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2017/18 Season Review: Away record equalled as Millwall close in on top six

March in focus...

17 May 2018

A deluge of snow threatened to postpone Millwall's first game in March, but the visit of Sunderland went ahead in bitterly cold conditions.

Bryan Oviedo's stunning long-range effort nudged The Mackems in front, but Shaun Hutchinson scrambled an effort over the line just over 20 minutes from time to level the scores.

Millwall huffed and puffed in an attempt to win the game, but to no avail.

"I can't fault the players' desire and effort to win the game, but we were perhaps lacklustre at times," said Neil Harris. "We lacked a bit of the brilliance we've had in February, but we still did enough to win the game. There was only going to be one team that would go on to win the game - that was us."

"We've shown we're a match for anybody in this League and we have some good players. More importantly, we have a spirit and a gameplan to what we do, which the players stick to. I can't give them any more credit then what I've given them in the last few weeks" - that was the view of the manager after Millwall secured a fifth straight away League victory at Hull City on 6th March.

George Saville opened the scoring after just 51 seconds at the KCOM Stadium before Jake Cooper doubled the lead just after the half-hour mark.

The Lions looked comfortable but allowed The Tigers back into the game and when Abel Hernandez reduced the arrears late on a nervy finish followed. However, Millwall held firm to claim three points.

Incredibly, lightning struck twice just a few days later as Saville again scored on 51 seconds in a 1-0 win over Brentford at The Den.

The Bees were largely dominant and should have walked away with all three points, but due to a combination of luck and resolute defending, The Lions' run without defeat was extended to 11 matches.

Harris explained that his players and the fans had "earned the right to dream" after Millwall moved a step closer to the Play-Off zone.

"Were Brentford good? Yeah, I thought they were very good today. We rode our luck at times, but look at the reverse fixture at Griffin Park," he said. "They rode their luck, we got some really poor refereeing decisions and got beat 1-0.

"Millwall going like a steam train pleases me. We're six points off the Play-Offs with nine games to go - the players and fans have earned the right to dream. You make your own luck in this game and today we rode ours, but we worked hard."

A club record of six consecutive away League victories - set in 2009/10 - was equalled at Oakwell on 17th March as goals from Lee Gregory and Ben Marshall secured a 2-0 win at Barnsley.

On a bitterly cold day that saw biting winds swirl snow around the ground, Gregory poked past the goalkeeper in the first half before Marshall curled home a wonderful strike from range in the second to make it 12 games unbeaten.

"It's not easy to do at any level and it's not easy for Millwall to do in The Championship," said the manager regarding the record. "It's testament to my players, not just in the team but in the squad as well and it's about their mentality.

"There's been games recently where we've not been that great and not had the ability to go through games dominating for the 90 minutes, so we have to find another way to win. Whether that's out-scoring the opposition like we did at Leeds or whether it's against Brentford last week or today, where we've had our backs to the wall a little bit, I'm delighted for the club to have equalled that record."

An international break threatened to curtail Millwall's momentum as the run-in approached, but The Lions kicked off the Easter period and closed out March with a comfortable 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest at The Den.

For the third time in four matches the lead was taken in the first minute - this time by Shaun Williams, who headed home his first goal of the season from Ben Marshall's cross.

Marshall was also involved in Millwall's second goal, as he crossed for Steve Morison, who nodded into the path of Gregory to chest down and slot home his 10th goal of the campaign.

The win moved the club just one point behind Middlesbrough in sixth place.

"We're taking each game as it comes. As we stand - a point off the top six - all the boys care about is beating Ipswich on Monday. Let's go and get the record of seven away wins - that's the mindset of the group right now."

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