Bonne Double Leads The O’s Closer To Safety

Leyton Orient comfortably beat Woking by three goals to nil to record their first win at home since Boxing Day at Brisbane Road in the National League. 

Two goals from Macauley Bonne in the 10th and 17th minute put the game beyond Woking early on and James Brophy scored with ten minutes left on the clock to seal a cosy win that helps the O’s in their quest for National League Football next season.

An attendance of 5,673 saw Leyton win their first game of the year at home and put Woking into a dangerous position themselves. This was the tonic Justin Edinburgh needed from his O’s warriors as they had all but won it early on.

Following this heavy defeat Woking who are known as the Cards folded badly and they have been dragged into a battle to stay in the National League, four points above the drop zone. Barrow below them also have two games in hand.

The home team were on the back foot from the off as Woking started brightly, with Jason Banton hitting the crossbar from long range. However as early as the 10th minute Orient took the lead when Macaulay Bonne capitalised on a poor mistake at the back by Joey Jones and had an initial shot saved by Nathan Baxter, but Orient’s top scorer for the season made no mistake with the rebound.

The visitors looked for a response through Charlie Carter’s whose effort was saved by Brill in the Orient goal. The hosts doubled their lead from the penalty spot through Bonne again after Jones had brought down James Brophy. Bonne was a happy man taking his tally for the season to eighteen goals and in with a shout for the National League Golden Boot. So the O’s were 2-0 up and only 17 minutes of the game had gone! A cracking start for the O’s and a dash of reality for the Surrey side.

The home side played the ball around for the rest of the first half with some neat touches as Woking struggled to get back into the match.

Woking made a double change at the break, with Jones going off for Jordan Wynter, and Anthony Cook replacing the ineffective Fabio Saraiva. When Woking had made their final change it got even worse for the visiting team who had bought 479 fans to Brisbane Road. Charlton Athletic loanee Regan Charles-Cook being taken off on a stretcher with all three subs having been used.

Woking looked to just keep the disadvantage to a minimum and defended in numbers which was a shame as the visitors looked a bit better in the opening 20 minutes or so of the second period but couldn’t get a goal back. Woking are now winless on the road in 12 games and despite a lengthy stoppage for Charles-Cook were forced to play the final 20 minutes with 10 men.

Leyton Orient made the numerical advantage count as they wrapped the game up 10 minutes from time, with James Brophy firing the ball into the bottom corner with a sublime effort from 25 yards.

This was a better day for Orient who moved up the table to 14th place. These are worrying times for Woking who remain in 18th position and next weekend they will face promotion hopefuls Macclesfield Town.

Torquay and Guiseley both in the bottom three had their game called off due to a waterlogged pitch as Chester’s 3-2 defeat at high flying Sutton leaves them 9 points adrift of safety. The only team with a realistic chance of saving themselves from the drop is Solihull Moors who picked up a point in a 0-0 draw with Halifax Town.

Orient are on 47 points but it is getting congested above Solihull Moors in 20th position (the last relegation spot). The Midland club are now on 40 points so the gap is only 7 points to the O’s however there are six teams between the London team and the Birmingham team. A far better result but the O’s aren’t out of the woods yet.

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England v Italy: After a competitive match against Holland, England return to Wembley and face another tough match up against an experienced Italian team. Can they deliver a victory in front of an expectant crowd as players look to impress Manager Southgate and book their seat on the plane to Russia. £20 on England be winning at half time and full time returns £54.

Germany v Brazil : There is a top friendly match up in store in Germany as Brazil will look to avenge their defeat in WC semi-final of 2014 and boost their chances of landing the World Cup this year. With Gabriel Jesus, Coutinho and Firmino up against Sane, Muller and Ozil, expect goals in this one. £20 on Germany to win 2-1 returns £148.

