Millwall squandered a 2-1 lead to lose 3-2 at Bristol City on Sunday afternoon. The Lions were in control at the break thanks to Tom Bradshaw’s fifth goal in as many games and a Benik Afobe penalty, that was in response to Andreas Weimann’s opener after Bart Biallkowski’s sliced clearance fell straight to him.
Weimann struck twice more in the second half to complete the comeback – and his hat-trick – to ensure Gary Rowett’s side start 2022 with a defeat.
The South Londoners could once again only name 14 senior players and were unable to fill the bench after Mason Bennett pulled out with illness on Saturday.
Here are Alex Grace’s four takeaways from the game.
JEKYLL & HYDE FROM THE LIONS AGAIN
Millwall’s season has been a story of inconsistency. The Lions have not been able to follow up a good performance and good result with another. In fairness there was not a whole lot wrong with the performance at Ashton Gate. We do have to take the Covid issue into account here. It was the second time that the Lions had taken to the pitch in four days with a heavily depleted squad – fifteen-year-old Zak Lovelace was once again on the bench. the Lions boss Rowett said they could have asked the EFL for postponement but they wanted to play.
A full week without a game before next Saturday’s derby against Crystal Palace in the FA Cup will give the squad breathing space to have more available.
RARE BIALKOWSKI MISTAKE PUNISHED
Bart Bialkowksi does not make many mistakes – summed up by the fact he has won the Player of the Season award back to back at Millwall. The mistakes that he tends to make a lot of the time are to do with his feet. Against Wycombe last season he made an error trying to play out with the ball.
He will have been very disappointed with the mistake that led to the opening Bristol City goal. The ball back to him was not the best and his sliced clearance fell right into the path of Weimann, who finished with quality.
Bialkowski made amends with a couple of good saves in the second half as fatigue set in for his team-mates.
BRADSHAW HOT STREAK CONTINUES
Millwall have been crying out in recent seasons for a striker who can score on a regular basis. They have had Tom Bradshaw for so long, but it’s only this season where we are seeing the best of him.
He netted his fifth goal in as many games and his seventh in his last nine appearances. He became the first player since Lee Gregory to score in five consecutive games for Millwal. he has had some really barren runs but he finally looks to have settled and found a home in SE16. The partnership with Benik Afobe is really beginning to flourish.
AFOBE ENDS MINI-DROUGHT
Benik Afobe has lots of quality and has shown it at this level on many occasions. He is very much a confidence player and will thrive on any chances he gets. His movement up the top end of the pitch is key for Millwall. The start of the season was a bit more difficult for him as the system did not suit his strengths. the new system adopted by Rowett allows the on loan Stoke City man to actually play with a bit more confidence when he has someone alongside him.
The partnership with Bradshaw will also fill him with confidence. They know where each other are and they suit each other very well. Bradshaw’s movement and fitness levels allow Millwall to have that press up top.
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