Richard Cawley’s verdict on Millwall’s 1-0 win over Leicester – Neil Harris’ PPG as head coach would collect 71 points in a season

Open internet. Type in four words – Ryan Longman, goal, Leicester. Click on the video links and enjoy – again, again and again.

Millwall’s attempts to pull clear of Championship relegation danger were in need of a shot in the arm after successive losses to lowly Rotherham United and Huddersfield Town – and the Hull City loanee’s moment of quality helped them pull off a monster result on Tuesday.

Longman actually started the move, knocking over Foxes defender Wout Faes before Billy Mitchell collected the loose ball.

Mitchell’s pass down the left channel was perfectly paced for the Lions’ number 11, always a willing runner, to chase on to.

After that came six touches, cutting inside of Leicester midfielder Harry Winks, to bring the ball on to his stronger right foot.

Then came a precision-guided missile which sent the ball flashing past Mads Hermansen, earning extra style points for the way it deliciously kissed down off the crossbar and into the net.

It says everything about Longman’s spectacular finish that it could easily have graced either the Emirates Stadium or Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, both staging Champions League quarter-final ties on the same night.

But this wasn’t a moment of magic from Vinicius Junior, Jude Bellingham, Harry Kane or Bukayo Saka on Europe’s elite stage – this was top quality in the chaos and madness of England’s second tier.

It also speaks volumes for the unpredictability of following Millwall.

Since Neil Harris has returned as head coach they have won at Southampton and also defeated a Leicester side who arrived in SE16 as league leaders after back-to-back victories.

But those same players, who put in a monumental shift to collect a 12th Championship win of the season, had previously came up short against opposition that lacked anywhere near the quality and resources of a Foxes side that had Conor Coady, Marc Albrighton and Kelechi Iheanacho on their bench.

Harris posed pitchside for photos with a couple of young fans after the vast majority of the stadium had emptied. He said: “What a win, that was so Millwall, wasn’t it?”

Asked in the written media press conference what the Lions’ inconsistency is down to, the club’s all-time record goalscorer said:

“It just comes down to mentality.

“What I will say, in defence of the group, is that it is not just this group – it’s been the last 30 years of Millwall Football Club! The fans older than me will probably say longer than that, as well.

“It has been a common theme over years and years at the football club. Why? I don’t know. To be successful you have to eradicate that.

“Fourteen points from nine games is testament to the players. How the points come, I can’t be picky or choosy. When we don’t pick them up it is my job to galvanise the football club again and the fanbase – to keep us going.”

A look at the numbers tells you everything.

Millwall’s Ryan Leonard (left) and Japhet Tanganga (centre) in action against Leicester City’s Stephy Mavididi (right) during the Sky Bet Championship match at The Den, London. Picture date: Tuesday April 9, 2024.

Predecessor Joe Edwards averaged 0.84 points per game. Push that across the full season and that would yield 38 points. Relegation to League One.

Harris is averaging 1.55 and, also working off that number over the course of 46 matches, Millwall would end up on 71 points.

It wouldn’t quite be enough to challenge for the play-off places but the team would not be far off – and it would have removed any stress or anxiety levels in SE16.

You can make an argument that the composition of the Millwall squad was not conducive to the style of football that Edwards wanted to play. The former Chelsea and Everton coach flipped on his philosophies in his desperation for results – but still they didn’t come.

Harris has not had the same issue. Particularly at The Den.

Millwall’s home record was woeful before he returned, and that is being polite.

Harris is unbeaten in the four matches since regaining control with three victories and also a draw against West Brom that could so easily have also heard Status Quo’s Rockin’ All Over The World pounding out over the Den sound system.

The Lions are nearly there. One more win will probably mean it is definitely job done.

Cardiff at home and Sunderland away are next up and neither club has anything to play for but pride.

Yet the way Millwall are hardwired, they could probably do with Ipswich away.

Billy Mitchell. His goal-line clearance late on was as priceless as Longman’s banger of a finish down the other end.

Longman’s goal. A thing of absolute beauty.

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