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Holland v England: Jack Wilshere has been recalled to the England squad and with Harry Kane out injured England will be looking to Marcus Rashford & Jamie Vardy to lead the line in the friendly v Holland to stake a claim to be in the first XI for World Cup. £20 on England be winning at half time and full time returns £66.

Germany v Spain: The two past winners of World Cup face each other in a friendly and this hotly contested friendly could well the same match up come this July in the World Cup 2018 Final. With Ozil, Muller and Sane coming up against Iniesta, Silva & Costa this has the making of a top match. £20 on Germany to win 2-1 returns £148

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O’s Pick Up A Point At Eastleigh

Leyton Orient drew following a goalless game against Eastleigh in what was frankly a dour affair in Hampshire.

Despite a 0-0 draw both teams will probably be happy to pick up a point and further cement their mid table positions in the National League. Make no mistake this was a drab match devoid of any soul and with very little to entertain the frozen fans of both teams but the O’s will take anything they can get at the moment with their perilous home form a major concern for the O’s fans.

The east London club fall a place to 17th whilst Eastleigh remain in 14th spot. The distance between Leyton Orient and Solihull Moors in the last relegation place in 21st remains at 8 points following Solihull Moors 1-1 draw with fellow relegation contenders Torquay up in the Midlands. This was a result that did little for either team particularly as Barrow moved up a spot to 19th with a surprise away win at Maidenhead Town over in Berkshire.

A crowd of 2,030 braved the Arctic conditions and probably wished they’d stayed at home in front of the telly as both teams played out a cautious and ultimately dull stalemate at Eastleigh. You could tell both teams were scared stiff of conceding a goal and were more than pleased to see out this affair.

For the home team, they played out their second successive goalless draw at the Silverlake Stadium as the Spitfires, playing their first match in three weeks thanks to the weather, brought back Mark Yeates and ex-Orient striker Paul McCallum into their starting line-up.

Since Eastleigh had last played in another dull 0-0 home draw with Halifax, the O’s had squeezed in four games in the National League and FA Trophy but, like Eastleigh, they had gone five games without a win.

The game started scrappily and the first meaningful shot on goal did not arrive until the 18th minute when Yeates for the home side bustled down the left but fired wide of the near post. Orient responded with the game’s first corner and but Eastleigh had plenty of bodies back to block out Dan Holman’s strike.

Yeates wasn’t far away with a low, drilled effort after an Eastleigh break down the left as the home side tried to add impetus to the game. It was to no avail though as the drudgery of the match seemed to focus in the middle of the park with both teams playing like nervous school boys on their first date.

There was a hint of promise for Eastleigh when Gavin Hoyte advanced down the right and crossed towards McCallum, but the strikers header was easily gathered by Brill and Orient themselves came close to scoring on 36 minutes after Reda Johnson had been booked for handball outside the area.

O’s skipper Jobi McAnuff stepped up to take it from inside the ‘D’ and expertly curled it towards to top corner only for the ball to clip the underside of the bar. It was to be the only real moment of magic in a dismal first half.

Eastleigh started the second half with intent and twice went close in the opening minutes as Williamson’s downward header from Yeates’ left-wing cross wasn’t too far away from creeping inside the near post and then the same duo combined again on the left of the area and Yeates’s delicately weighted shot bent just past the far upright.

Minutes later and Ex Arsenal goalkeeper Graham Stack saved Holman’s goal bound shot after the Os’ man had shot past his man and into a threatening position.

The Os almost snatched a goal in the 77th minute when, following determined work by Josh Koroma, fellow sub Macauley Bonne’s shot ricocheted wide.

Bournemouth loanee Matthews wasn’t far away with an 18 yard shot that flew just over the crossbar for Eastleigh and then Orient had one last chance when Bonne headed wide of the near post from James Brophy’s cross.

Still a point is a point for the O’s and safety is the key element.

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Millwall March On With Another Win

Millwall made it an incredible 6 away wins on the bounce with a 2-0 away victory over Barnsley in Yorkshire to leave them only 4 points off the play off places.

