BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Millwall manager Gary Rowett was left unhappy with the manner of both Barnsley’s goals as they continued their good recent form at The Den by recording a 2-1 victory.
Conor Chaplin and Patrick Schmidt were on target for the Tykes. Aiden O’Brien had equalised for the Lions in the closing stages of the Championship clash.
The winner came in the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time. Jed Wallace, who has been such a source of goals for Millwall under Rowett, failed to beat Luke Thomas and the cross was headed neatly home by Schmidt.
The South Londoners, who had been unbeaten in seven matches, barely had time to get the action back underway before referee Jarred Gillett blew for full time.
Barnsley had six shots on target to Millwall’s one. Bartosz Bialkowski made a number of saves for the hosts, who struggled to turn their periods of control in the contest into tangible chances.
Rowett said: “I’m disappointed, because of the way the game ends – you’re always going to be frustrated and annoyed.
“We didn’t play as well as we’d like today. For the first 38 minutes we were really good – just without that little bit of a cutting edge at the top end of the pitch.
“It was a little bit similar to some of the home games recently where we’ve had a really good opening spell but haven’t scored the goal and created the clear cut chances that some of the play has deserved. And that’s been a tiny bit of frustration. What that does is put a bit of pressure on you for the rest of the game.
“I knew it would be a difficult game – so much expectation and the form we’re on, you know it can be a banana skin.
“We had a tough week in terms of injuries and illnesses which threw a bit of our preparations but nevertheless in the first 38 minutes we have enough control to go and score.
“We concede a really poor goal. We lose possession and we don’t respond quickly enough, which is something we’ve been doing really well recently. Two bits of bright forward play by them and they get past our two centre-halves a little too easily and they score a good goal.
“At that point you’ve got to accept we’ve been done on a bit of a suckerpunch. We really lost our shape for seven for about seven of eight minutes at the end of the first half and could’ve conceded another.
“You could see in the second half we huffed and puffed a little bit.
“We scored a really brave goal, by Aiden. It’s the second time he has come to the rescue in recent weeks. That goal should be the goal that takes us a point. We’re probably disappointed with a point but you half accept it.
“It’s only a little bit of naivety and not quite doing the right job in the right area – that’s something I spoke to Jed about afterwards. When you’re 1-1, with one minute to go, when you get the ball wide you have to make a good decision. It’s as simple as that. He’s made a poor decision in a poor area.
“They still have a bit to do – it’s a really good header when it comes into the box, he’s moving backwards. But it shouldn’t come from that.
“Sometimes you have to accept these moments and learn from them. We’re not going to be pleased with every single performance and result. If I’d been talking about a draw then I’d be saying it was a bit gritty, not the most fluid – but it’s a point. But instead I’m talking about a defeat.”
Millwall lost Alex Pearce and Murray Wallace to illness.
And Rowett admitted post-match that he was planning to play the 5-2-3 formation which has served them so well on the road. Instead he switched to a 4-2-3-1 formation.
“The scenario is we would have played three at the back,” he said. “I felt it would have worked for us today against Barnsley’s formation.
“I picked the team. Pearcey was ill Wednesday and so we’d put Muzza inside and Fergie to left wing-back. A day later and Muzza is ill as well.
“It’s just one of those weeks with Thommo’s [Ben Thompson] injury as well. We’ve got to take it on the chin. It didn’t cost us a chance to win the game today, it didn’t make us lose the game. It was our decision-making which did that.”
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