Report | Rochdale 0-1 Millwall
Lee Gregory scored for the sixth game in a row as Millwall secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory away to Rochdale on Saturday afternoon.
The red-hot forward was in the right place at the right time to tap home a 54th-minute winner, which made it a fifth straight away victory in all competitions for The Lions.
Neil Harris made just one change from the side which beat Walsall last weekend, bringing in Joe Martin for Shane Ferguson, and it was his side who began the brighter at Spotland, with shots from Jimmy Abdou and Ed Upson displaying a show of intent inside the opening three minutes.
But it was the home side who should have gone ahead moments later, as Joe Bunney played a neat one-two with Jamie Allen, who played in Callum Camps, but both Jordan Archer and Mahlon Romeo did enough to deny Keith Hill's men an opener.
The match was barely 10 minutes old before heavy rain began to impact what already looked a boggy pitch, but the weather did little to dampen Millwall's positive play as Gregory's cross just evaded Jed Wallace inside the area before two corners in quick succession were cleared.
At the other end, Bunney was looking Rochdale's brightest attacking outlet; the winger first coming close with a low drive from outside the area before later ghosting into the box and producing a cross which Abdou dealt with.
In what was proving a fairly end-to-end encounter, the next chance fell Millwall's way but Abdou could not make the most of an opportunity on goal after Steve Morison's cross, following a lung-busting run from Wallace, fell kindly for him. On the half hour mark, Bunney's cross was headed wide by towering forward Calvin Andrew, who looked to land awkwardly on his knee and was forced off, with Peter Vincenti his replacement.
Just as they had done the week previously, Millwall were enjoying plenty of joy on the counter attack, and two separate moves with Upson, Morison and Wallace all involved both ended in corners which the visitors couldn't make the most of.
It seemed as though all of Millwall's attacks ended in corners, particularly in the final moments of the first-half, when a flurry of deliveries from either side were dealt with by the Rochdale defence before Ian Henderson saw a shot palmed away by Archer at the opposite end following a swift counter.
After something of a scrappy start to the second-half the game sparked into life after 54 minutes when Gregory opened the scoring. The in-form striker was involved at the start of the move before the ball made its way to Wallace, who turned it to Morison and though the Millwall skipper scuffed his attempted shot, Gregory was on hand to tap home his 19th of an increasingly prolific campaign. There were heavy protests both from Rochdale players and fans as to whether Gregory was offside but the goal stood - much to the delight of the travelling Lions faithful.
It could've been 2-0 just after the hour mark when Shaun Williams played a wonderfully inventive pass over the top, but this time Gregory couldn't beat keeper Josh Lillis, who did enough to turn the ball behind for a corner.
Rather than sit back on the lead, The Lions continued their hunt for a second goal as Wallace and Romeo combined well down the right before the latter's attempted cross into the six-yard area was turned away.
As the game reached the final 10 minutes, Millwall still looked likelier to score its second goal, though substitute Nathaniel Mendez-Laing did go close with a low drive following a short corner at the other end. And despite committing more and more men forward in search of a late equaliser, The Lions clung on for another well-earned victory.
Rochdale: Lillis, Rafferty, McNulty, Eastham, Lancashire, Andrew (Vincenti, 35'), Allen, Cannon (Alessandra, 71'), Camps, Bunney (Mendez-Laing, 71'), Henderson
Subs not used: Lund, Collis, Rose, Syers
Bookings: Lancashire 10', Henderson 50'
Millwall: Archer, Romeo, Nelson, Webster, Martin, Wallace, Abdou, Williams, Upson, Gregory (Marquis, 86'), Morison
Subs not used: Forde, Edwards, Ferguson, Thompson, Onyedinma, O'Brien
Goalscorers: Gregory 54'
Bookings: Nelson 50', Martin 57', Williams 76'
Referee: Graham Salisbury