Birmingham City entered The Den hoping to steal away all 3 points. A first half, of limited chances, was somewhat overshadowed by ‘alleged’ racist abuse by a Millwall fan, aimed toward Blues’ Jérémie Bela.
The second half livened up, with Millwall having the lion share of possession and attacks. But a game that lacked any sort of quality to force a goal means that Birmingham City remain 14th in the Championship, failing to move towards the top half of the table for the second game in a row.
Blues managed to extend their unbeaten run to twelve games (in all competitions) and I’m sure Pep will be happy with another clean sheet after shipping 3 goals at home to Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend.
Here’s how Pep Clotet’s men rated.
Starting Formation : 4-4-2
A couple of good saves in the second half to keep Blues in the game. Albeit maybe palming away a shot that could have been caught, but that can forgiven. Another clean sheet to his name will keep Camp firmly as the man in the middle of our goal.
Contributed to the attack with a couple of good give and go’s with Jude, but ultimately to no avail. Struggled to deal with Bennett at times but put up a good fight and Bennett’s threat seemed to dissipate in the second half, leading to him being withdrawn.
As has been the case this season, Marc Roberts stood up tall during tonight’s test against a well drummed Gary Rowett side. The Millwall waves of attack increased as the game grew on but Roberts dug deep in the final quarter of the game in order to take a point back to St Andrew’s. It looked like his long throw had finally had the effect we’ve been waiting for, but for an uncertain call from the ref.
Harlee Dean, Man of the Match. The Den is a tough place to go, especially on a cold Wednesday night, and he would have gone in to the game expecting a long night. He won a number of headers and dealt with a lot of Millwall pressure, especially in the second half. Dean will give Clotet a decision to make ahead of the away trip to QPR. Jake Clarke-Salter will be knocking on the door to regain his place in the starting line up.
But for a few sloppy fouls, Kristian Pedersen had another great game in a Blues shirt. He won his headers and dealt with Wallace well tonight. His vision of the game, for his still tender age, is very impressive. Pederson had, what looks like, a good goal disallowed for a Harlee Dean foul on Cooper, which would have been well deserved for his performance.
Bela was very quiet in the first half and seemed to be contained by his full back. He got a bit more joy when Jude and he swapped flanks, showing off his excellent control of the ball and silky footwork. Jérémie wasn’t able to create anything of importance as he has done so much since joining Clotet’s men half-way through the sesason.
A couple of sloppy fouls in the first half Ivan but stayed resolute in a dogged game. He looked to take Blues forward which led to some of our best openings but, as was the trend, didn’t lead to anything clear-cut.
Not the Knight in shining armour performance of recent weeks. Failed to track his runner on occasion which led to a fantastic chance for Millwall. Gary worked hard in a game where defensive duties were paramount. He looked to set the wide men forward where he could but Blues struggled going forward in general.
Jude worked hard defensively where he would rather be driving the team forward. He keeps the ball incredibly well in small pockets of space and on a few occasions managed to win timely free kicks to eradicate the pressure from Millwall. He probably didn’t want to come off the pitch but saving his legs for, what could be, a more open game away at Loftus Road could turn out to be a wise decision from Clotet.
Hogan had 4 touches in the first half, with the first of those being Blues’ best chance of the half. Very quiet for the majority but the volleyball-style play probably didn’t suit him very well. He grew into the second half slightly making some neat runs in behind but Millwall’s defence kept him quiet.
The Juke had a good battle on his hands with the giant this is Jake Cooper. He won a fair few headers, one of those setting Hogan up for his best chance of the match, but ultimately nothing fell his way tonight.
Crowley (for Bela, 66)
Kietenbeld (for Bellingham, 71)
Not used: Trueman, Clarke-Salter, Harding, Boyd-Munce, Montero
Millwall (3-5-3): Bialkowski, Cooper, Pearce (C) (Smith, 63), Hutchinson, Romeo, Wallace, Woods, Molumby, Bödvarsson (Mahoney, 80), Wallace, Bennett (Bradshaw, 63) Not used: Steele, Ferguson, Mitchell, O’Brien
*MOTM : Harlee Dean
THE REF: David Webb
NEXT UP: QPR (a), Saturday, February 29, Kick-off 15.00