
It looked like it was going five or so yards wide, so it was a bit disappointing."
The defender added: “After the goals it felt like wave after wave for 15 minutes or so.
They hit the post and at that stage you're just digging in and trying to see it out, because you know you're going to get those spells in the game where the other team dominate.
We stayed strong and came back into it towards the end and had a couple of half chances ourselves."
Despite the disappointment of being pegged back by the Clarets, the point at least continued Millwall’s recent upturn in results at The Den under Steve Lomas.
Smith said: "Our home form over the last 18 months hasn’t been great and I think you can feel that around the place.
The last three of four at home have been better and we need to build on that so away teams know how hard it is to come down here."
But Smith did acknowledge the timing of Vokes’ goal immediately after Millwall had gone 2-0 in front was a game changer.
He said: "The first 35 minutes felt quite comfortable. Obviously we’re 2-0 up but then the goal straight after for them gave them a boost.
I'll take three points out of the last three games, though. We're unbeaten against three of the most fancied teams, so we can't be too disappointed with it."
Smith added: "Their first seemed quite a soft goal, but like I said we felt comfortable and I don't think they really had a chance before that.
We just needed really to get to half-time and to keep it tight for 10 minutes. In hindsight we would have probably gone on to win the game. We'll have a look at a replay of it and try and see where we went wrong."
Smith has found opportunities numbered of late, making just five appearances all season, and the defender was just glad to be back in first team action.
He said: "It's been a while since I’ve played. Obviously I'm a bit leggy towards the end, but like the rest of the lads I just had to try and dig in and keep the point.
But it's nice to be back, it's nice to be playing and I'm just going to try and stay in the team as long as possible now."
Burnley manager Sean Dyche praised his players' mentality to come back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Millwall and stretch their unbeaten league run to 10 games.
The table topping Clarets trailed for only the second time in the Championship this season when Scott McDonald fired the Lions in front with a 23rd minute volley.
Danny Shittu doubled the home side's advantage with the aid of a deflection off Sam Vokes.
But Vokes reduced the deficit with a downwards header within a minute.
The Clarets drew level after Shane Lowry turned in Michael Kightly's shot 10 minutes into the second half.
Burnley had chances to win it, but Dyche said: "We didn’t start well and you have to be realistic. Being 2-0 down is a tough scoreline to change, but we had to do it the hard way and I think that was again evidence that we have a good mentality in the group.
Without taking anything away from Millwall, we weren’t at the races for the first half an hour. But the second goal, which had an element of luck for them with the deflection, just seems to kick us into life.
We looked back to what we are all of a sudden and the break actually came a little too quickly for us. We were on the front foot, but we responded again and took that into the second half, when we created some good chances and probably deserved to edge it overall."
The point keeps Burnley a point clear at the top, after Leicester closed the gap with a 3-0 win at Watford in the lunchtime kick-off.