BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Millwall suffered a shock defeat to Swansea City – as the Welsh side managed to become only the second side to win at The Den since November 2017 despite playing 90 minutes down to 10 men.
They looked bang in trouble when Courtney Baker-Richardson was sent off for a horrible tackle on James Meredith with just five minutes on the clock.
And the Lions finally made the breakthrough in the second half with Murray Wallace scoring his first goal since his transfer from Scunthorpe United.
But substitute Kyle Naughton levelled things up in the 76th minute with Jefferson Montero exploiting space to ruthless effect.
And it was Montero who teed up Oliver McBurnie for a close-range finish as Swansea celebrated massively at the full-time whistle.
Millwall were forced into changes with Jordan Archer missing from the squad – Ben Amos starting his first Championship game since his loan switch from Bolton Wanderers.
And the absence of George Saville in the previous two matches is now a permanent one after his £8million sale to Middlesbrough.
Ryan Leonard was not signed in time to be eligible. The other summer transfer window signing to start was Murray Wallace with Shaun Hutchinson out for a number of weeks with a knee injury.
Swansea seemed determined to stand up to the physical test at The Den but Baker-Richardson went too far with that. The young striker was high and late on Meredith and referee Graham Scott was almost instantly on the scene to brandish a red card.
But Millwall struggled to make their man advantage count even if they largely dominated possession.
The best chance of the first period to break the deadlock was undoubtedly in the 24th minute. Jake Cooper had played a lot of long diagonal balls up for Steve Morison and the Lions captain headed down into the path of the onrushing Jed Wallace, but he struck wide with his right foot.
Millwall’s only effort on target in that first stanza came in the 11th minute. Shaun Williams free-kick was barely above the turf and an easy one for Erwin Mulder to field.
Swansea’s cause did not seem to be aided when Leroy Fer was forced off with an injury 10 minutes before half-time.
Jed Wallace and Aiden O’Brien both failed to find the target with shots before Lions boss Neil Harris changed things up. And Jiri Skalak’s first devilish cross instantly pumped up the volume at The Den.
Soon after it was 1-0. The Lions love to hit Cooper at the back post with deep corners and the centre-back guided Shaun Williams’ corner back across goal and Murray Wallace was there to guide it in from close range.
But it went horribly wrong in the final 14 minutes. Mahlon Romeo totally lost Montero on the right and his cutback to Naughton was finished sweetly.
Lee Gregory drove a first-time shot across the face of goal from a Morison flick on while substitute Jiri Skalak fired over.
Another too-easy counter saw Swansea go ahead. Montero played a one-two and had time and space to measure his pass for McBurnie to slot into the net.
Tom Carroll hit the left post with Amos beaten before Millwall had their chance of a late equaliser. Skalak’s cross from the right was met by substitute Tom Elliott but came down off the crossbar with Erwin Mulder claiming the loose ball.
IMAGE BY BRIAN TONKS
Murray Wallace scores Millwall’s goal at The Den
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