Goals from Lee Gregory and Ben Marshall were enough to send shivers up the spines of the teams above them with another ruthless back to the walls display that keeps Millwall sitting pretty in 10th position in the Championship.

The Lions played exactly the same game plan that they’ve deployed in 2018 on this remarkable run that has seen them move up from a lowly mid table to genuine contenders for a play off spot. Solid at the back, soak up the pressure, let the opposition dig themselves into the ground and use the counter attack to open up opportunities.

The tactics are working a treat for Neil Harris’s team as they once again had less than a third of the possession but still came away comfortable winners and that was despite Barnsley firing in a whopping 19 attempts on the Lions goal.

Barnsley are now in a right old fix as they saw Birmingham win 3-0 at home to Hull City to leave both Barnsley and Birmingham City on 33 points in 21st and 22nd position.

Millwall only had three shots on target but to show how ruthless they have become in the past couple of months they scored with two of those and the result meant Millwall equalled their club record for away wins. No mean feat!

Barnsley also equalled a club record with 11 Oakwell matches without a win after this 2-0 home defeat. The visitors scored in both halves after sloppy passing from the home team who have now won two of their last 24 matches and three of 28 home league games.

Manager Jose Morais made three changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Norwich City on Saturday. Goalkeeper Adam Davies missed the match as his partner was due to give birth, meaning Nick Townsend came back into the side one game after being dropped.

In very snowy conditions, Barnsley began well with plenty of crosses being pumped into the Millwall box, especially from Mamadou Thiam. But it was Millwall who took the lead on 24 minutes when Mallan misplaced a pass in the centre and the Lions counter-attack ended when Jed Wallace slipped through a pass for Lee Gregory to beat Nick Townsend.

George Saville rounded Townsend but then fired over from a tight angle with Barnsley defenders on the line. Pinillos horrendously sliced a clearance which fell perfectly to Steve Morison in the box but the veteran striker shockingly missed the ball five yards out to complete a terrible passage of play all-round. The rest of the half belonged to the Lions as Barnsley looked lacking in confidence.

Barnsley’s best chance came when Liam Lindsay headed a Thiam corner just over the bar while Gary Gardner and Mallan failed to really test Millwall goalkeeper Jordan Archer from long-range.

Barnsley came close with goalkeeper Jordan Archer twice diving low to his left to tip shots around the corner from Lindsay and Kieffer Moore.

But it was Millwall who scored when Marshall brilliantly curled a lovely shot into the top left corner from 25 yards.

Millwall were close again with both Gregory and substitute Fred Onyedinma missing one-on-one opportunities. Oliver McBurnie thought he had pulled one back with a header which was hooked off the line by defender Jake Cooper with the linesman disallowing the goal. Even in stoppage time Barnsley had two more chances which went begging to leave Millwall with the points in the bag.

A delighted Millwall manager Neil Harris:

“Any three points at this level is a good achievement. If you look at Barnsley, they have a distinct style of play – they’ve definitely improved. I thought we found another way to win the game, we dominated early on and then capitalised on a mistake.”

“It was good composure from us to get the goal. I never felt in danger in the first half. We scored at a key time, Ben Marshall’s goal was outstanding. I thought Barnsley threw caution to the wind in the last half an hour and were unlucky not to score.”

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Romain’s Of The Day Crushes Orient

Leyton Orient’s home woes continued as they were beaten by a goal to nil by relegation probables Torquay United at a maudlin Brisbane Road.

An attendance of exactly 2,900 saw the O’s falter once again on home turf as the men from Devon took the long trip home down the M4 motorway with 3 points in the bag and renewed hope in beating the drop from the National League as a 37th minute goal from Elliott Romain was enough to seal victory for the seaside club.

The 2018 home voodoo which has yet to see a National League victory in the Brisbane Road stadium for the O’s puts added pressure on a team that had they won tonight would have almost ensured staying in the National League for next season.

