A much improved performance in an end to end game…
- The starting line up brought a couple of surprises with Chaplow starting and Andy Butler once again consigned to the bench. Chaplow justified his inclusion with the equalizer but none of the back three covered themselves in glory.
- Rovers started badly and it was no surprise when Paul Keegan’s glorious flick on fell for Steve Morison to lob a stranded Thorsten Stuckmann. 1-0.
- Rovers almost fell apart following the early Millwall goal as McCullough allowed Lee Gregory to ease past him on the byline and only a smart stop from Stuckmann kept the reds in the game.
- With Rovers on the back foot Millwall made the puzzling decision to sit back and allow the home team possession. Rovers looked there for the taking at one point and Millwall will surely wish they had tried to press home an advantage as Rovers went on to dominate the game.
- Great work from Andy Williams for Chaplow to slide home and the human thumb seemed to enjoy celebrating in front of the Millwall fans – he’s a braver man than I!
- Taylor-Sinclair was once again unconvincing but it was his defensive partner Luke McCullough who was the most culpable. Whilst McCullough was very good in possession, three times his weak defending allowed Millwall a shot at goal and if not for their profligate strike force Rovers would have had a much bigger mountain to climb. How much longer must we watch a defender who is slow, has no positional sense and can’t tackle, at the heart of our defence?
- In midfield Keegan was poor and Middleton looked a big improvement when brought on in the second half. It is possible that Middleton is better as an impact sub but he will be pushing for a start against Shrewsbury.
- The decision to bring off a clearly annoyed Andy Williams seemed odd but Lynden Gooch was lively and direct and caused problems for a tiring Millwall defence. More of the same please.
- Millwall’s chant of ‘nobody likes us, we don’t care’ should actually be ‘nobody cares about us, we don’t like it’ such is their complete lack of relevance to the footballing world. Get over yourselves.
- The Black Bank did well to remain positive in freezing conditions. Even the competition provided by a malfunctioning PA system failed to dampen their spirits.
- Rovers didn’t actually look like a team who had lost 4 on the bounce, particularly after the opening 20 minutes. Whilst this is encouraging against a decent Millwall side, let us not forget we are still only 3 points above the relegation zone and have a just a solitary victory in 2016.
Conor Grant – Looked rusty in the first half but was back to his best in the second half. Grant always wanted the ball and created space time and time again only for a team mate to look elsewhere. As our best attacking midfielder the young Everton loanee has a big part to play for the remainder of the season.
The referee – Despite a number of decisions being unpopular with the Rovers fans, Carl Boyeson actually got most of the big decisions correct and on another day all three of Lund, Chaplow and McCullough could have been sent off.
Richard Chaplow – Not a perfect performance but a much improved one and a vital goal. Just about earning his place in the starting line up.
Cedric Evina – Evina has struggled to replicate his early season form in recent times and he was particularly poor against Millwall. The young defenders decision making was off, he regularly gave the ball away and the Millwall defence coped with everything he threw at them fairly comfortably. His afternoon was summed up by his air kick from Nathan Tyson’s inch perfect cross.
Nathan Tyson – Speaking of Tyson his miss after picking the pocket of a Millwall defender was absolutely unforgivable. If Tyson was a better finisher he would have played at a higher level in his career but it was the kind of chance strikers dream of. It was even at the right angle for a left footer but with the entire right side of the goal to aim at Tyson shot unconvincingly at Jordan Archer.
James Coppinger – From captain to unused substitute in a few short weeks. Coppinger has always been a role model and a perfect professional but he has never had to sit games out at Rovers before. It will be interesting to see how he reacts in the coming weeks.