A great.. league win.. at home. Something we’ve not heard in a long while – Wigan at home last season – as Millwall come out as 3-1 winners against Rochdale. Goals from Jimmy Abdou, Shaun Williams and Steve Morison give Neil Harris’s side their first home league win of the season. A superb team performance, with every player earning their money and contributing to the end goal, a win. Rochdale are known for their patience under Keith Hill, passing out from the back and dominating possession, which suited our setup as we were equally patient without the ball. When with the ball we were direct, with Aiden O’Brien involved with all 3 goals, linking midfield and attack superbly. Each of the goals were well taken, each showing the confidence needed and composure to play at The Den chasing that elusive win, the best technically was probably Morison’s goal, looking the player we had in the past, played through on goal and lobbing the keeper to perfection. My man of the match, perhaps a different choice to some, but he lead by example and I’m sure impressed Harris, repaying the faith shown in bringing him back to the club.
The defence should also get a special mention, switching off only once late in the first half, however weathering an early second half storm from Rochdale and getting their heads to the ball when needed to, and Webster a standout, not something you hear everyday. Webster and Beevers both looked comfortable together at the back, perhaps the visitors played to their strengths by having constant deliveries into the box, but they dealt with the constant threat and contributed to the 3 points. Changes could’ve been made, but having elected to keep the same back four I’m sure the manager will feel justified in his decision. Before the game there was a lot of second guessing as to what team Harris will put out, however changes were kept to a minimum with the only player coming in being Shane Ferguson, adding much needed width on the left hand side. Another 4-4-2 lineup however with O’Brien floating around the midfield and up top it never is a structured formation with the players changing around.
Below you can find my ratings for each player involved:
Jordan Archer – 6 – Job done, made a couple of smart saves you’d expect of your number one goalkeeper, long may it continue.
Carlos Edwards – 6 – Calm as ever and a typical performance, one hairy moment in the first half which we survived.
Byron Webster – 7 – Best game in a Millwall shirt? Both Webster and Beevers never in doubt and showing a great partnership in the centre of defence.
Mark Beevers – 7 – Keeping Craig out of his own position, playing well again, perhaps Rochdale had played to our strengths by putting deliveries in the box, but nonetheless both were great.
Tony Craig – 6 – Solid defensively, with Ferguson in front had less to do going forward and did his job in the side.
Fred Onyedinma – 5 – Subbed on the hour after the 3rd decisive goal, perhaps another game where he wasn’t at the races. Being a youngster he will have these spells, and perhaps needs a rest when we travel to Wigan tomorrow.
Shaun Williams – 7 – Successive good performances from the ball playing midfielder with a well taken goal. Looking a different player to what we saw at the start of the season.
Jimmy Abdou – 7 – A typical Jimmy performance, working hard for the team and scoring the first at a crucial time.
Shane Ferguson – 7 – A threat on the left in a further forward position, something which had been missing in the side in recent weeks. Shows the importance of a left footed winger in the side.
Steve Morison – 8 – Man of the match, a constant threat and worked hard for the team. Using experience which we’ve needed from him, and forming a great partnership with O’Brien.
Aiden O’Brien – 8 – Three superb assists from Aiden, being the link between the midfield and attack and a constant provider for Morison, 8 rating might be a little flattering as we can expect more from Aiden, however three assists bumps this rating to an 8.
Ed Upson – 6 – A well timed substitution for Fred in the second, done a job defensively to nullify the threat from the Rochdale left back early in the second half.
John Marquis – 6 – Another good substitution from the manager, doing what John Marquis does and defending from the front, keeping the ball in the final third for the side.
Lee Martin – N/A – Difficult to judge given the lack of time however would be disappointed not to get involved on the score sheet missing a good chance late in the game.
With Wigan to come it will be interesting how many changes will be made given the lack of sharpness we had in a similar situation against Southend last weekend, I personally would consider bringing in the likes of Upson and Marquis, but I will discuss this further with another blog post released tomorrow morning.
What would your ratings be for each player? Let me know with a comment below!