Instead Leyton Orient will have to keep looking over their shoulder as Solihull Moors picked up a valuable away point in a 2-2 draw away at Gateshead up in the north east. Meanwhile Halifax Town’s who started the day below the O’s picked up a 2-1 home win over Dagenham & Redbridge which sees the east London side (Orient not Dagenham) drop a place to 16th as the Yorkshire team move up the table.

For Torquay this success over the O’s was a vital win for the South West club as it means they are only now 6 points away from safety and this win should give them an injection of hope as we head towards the Easter program in a couple of weeks time.

Manager Gary Owers’ frustration with Torquay United’s failure to help their own National League relegation cause in recent weeks had been softened by the fact that most of their rivals keep losing too. The Gulls took their increasingly desperate fight to Leyton Orient  having lost no further ground on a safety place. This was despite suffering three successive defeats so to wrap up 3 points away from home against an Orient team that will be kicking themselves with this result was a major surprise for the visitors.

The home team started brightly enough as Orient had the first major chance of the game as early as the fifth minute as George Elokobi rose to meet a free kick but his header was comfortably saved by Vincent Dorel.

Brett Williams and Romain were looking the biggest threat for the visitors and Orient were given a scare when the latter hit the post but the flag was up for offside.

However, It was the same attacking duo who combined to put United ahead, Williams doing well to lose his man in the box and crossing for Romain to head home.

Down by the single goal at half time the home side came out for the second period firing on all cylinders and Elokobi came close to an equaliser soon after the break when he rose to meet Lamar Reynolds’ corner but his effort was saved by Dorel between the sticks for Torquay United.

Orient Substitute Matt Harrold headed wide for the O’s as they applied some pressure in the second half but somehow Orient could not find the back of the opposition net to see their jinx continue as they failed to win once more on home soil.

As the seconds ticked down it looked as though David Mooney would score for the O’s, however his effort hit the post in stoppage-time and moments later referee Alan Dale blew his whistle for the conclusion of a rare win for the Devon side home or away and another home game for the O’s where they failed to win at Brisbane Road.

There were yellow cards for Adams for the home team while the referee also found time to ensure both Sokolik and scorer Romain both picked up bookings for the opposition.

It was certainly a deflating night for the home fans and Justin Edinburgh and his side will know they will need more than their wits about them on Saturday when they play Eastleigh.

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It’s the turn of Man Utd and Chelsea in Champions League

Man Utd v Sevilla: After David De Gea came to Man Utd’s rescue once again in the first leg, can the attacking players Lukaku, Pogba and Rashford settle home nerves and score the goals to secure a win?

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Barcelona v Chelsea: Barcelona sit top of La Liga and with Messi in top form having net the equaliser in the first leg and the winner in the League match v Atletico Madrid, he will be looking to score again and compound the misery on Conte. £20 on Barcelona to win and over 3.5 goals returns £61.

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Millwall Take Points With 1st Minute Goal

Millwall secured another victory by a goal to nil thanks to a 1st minute goal by George Saville as they overcame local rivals Brentford at the New Den.

Just in case you were reading this article thinking it is the match report from last week, it’s not. Incredibly George Saville has now scored in the first minute of a match two games running and I can’t remember the last time that happened by any player in any league.

As is so often the case this season Neil Harris’s men set out their stall and shut up shop to pick up the points and see them just 6 points behind both Middlesbrough and Derby County both in the play off places.

Millwall utilised the same tactics, defend from the back, let the opposing team run themselves into the ground until they run out out of steam and deploy the counter attack. Get the ball up to Lee Gregory and take it from there. It’s basically suffocating the opposition and the Lions have turned this into an art form so far in 2018.

It may not be pretty but boy does it work and if it gives the Lions a sniff of the Play offs then all the better for that. Shockingly Millwall had less than a third of the possession at home against a Brentford side in good form and a place above them in the league. Or rather so they were at the beginning of the day although by 5 o’clock the positions were reversed.

