Millwall 2-1 Hull City: Lions keep roaring in play-off push
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 18: Tom Bradshaw of Millwall celebrates scoring their side's second goal with teammates during the Sky Bet Championship match between Millwall and Hull City at The Den on April 18, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Millwall went level on points with the play-off places with a crucial victory over Hull City at the Den.

Goals from Scott Malone and Tom Bradshaw were enough to see the Lions over the line, despite a late surge from the visitors following Tom Eaves’ goal.

Pre-match

Millwall boss Gary Rowett made three changes to his side from the Good Friday draw at Preston. Star man Jed Wallace missed out with a groin injury, while Maikel Kieftenbeld and Oliver Burke also dropped out. The trio were replaced by Tyler Burey, George Saville and Bradshaw.

Shota Arveladze also made three changes to his Hull City side. Nathan Baxter replaced Matt Ingram in goal for his first appearance since January, while Callum Elder and Ryan Longman also came in for Brandon Fleming and Lewie Coyle.

Story of the match

The hosts began strongly but it was Hull City who had the first clear-cut chance of the game on 10 minutes. Longman found Alfie Jones in plenty of space in the box, but his strike was denied low, albeit unconvincingly, by Bartosz Bialkowski.

Seven minutes later, Millwall had a glorious chance. Tigers’ defender Elder sold Baxter well short with a headed backpass with Burey beating the goalkeeper to the loose ball. But, with the net gaping, Elder recovered well to head clear before the Millwall forward could tap home.

Benik Afobe was soon judged offside from Billy Mitchell’s through ball after the 21-year-old had done well to find some space in midfield.

Malone was needed to block away an effort from City’s George Honeyman after Regan Slater had raced away through the centre of the Millwall half.

Malone, who had been everywhere for the Lions down the left-hand side, was looking dangerous going forwards too. His low strike was excellently pushed wide by Baxter in the Hull City net. The resulting corner was then held from Daniel Ballard’s header as the two sides went into the break goalless.

Millwall made a very quick start to the second half and had a big chance almost instantly. The ball dropped to Afobe ten yards from goal, whose bouncing effort into the ground was tipped over by Baxter.

The Tigers’ then had a golden chance to go in front. Highly rated Keane Lewis-Potter, who had Premier League scouts in attendance to watch, connected with a corner but rolled agonisingly onto the post. A follow-up effort was then denied superbly at point-blank range by Bialkowski.

Within a minute, the Lions took the lead and it came with a stroke of luck. Malone’s touch outside the box was heavy and allowed Hull City captain Richie Smallwood to clear, but only against the shins of Malone and the ball bounced into the bottom corner for his third goal of the season.

A frantic few minutes continued as Millwall quickly got their second. Afobe won a header high up the pitch to send Bradshaw away, with the Welshman making no mistake in the finish to double the hosts’ lead.

First goalscorer Malone soon went down with cramp and was replaced by Shaun Hutchinson, making his first appearance for eight weeks after a calf injury.

Millwall continued to threaten the Tigers’ backline, with Afobe getting the better of Jacob Greaves before his strike rippled the side-netting.

On 78 minutes, Danny McNamara’s low cross travelled all the way for Murray Wallace. His strike was saved with Burey’s follow-up looping onto the crossbar and over.

Baxter again kept the Tigers’ deficit at just two when substitute Oliver Burke’s deflected strike was tipped wide for a corner, which was kept out again by the shot-stopper following Jake Cooper’s header.

Hull City pulled a goal back with three minutes remaining. Lewis-Potter’s drive found its way to Eaves at the back post, who smashed home for his fifth goal of the season and first away from the MKM Stadium.

Millwall saw out five minutes of stoppage time to earn a crucial victory in their late Championship play-off push and end the Tigers’ run of six unbeaten on the road.

The Lions will travel to Birmingham on Saturday while Hull City, assured of their Championship status, will host Reading.

Match information

Millwall (3-4-3): Bialkowski; M. Wallace, Cooper (c), Ballard; Malone (Hutchinson 63), Saville, Mitchell, McNamara; Afobe (Leonard 89), Bradshaw, Burey (Burke 79). Subs: Long; Kieftenbeld, Ojo, Evans.

Booked: Ballard, Bialkowski.

Hull City (3-4-2-1): Baxter; Greaves, McLoughlin, Jones; Elder (Coyle 86), Smallwood (c), Slater (Eaves 71), Longman; Lewis-Potter, Honeyman; Sayyadmanesh (Forss 71). Subs: Ingram, Docherty, Huddlestone, Bernard.

Referee: Dean Whitestone (Northamptonshire).

VAVEL Logo