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Match Reports

Bennett bags to keep Lions in the hunt

Our report from SE16...

14 July 2020

Mason Bennett found the net as Millwall defeated Blackburn Rovers 1-0 in the Sky Bet Championship at The Den on Tuesday night.

The attacker turned an effort at the back post past Christian Walton to secure all three points for Gary Rowett's side.

The result sees The Lions record back-to-back wins, a third victory in four and keeps the club on the coattails of the division's top six with just two matches remaining.

Gary Rowett opted to bring Mahlon Romeo back into the starting Xi in place of Billy Mitchell, who dropped to the bench - a place Jon Dadi Bodvarsson returned to after overcoming an injury.

The first action of the game came from referee John Brooks' pocket, as he booked Joe Rankin-Costello for a foul on Romeo. With four minutes played Tom Bradshaw's challenge saw Mason Bennett look to set Jed Wallace in on goal, but the winger's first touch was off, with the ball rolling into the arms of Walton.

At the other end, Adam Armstrong gave Bartosz Bialkowski an early test, but most of the action was happening in front of the Blackburn goal - the ball being fired across the box twice as the 15-minute mark approached, but no man was there to touch the ball home.

The Lions kept probing as the half continued, and perhaps their best chance came with 17 minutes on the clock, but Shaun Hutchinson touched the ball wide of the post from a Jed Wallace corner.

More crosses were swung into the Rovers penalty area as Millwall dominated, but with Jake Cooper's shot being saved by Walton, it seemed as though the opening goal would not come - until on the 20-minute mark, another cross finally found its way to Bennett, who slotted home at the back post to give The Lions a deserved lead.

Blackburn ventured forward on the half-hour mark and fashioned a free-kick after Ryan Woods was judged to have fouled, but Stewart Downing's ball in sailed over everyone and out for a goal-kick. Bradley Johnson then struck wide three minutes later. 

After that momentary blip, The Lions returned to their attacking stance, and some neat play between Shane Ferguson, Bennett and Cooper nearly saw the latter strike home, but his shot was blocked.

The first chance of the second-half went the way of Millwall and Jed Wallace, but after the winger sprung the offside trap and latched on to Ryan Leonard's through-ball, his effort was well stopped by Walton. Down the other end, though, Rovers almost equalised through Downing's deflected effort, but fortunately the ball looped just over Bialkowski's crossbar.

Rankin-Costello then shot well over as the visitors looked for a way back into the game, whilst Armstrong really should have done better with an attempt from inside the area on 59 minutes, which Bialkowski gathered down low.

A superb cross-field ball from Jed Wallace to Romeo with 63 minutes on the clock saw the play end up at the feet of Bradshaw, but Walton was equal to his effort, before Jed's disguised ball almost allowed Bennett a shot on goal two minutes later, but to no avail.

Alex Pearce had to head Armstrong's teasing cross over his own crossbar as Rovers came on strong, before smart goalkeeping from Bialkowski saw the Pole claim the ball at the feet of Blackburn substitute Sam Gallagher after the striker looked to claim a through-ball.

A scramble in the box saw Bradshaw have a shot blocked as the final 15 minutes got underway, with the next action - after a flurry of changes - coming with 84 minutes on the clock as John Buckley fired well wide from distance.

Seven minutes of stoppage-time had to be negotiated at the end of the game, complete with obligatory Blackburn pressure and an agonising Rankin-Costello effort that crawled past the far post, but The Lions held firm to claim victory.

Millwall: Bialkowski, Hutchinson, Cooper, J. Wallace (Molumby 87'), Bradshaw (Mahoney 81'), Ferguson (Thompson 80'), Romeo (M. Wallace 70'), Pearce, Leonard, Woods, M. Bennett (Bodvarsson 69'). Subs not used: Steele, Williams, Smith, Mitchell.

Scorer: Bennett 20'

Booking: Woods, Cooper

Blackburn Rovers: Walton, Johnson (Buckley 80'), Armstrong, Graham (Gallagher 46'), Samuel (Rothwell 46'), Downing (Davenport 80'), Adarabioyo, Lenihan, Travis (Holtby 69'), E. Bennett, Rankin-Costello. Subs not used: Leutwiler, Nyambe, Brereton, Carter.

Booking: Rankin-Costello, Travis

Referee: John Brooks

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