In a breathtaking first few minutes of end to end stuff Millwall took the lead when George Saville slid the ball under Bees goalkeeper Daniel Bentley to put the hosts ahead after Lee Gregory had closed down Andreas Bjelland.

Alarm bells could have sounded for Brentford but the fellow south London team came fighting back and Yoann Barbet thought he had equalised soon after from a corner, but his effort was ruled offside to the dismay of the travelling supporters who could have walked from one stadium to the other so close are the teams.

For once it was Millwall’s opponents who were more tenacious in the tackle but the Lions were resilient enough to hold back the opposition time and time again.

The away team pressed hard and Sergi Canos’ saw his shot hit the post and then John Egan headed against the bar as the Bees looked for an equaliser but lady luck was nowhere to be seen at the New Den as a crowd of 13,251 saw the proceedings unravel.

It was an open game with a massive 27 efforts on either goal as both teams applied different approaches to the match.

This was Millwall’s 5th win in the last 6 matches and they are currently on fire. Unbeaten now in 10 matches they are the in form team in the Championship at the moment and all eyes will be on the next 3 games, 7 points from those will put them right in the mix for the play offs.

 

A delighted Millwall manager Neil Harris:

“The best side won the game 1-0, the best side always wins the game – that’s the result. Millwall going like a steam train really pleases me. Six points off the play-offs with nine games to go. The players, and fans, have earned the right to dream.

“You make your own luck in this game, in any walk of life, but in football particularly. Today we did ride it a bit, but we worked hard, the shape was good.”

A narky Brentford boss Dean Smith retorted:

“The better team got beat today. There are such small margins in football at times. I can’t question the lads’ performances today, I thought we were very good, especially in the second half.

“We’ve won most of the games we control. Today we didn’t because a player gets injured and because of a linesman’s flag. That’s the only reason we haven’t won today.”

Any Millwall fans missing the first minute of the match two games running won’t be kicking footballs, they’ll be kicking themselves thanks to George Saville’s early antics.

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Draw For O’s Against Ebbsfleet

A Kenny Clark own goal was enough to give Leyton Orient a share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw at home to Ebbsfleet United on Saturday.

Although Leyton Orient haven’t won at home at all in 2018 you could look at this home draw as a point won rather than 2 points lost.

Firstly they were up against a determined Ebbsfleet United team chasing the play off positions in 9th position and playing some scintillating football this season. Secondly they gained a place in the National League table overtaking Woking who stumbled to a 3-1 home defeat to Halifax Town. Thirdly they opened up a 9 point cushion over the last highest placed team in the relegation zone namely Solihull Moors who went down to a single goal to Sutton United. Solihull Moors have 34 points and below them Chester City are beginning to come out adrift as they are on 40 points while 23rd placed Torquay on 27 points and last placed Guiseley might as well give up the ghost now on 25 points. Orient are on 43 points.

All this is good news for the O’s and while Solihull Moors do have a game in hand over the O’s there are a couple of teams also struggling in 19th and 20th in Hartlepool and Barrow. Macclesfield beat Barrow 3-1 while Hartlepool scraped a 0-0 draw t home to 5th placed Boreham Wood.

Leyton orient aren’t safe yet but are sitting a little more comfortably in 15th place as 4,127 flocked in to Brisbane Road to see if Orient could beat the 2018 home hoodoo.

James Brophy was in fine form all day and he looked the difference between the two side in the opening few minutes as Orient attacked with gusto so it was a bit of a backdown to earth feeling as Corey Whitely fired past Dean Brill to give Ebbsfleet the lead as early as the 15th minute.

The O’s regrouped well against this setback and it was on the cards when they levelled the match as James Brophy latched on to an excellent Sam Ling pass before drilling the ball in off Kenny Clark. The teams went into the break at a goal apiece.

