Daniel Marsh’s big-match verdict on Millwall 0 Norwich 0 – Lions should be able to build on impressive display against Championship pacesetters


It’s been a case of home horrors rather than home comforts for Millwall this season – but Tuesday night’s showing against Norwich City was definitely one of the better nights for the Lions in SE16 this term.

Gary Rowett’s men have an absolutely rotten record at The Den this season. They’ve not tasted victory in South London since sweeping aside Luton Town back in October.

There are, of course, mitigating factors – and they’ve been well-documented. If there’s any team in England which misses it’s home support in the current circumstances more than Millwall, I’d like to see them.

It’s now just two wins in the last 19, including three draws on the spin. It’s not a great run of form – far from it.

But the overall performance in midweek was much more promising than the final result, even if a point against the team currently top of the pile isn’t to be sniffed at.

This definitely had the feel of a performance which was deserving of all three points. It was definitely better than some of the displays in recent weeks

But at the very least, putting in a performance of this calibre against one of the division’s big hitters should provide a platform for the Lions to build upon as they head into a kinder run of fixtures.

It’s also another clean sheet – a tally which now stands at 10 for the season. It was never really in any doubt either.

The visitors’ dangerman Todd Cantwell was completely snuffed out of the game by the excellent Maikel Kieftenbeld.

The Norwich man could have been forgiven for thinking he was seeing double, as the Lions’ new Dutch destroyer seemed to be everywhere. When Cantwell then attempted to drift further forward, he was bullied off the ball relentlessly by Ryan Leonard. It was a superb defensive display to shackle the Canaries, who were largely restricted to potshots from range.

That shouldn’t be a surprise though. It’s very rare that Millwall are found wanting when it comes to shutting opponents out – it’s at the other end where they struggle.

This was the Lions’ ninth blank so far this season, and it’s their second home game in a row without netting – both times against automatic promotion-chasing opposition. Table-topping Norwich have failed to score against the South Londoners in more than 180 minutes of football.

Millwall have pinned their striking hopes on Kenneth Zohore rediscovering the goalscoring touch he possessed during his stay at Cardiff City, a spell which saw them gain promotion back in the 2017-18 campaign.

Troy Parrott’s goalless stint in SE16 was brought to an end on deadline day, whilst the likes of Tom Bradshaw, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Matt Smith are clearly behind the Danish forward in the pecking order.

He showcased his capabilities in a strong first-half showing. Zohore’s overall game is a different proposition to any of his forward rivals, with Norwich unable to deal with his power and intelligent link-up play.

But he was guilty of missing another golden opportunity after the break – just days after spurning two excellent chances at Cardiff.

Zohore was on the end of a slick passing move as the Lions shifted the ball superbly from right to left, resulting in Scott Malone delivering a teasing cross to the far post – one which Zohore should have buried. He had to adjust in mid-air, but he should have done better.

Whilst there have been times this season where Millwall have wasted gilt-edged chances, it feels like the issue more often than not is a lack of players actually creating enough chances to win games.

But the Lions can’t be accused of failing to create against Norwich – they had the better chances to win the game.

The marauding Malone went close after being played in impressively by Zohore, but his strike lacked the venom required to beat Tim Krul.

He went close again late in the second half, dragging his effort wide after Jed Wallace saw a shot blocked inside the box after more neat approach play from the Lions. Matt Smith also saw a goalbound effort smuggled behind after his late introduction from the bench.

Wallace almost won it with the final kick of the game, after Tim Krul was caught in no-man’s land midway inside his own half, but he scuffed his effort wide.

When the Lions drew 0-0 at Norwich back in November, they followed that up a few days later with an identical result against Sheffield Wednesday. Rowett will be hoping history doesn’t repeat itself.

So often this season, Millwall have flattered to deceive. It feels like every time they’ve turned a corner, the following game is a massive letdown. The Lions really need to start bucking that trend as the season gets deeper so that they don’t end up sleepwalking into a relegation battle – tomorrow’s visit of the Owls provides them with a big opportunity to start doing just that.

Scott Malone. Another strong attacking display from the left wing-back. Unlucky not to grab a goal himself and should have had an assist for Zohore’s miss too.

The slick passing move from right to left which would have been Millwall’s goal of the season had Zohore been able to bury Malone’s cross.

Photos by Brian Tonks

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