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Match Reports

Lions late show earns draw at St Andrew's

Our report from Birmingham...

23 April 2022

Benik Afobe scored a penalty-kick eight minutes into second-half stoppage-time to secure Millwall a 2-2 draw at Birmingham City in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday afternoon.

After a goalless first-half, Juninho Bacuna gave The Blues an early second-half lead, before Oliver Burke equalised. It was a tale of two penalties from there, as firstly, Lyle Taylor converted from the spot on 79 minutes, before Benik Afobe scored his own spot-kick in the 98th minute to earn a point.

Gary Rowett made three changes for the trip to St Andrew's, with Billy Mitchell, Tyler Burey and the injured Scott Malone making way for Maikel Kieftenbeld - against his old club - Oliver Burke and Shaun Hutchinson, whilst Mason Bennett returned to the squad to take a place on the substitute's bench.

Birmingham started the brighter and struck the woodwork just two minutes in as Gary Gardner's free-kick hit the outside of the post and bounced behind for a goal-kick.

Juninho Bacuna was proving to be the thorn in Millwall's side throughout the first-half and curled wide with nine minutes on the clock, before a first chance for The Lions saw George Saville curl a free-kick over four minutes later.

George Friend headed wide before a vital Marc Roberts interception prevented Tom Bradshaw from striking just past the half-hour mark. In the 34th minute, however, came the biggest chance of the game to date - and it went the way of The Lions. After Murray Wallace twisted, turned and struck, Neil Etheridge saved, but with the ball breaking to Hutchinson, it seemed as though Millwall would take the lead; that was until his strike was cleared off the line by Maxime Colin.

There was action at the other end late in the first-half as Bacuna crashed an effort off the post, but despite both goalkeepers being beaten, Leigh Doughty blew for half-time with the score goalless.

The second-half, however, produced four goals, with the first of them coming just two minutes in, as slack defending allowed Bacuna to nip in and break the deadlock.

The Lions responded to that setback, though, and fashioned two chances through the lively Oliver Burke and the strikes of Bradshaw, before getting the game back on level terms courtesy of the former, who turned home Danny McNamara's header down from substitute Bennett's cross.

Bennett then could have given The Lions the lead after breaking through the defence and heading towards goal, but his touch was too heavy, but the advantage once more went to Birmingham with 11 minutes to play as Taylor was fouled inside the area by Saville - the striker picking himself up to score from the spot, despite Bartosz Bialkowski guessing right.

The Lions then piled forward in search of an equaliser, with Afobe's shot tipped over the crossbar two minutes into six of stoppage-time. At the other end, however, Onel Hernandez rounded Bialkowski and looked set to seal the three points for Birmingham, but he struck wide.

That proved to be a big moment, as in the 96th minute, The Lions were handed a lifeline as Doughty pointed to the spot following a foul. As cool as you like, Afobe stepped up to convert and secure a draw.

Birmingham City: Etheridge, Colin, Roberts, Friend, Bela (Graham 81'), Gardner, Bacuna, Hernandez, Taylor, Sunjic, Gordon. Subs not used: Trueman, Woods, Hogan, Jutkiewicz, James, Deeney.

Scorer: Bacuna 47', Taylor pen 79'

Booking: Roberts, Taylor, Sunjic, Bacuna

Millwall: Bialkowski, McNamara (Leonard 87'), M. Wallace, Hutchinson (Bennett 63'), Cooper, Kieftenbeld, Bradshaw (Burey 80'), Burke, Saville, Afobe, Ballard. Subs not used: Long, B. Mitchell, Evans, Ojo.

Scorer: Burke 68', Afobe pen 90+8'

Booking: Saville, McNamara, Cooper

Referee: Leigh Doughty

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