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Match Reports

Lions victorious as The Den remembers

Our take on Gary Rowett's first Lions match...

26 October 2019

The Gary Rowett era began in perfect fashion on Saturday afternoon as Millwall were 2-0 winners over Stoke City in the Sky Bet Championship at The Den.

Ben Thompson's first goal of the season opened the scoring in the first-half, before a thunderous Jed Wallace penalty put Millwall two to the good with 15 minutes remaining.

Rowett opted to start Tom Bradshaw in a lone striker role against The Potters, with Jed Wallace, Thompson and Shane Ferguson behind. Jayson Molumby and Shaun Williams anchored the midfield, whilst Mahlon Romeo, Shaun Hutchinson, Jake Cooper and Murray Wallace sat in front of Bartosz Bialkowski.

After the Remembrance commemorations were wrapped up, The Lions spent the first 10 minutes playing the better football, but their final ball was lacking, leading to Adam Federici being untested.

With 16 minutes played Millwall had their first effort on goal, but Jed Wallace's curler crept just beyond the far post of Federici. Romeo then beat his marker and looked to cross, but the stopper gathered.

Jed's namesake, Murray, then had a go with his weaker right foot from 20 yards out, but that too went the wrong side of Federici's goal.

After a spell of Stoke possession was endured - without Bialkowski being tested - The Lions took the lead on 28 minutes as, after Jed Wallace's cross was fizzed in, Thompson finished on the volley from around 15 yards out for his first goal of the season.

Shortly after the half-hour mark, with The Lions largely dominant, the ball broke to captain Hutchinson inside the box, but wouldn't drop in time for the defender to power a header towards goal, with a combination of the Stoke back-line and Federici crowding him out. The Potters' first real effort on goal came on 36 minutes, but Badou Ndiaye's attempt was well wide.

There were 52 minutes played when Jed Wallace broke through the Stoke defence and flashed a shot across goal, but Federici - certainly the busier of the two goalkeepers - tipped it wide, with the resulting corner-kick coming to nothing.

Just before the clock struck 60 minutes, a familiar sight at The Den over the last five years almost reared its head once more, but after the ball dropped at the feet of Lee Gregory, Hutchinson's outstanding challenge prevented the forward from slamming home from just a few yards out.

The Potters were now having a spell of pressure on the Millwall goal, with Tom Ince at the heart, but Bialkowski remained relatively untroubled - and a superb lung-busting run from Molumby to chase the ball all the way back to Federici in the 70th minute received applause from the Lions faithful.

With 73 minutes played, Millwall - in particular Jed Wallace - won a penalty after his run down the right-hand side was finally halted inside the area, despite Stoke's best attempts to illegally do so numerous times. The winger picked himself up and thumped his effort past Federici, who had no chance, to double the lead.

There were nine minutes remaining when Molumby - who had bossed the game from start to finish - looked to cap his performance with a goal, but his effort went slightly over the crossbar.

From there, Millwall saw the game out comfortably, securing three points that does their chances in the Sky Bet Championship no harm at all.

Millwall: Bialkowski, M. Wallace, Hutchinson, Cooper, Williams, J. Wallace, Thompson, Bradshaw (Bodvarsson 71'), Ferguson (Mahoney 63'), Romeo, Molumby. Subs not used: Steele, McCarthy, Smith, Pearce, O'Brien.

Scorer: Thompson 28', J. Wallace pen 75'

Booking: Ferguson

Stoke City: Federici, Allen, Lindsay, Batth, Ince (Campbell 85'), Carter-Vickers, Martins Indi (Vokes 75'), Gregory, Hogan (McClean 46'), Clucas, Ndiaye. Subs not used: Butland, Ward, Cousins, Collins.

Referee: Darren England

Attendance: 14,008 (1,255)

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