Millwall and QPR battled to a 1-1 draw tonight at The Den – in a Championship fixture that was about far much more than just a game of football.
The Lions had issued a joint statement with their opponents making clear that they would stand together in “a show of solidarity” for the sport’s fight against discrimination.
And the gesture was applauded and cheered by the 2,000 home fans inside The Den. Some of the QPR players opted to ‘take the knee’ while Millwall right-back Mahlon Romeo – so disgusted by the boos that preceded Saturday’s kick off against Derby – stood with his right arm aloft.
The defender left the pitch at the full-time whistle with his shirt lifted aloft – the SE16 club putting Kick It Out as their sponsors in response to the weekend – with the response yet again a positive one from the stands.
Millwall were under fierce scrutiny after some of their supporters booed the ‘taking of the knee’ by the home side and Derby County at the weekend.
The Lions had also issued a warning to their fanbase that they were under the most stringent of media spotlights. Chief executive Steve Kavanagh looked a relieved man as a potentially hugely damaging flashpoint passed without incident.
Romeo was the pick of the Lions players on what must have been a emotional and testing night. His display encapsulated the hosts’ evening in that not everything he tried came off, but he continued to be a positive influence.
Millwall fell behind to an excellent finish by Ilias Chair as he arrowed a fierce strike home in the 53rd minute. Lyndon Dykes failed to take advantage of a good chance after that while Bart Bialkowski also turned away a low drive by Dominic Ball.
The Lions had been listless and Lions manager Gary Rowett shook things up with a triple substitution shortly after the hour mark.
And it was Jon Dadi Bodvarsson – one of those changes – who had a hand in the leveller. Whether the Icelandic international’s shot was going in before Osman Kakay stuck out his right leg to change the trajectory of the ball can be pulled apart on another day.
PHOTOS: KEITH GILLARD
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