Justin Edinburgh’s men took the bull by the horns after half time and deserved to extend their lead but were thwarted by some egged Ebbsfleet defending and some unlucky breaks as Josh Koroma, who had gone close early on, fizzed a free-kick just inches wide before the hour mark.

Brophy continued to be a real threat to the visiting defence, but he could not make any further impact. The O’s sent on David Mooney after 63 minutes and Reynolds with a quarter of an hour left but it was all to no avail and the draw slightly dents Ebbsfleets playoff ambitions.

Elsewhere there were goals galore as the shock and drama of the day unfolded at 8th placed Fylde who stunned 3rd placed Aldershot Town with a 7-1 thrashing. Strangely it wasn’t the only 7-1 scoreline of the day in the National League as Gateshead stuffed Maidenhead Town in the north-east to climb above them in the league to 12th with a 12 goal swing in the goal difference department to boot.

Meanwhile Tranmere Rovers were in good form away at Dagenham And Redbridge coming home to the north with 3 points and a 4-0 scoreline.

For the O’s the 1-1 draw is one tiny step closer to safety for Justin Edinburgh and his Brisbane Road crew in a match they could easily have won. Leyton Orient’s frustrations continue on home turf without that home win since December and yet, although Orient fans won’t be counting their chickens just yet as we head towards Easter it appears fairly safe to say that the O’s will be playing National League football next season.

Then it might appear to Justin Edinburgh that the summer might be the perfect time to shuffle the pack with his squad.

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Rivalries collide as Man Utd face Liverpool

Man Utd v Liverpool: Second faces third in the Premier League Saturday lunchtime as Pogba and Lukaku face Salah and Firmino. After beating Chelsea last week, Man Utd are looking for back-to-back wins over top four rivals. While Liverpool are on fire with Salah scoring for fun.

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Gateshead End Orient’s FA Trophy Dreams

Leyton Orient lost 3-2 to Gateshead away in the North East in another fascinating game involving the two sides in the FA Trophy on Tuesday night in a corker of a game.

This quarter final replay went ahead despite there being plenty of water on the pitch from the overnight rain but blaming the weather conditions is no excuse for the O’s as they drop out of the FA Trophy in the quarter finals at their very first attempt.

Gateshead came back from three down at Leyton Orient to force a replay and the O’s came back from two down in the rematch. It was edge of the seat stuff but Richard Peniket had the final say with an 80th-minute winner to break the hearts of the travelling away fans up for the day from London.

A Danny Johnson’s double had set the boys from the North East on their way but Orient recovered well. A 90th minute goal from Peniket snatched a replay for The Heeds at Brisbane Road in the original tie and he was around to slap Orient in the face once more after the East Londoners had fought so hard to get back into the game after going 2-0 down. Goals from James Brophy and an equaliser from David Mooney appeared to have turned the tie on it’s head as the East London team looked to take the initiative. A victory would have taken the O’s just one game away from a date with Wembley. However Peniket had other ideas and Gateshead will now play either Bromley or local rivals Spennymoor Town in a two-leg semi-final.

For the Gateshead manager it couldn’t have started better. Steve Watson’s men got off to a dream start, and it was Johnson’s sharpness that opened up an early two goal lead.

There were just 95 seconds on the clock when the striker got in front of O’s defender Josh Coulson to sweep home Wes York’s low cross. Scott Barrow’s driven effort from near the goal line was then deflected onto the outside of the post as Orient began to look all at sea.

Orient were struggling to match their counterparts in all areas as Neill Byrne put a close range header from Barrow’s free kick wide as a rampant Heed poured forward at every opportunity.

It got worse for the O’s when they were delivered a knock out punch. A second goal just 16 minutes into the match. Johnson was confident and lively, picking Dan Happe’s pocket inside the box and inducing a foul and a penalty it was. Johnson sent O’s keeper Dean Brill the wrong way from the spot. Gateshead could have had a second penalty six minutes later as Joe Widdowson went into the back of York but the referee waved play on.

