With both sides having picked up three points in midweek against Birmingham and Peterborough respectively, the two teams came into this game full of confidence. This was the first meeting between the Owls and the Lions since the 2005/06 season in which Millwall were relegated. Millwall were unchanged which was probably the right move. We stuck with the same set-up from Tuesday night, a 4-3-3 formation with two attacking full-backs and a solid midfield three.
Despite Millwall being victorious on their last two visits to Hillsborough, I had a bad feeling about this game before kick-off. Sheffield Wednesday have promotion momentum and have began life back in the Championship well, with a win and a draw from their opening two fixtures. Not to mention that Dave Jones is unbeaten in 16 games as manager. With an attendance of around 25,000 spurring the Owls on, let’s just say I wasn’t entirely optimistic about our chances.
Both sides had chances in the opening 15 minutes. James Henry tested Chris Kirkland early on just before Maik Taylor was forced into action in the Millwall goal. A slip by Alan Dunne allowed Jermaine Johnson to tee up Madine, but Taylor was on hand to make the save. Henderson advanced into the penalty area shortly after but an inch-perfect tackle from Llera cleared the danger from Wednesday’s box.
However it Sheffield Wednesday who broke the deadlock inside 20 minutes. Jermaine Johnson took advantage of a mistake from Karleigh Osborne to fire his fierce strike past Taylor from 20-yards. At the other end Osborne had a chance to make ammends for his error but he blasted the ball over the crossbar. The Lions began to press and found an equalising goal on 35 minutes courtesy of James Henry who curled the ball over Kirkland from Andy Keogh’s cutback.
The home side had a five minute spell after that equalising goal as McCabe saw an effort turned away by Taylor. Despite Wednesday’s spell of pressure Millwall broke and scored through Liam Trotter. Henry turnt provider this time as his defence splitting pass fell to Trotter who dinked the ball over Kirkland to turn the scores around in the space of 8 minutes. At this point I thought, hang on, maybe this could be our day. After all, we have got a good record on the road.
It turned out that I was wrong. From the 46th minute I could tell it wasn’t to be going by the number of chances from the home side and the lack of opportunites we created in the second period. Chances from Rodri and substitute O’Grady failed to test Taylor but a goal was coming. Wednesday found their equaliser after 68 minutes following a number of opportunites which they eventually turned into a goalscoring chance. Antonio’s low cross from the right fell to O’Grady but the post kept out his effort, Taylor was then called into action to prevent Wednesday but he couldn’t keep out Llera’s scrambled follow-up.
As the clock began to tick, the rain began to fall making for an incredibly slippery surface. Millwall tried to play for the point and never really tested Kirkland in the second half. Rodri flicked the ball over the bar from a set-piece and Henry saw a scuffed effort go wide as both sides had half-chances. Then came the pivotal moment in the game, Sheffield Wednesday’s 90th minute winner. Llera was the scorer once again, steering the ball home which was almost a copy of his first goal.
Millwall had a few more half-chances in the dying minutes of stoppage time, but Wednesday held on for the three points. Had we attacked Wednesday more in the second half, we could’ve got that third killer goal. Unfortunately we sat back and didn’t defend our lead the way we should’ve. Onto the next one…
Sheffield Wednesday: Kirkland, Buxton, R.Johnson, Beevers, Llera, Semedo, Antonio, J.Johnson, McCabe (Pecnik, 90 mins), Madine (O’Grady, 58 mins), Rodri. Scorers: J.Johnson (20 mins), Llera (68 and 90 mins).
Millwall: M.Taylor, Dunne, Lowry, Osborne, Malone, Wright (Racon, 73 mins), Trotter, Abdou, Henry, Henderson, Keogh. Scorers: Henry (35 mins), Trotter (43 mins).