Millwall Travel to North East in Must Win Game

26 April 2018

Millwall will travel up to the North East on Saturday as they take on Middlesbrough in another huge weekend game in the Championship. With both teams looking for a play off spot they both know this is a must win game for Millwall to keep the south Londoners in with any chance of making the play off semi finals.

Kick off is another strange time as the Lions find themselves in a late Saturday match on TV from 17.30pm UK time (18.30pm CET and Malta time).

Millwall came a cropper at the last weekend when playing on the Friday night match again for TV. They were stuffed with aplomb by a raging Fulham outfit in pristine form in 3rd place looking for one of the two automatic promotion positions. Lions were undone 3-0 by their London neighbours in a derby game that showed just why Fulham are doing so well as of late.

A cynically clinical Fulham ended Millwall’s 17 game unbeaten Championship league run to dent the Lions’ Championship play-off bid. Millwall were the better of the two teams in the first half but couldn’t score that crucial first goal to settle the tense atmosphere of the home fans at the New Den in front a tremendous 17,614 attendance. Jake Cooper’s header was touched on to the bar and George Saville’s effort was disallowed because of an earlier foul.

The second half belonged to Fulham from the off as the Millwall defence fell asleep to allow 17 year old rising star Ryan Sessegnon to notch just after the restart. Trust me this guy is going to be a huge star. A Kevin McDonald’s screamer made it 2-0 ten minutes later and the crowd were visibly shaken as Fulham dominated and it was no surprise when Aleksandar Mitrovic found the top corner late on to bring a dose of reality back to the Lions.

Victory extended the Cottagers’ own unbeaten streak to 22 games, stretching back to 16 December, but this felt like one of their most impressive and important before Fulham’s next game, against relegated Sunderland on Friday, 27 April.

Following Fulham, Saturday’s opponents don’t come any harder for Millwall either as Middlesbrough are sitting in 5th and Millwall who dropped a place over the weekend and dropped out of the play off positions are in 7th. After this game there is only one final game for both teams so each could scupper the others play off hopes with victory in the evening kick off as the table looks like this with just this weekends games and the final matches for all teams next weekend.

5th Middlesbrough       72 pts

6th Derby                     71 pts

7th Millwall                 69 pts

8th Brentford               68 pts

The problem for Millwall is they have a far inferior goal difference to both Middlesbrough and Derby so a win is the only target Millwall can focus on.

Middlesbrough did the Lions a favour on Saturday with a 2-1 away win at Derby as the Rams started brightly but trailed at the break to Muhamed Besic’s strike after 20 minutes.

Britt Assombalonga slotted in a second for the north east team after good work by Adama Traore before David Nugent’s late penalty brought hope of an equaliser, but Derby could not avoid a third successive defeat. Derby overtook Millwall in the table on Tuesday though as they thumped 2nd placed Cardiff 3-1 to bring that particular run to a conclusion.

In the corresponding Millwall v Middlesbrough game at the New Den, Jed Wallace and George Saville scored first-half goals to give Millwall a 2-1 win over Middlesbrough.

Middlesbrough have only drawn 9 of their 44 games this season while Millwall have won 6 of their last 9 so it is probable there will be a positive result either way. Let’s hope Millwall can continue their outstanding 2018 away form. It will prove to be an absorbing if tense match either way.

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