Orient had to find a way back as they went in at half time 2-0 down and after 52 minutes it was the visitors who were back in it.

A loose ball broke to to James Brophy and the midfielder shot into the far corner. Another 25 yard effort from Brophy was then saved by James Montgomery, with Johnson inches away from his hat trick at the other end as the game opened up and Orient were level on 70 minutes.

Fraser Kerr gave away a free-kick that saw Brophy pick out the unmarked David Mooney, who headed home from close in. 2-2 and the away fans were hysterical.

However Barrow rescued a lost cause and the Heed’s Wembley dream was back alive. The defender’s pull back saw substitute Jordan Burrow’s side-footed shot parried into the path of Peniket, whose goal was enough to put the Tynesiders into the last four of the FA Trophy for only the second time.

For the O’s it was a decent first run in the FA Trophy but the mindset must now be to focus entirely on the National League and ensure safety away from the relegation area.

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Precious Away Victory For Millwall

Two first half goals from Millwall saw them end up as victors as they beat Hull City by two goals to one on Humberside.

The win keeps the Lions still in with a chance of the Play Offs and on this fantastic ten match unbeaten run they are poised to give the contenders above them a real run for their money in obtaining that last crucial play off place.

A first minute goal from George Saville and a second from Jake Cooper just after the half hour mark was enough to see them home despite Abel Hernandez in his first start since August after being out with injury clawing one back for the home team.

For Hull City it wasn’t to be enough as Millwall held out for the last ten minutes to record their 5th consecutive away win. In my piece back in December I wrote that the Lions had had a dismal run of away form in the Championship this season and they needed to start winning on their travels and it was only their home form that was keeping out of the relegation area. Suffice to sat they heeded my words but even the most optimistic of fans would find five straight away wins hard to swallow.

It seems that as Neil Harris’s Millwall men march on, that their game plan to allow other teams to come at them is paying huge dividends. Once more they allowed Hull more of the ball as the home team enjoyed huge chunks of possession. The Tigers had 65% of the possession to Millwall’s 35%  but could still only muster 3 shots on target the whole game as opposed to Millwall’s 5 shots on target.

The Lions looked incredibly well disciplined and lying in 11th position are only 6 points off the all important 6th place with still ten games of the season to play. It’s unlikely but they could still do it and they put Saturday’s poor result against bottom club Sunderland to bed as they stopped Hull in their tracks time and time again.

The Lions had real bite and menace from the kick off and it was George Saville’s goal inside the opening minute that sent Millwall on their way to victory to keep the Lions in touch with dreamland. The unmarked midfielder met Lee Gregory’s back heel to prod home from close range to score his eighth goal of the season as the home team were shaken to their foundations with such an unexpected twist of a start.

Hull City were slow in getting off the ground but grew in confidence the longer the first half went on and were left to rue chances, the best of which fell to Jackson Irvine, who sent a header narrowly wide with Jordan Archer beaten in the Millwall goal.

The Tigers were all over the Lions but couldn’t find a way through thanks to some stout defending and holding midfield play.

Slightly against the run of play Jake Cooper doubled the visitors’ lead with his head, meeting a corner at the back post to send a looping header into the Hull City net. The travelling Millwall fans went loopy and their team went in for half time cocoa with a 2-0 cushion over the Humbersiders.

Hull to give them credit came out for the second half with plenty of intent and purpose. Abel Hernandez was running the show for the home team and you can see why they have missed him as they have slid down the table the last couple of months. The Uruguayan was making his long-awaited comeback, having been missing since August with an Achilles tendon tear, and his fourth goal of the season gave Hull hope of extending their unbeaten run to three matches when he was first to the ball and poked in for Hull 10 minutes before the end.

Despite late pressure where Hull threw everything except the North Sea at the visitors it was not to be for the Tigers and Nigel Adkins’ side remain in danger. Hernandez could be their saviour however.

For Millwall fans – dream!

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