Thursday, February 22, 2024

Four takeaways from Millwall’s 1-0 win at Reading – Voglsammer a penalty king as win starts a big week in perfect fashion

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Millwall won 1-0 at Reading yesterday. Here are Richard Cawley’s takeaways from the Championship match.

GIFT OF THE NAB

Anyone who watched Naby Sarr play for Charlton Athletic knows that the French centre-back does have a mistake in him, particularly as a ball-playing defender.

It was his pass forward which was intercepted by Zian Flemming, the Lions number 10 played a one-two with Tom Bradshaw and then showed excellent strength to hold off Nesta Guinness-Walker’s attempts to stop his surge forward before he was brought down by Joe Lumley.

Replays showed that the Reading keeper’s foul was right on the edge of the box. Referee Michael Salisbury pointed to the spot with Andreas Voglsammer emphatically doing the business.

Both teams struggled to create chances all afternoon but Millwall were absolutely ruthless when Sarr made a misjudgement. There was still plenty to do at the point that Sarr turned over possession – Flemming has the quality to make his error pay.

GERMAN EFFICIENCY

When Salisbury awarded Millwall a penalty then your immediate thought was that either Flemming or Tom Bradshaw, February’s Championship Player of the Month, would be stepping up to take it.

But instead if was Voglsammer who took on the responsibility. And it doesn’t look like that role will shift anywhere else provided the former Union Berlin attacker is on the pitch.

Lumley guessed the right way but Voglsammer whipped his effort into the roof of the net for his second goal of the campaign.

Millwall’s only other penalty this season was missed by Benik Afobe at Bristol City.

“It’s a brilliant, brilliant finish,” said Rowett of Voglsammer’s conversion. “He said: ‘I’m German, what do you expect? Of course I’m going to score’.”

LEAGUE HISTORY MAKERS

Millwall made it three successive league wins at Reading for the first time in their history.

None of these little stats matter one bit to Rowett or his players. What is far more important is that it sets the Lions up really nicely for the home matches against Swansea City and Huddersfield Town on Tuesday and Saturday respectively.

Seven points from nine would probably be a return that most people would accept and you would imagine that would be enough to definitely be in the top six heading into the international break.

Not only is that a time when most of the squad can recharge but the likes of Billy Mitchell and Mason Bennett – sidelined with ankle injuries – will not be far off coming back into first-team contention after that.

Reading have a miserable record against London clubs. They have drawn three and lost six of their last nine since beating QPR in December 2019.

Millwall stopper George Long did not have a save to make in the 93 minutes played in Berkshire as they restricted the hosts – with the quality of Andy Carroll, Shane Long and Tom Ince in their ranks – to very little.

Carroll and Long both tried their best to win penalties and free-kicks. The former grabbed Danny McNamara inside the Millwall box fairly early on and hauled both of them over. Luckily Salisbury did not fall for it.

Charlie Cresswell’s battle with Carroll was one of the most compelling parts of the match. The former West Ham United targetman, who got plenty of stick from the packed out away end, looked lucky to escape punishment for leading with his arm on the young Leeds United loanee. But Cresswell definitely gave some physicality back to Carroll in another learning afternoon that will only aide his development.

ON COURSE

Millwall are five places higher than after 36 matches last season but interestingly are only three points better off.

The Lions’ record at this juncture of the 2021-22 campaign was won 14, drew 12 and lost 10. This time it is won 16, drawn nine and lost 11.

They have scored 46 goals in the current season, nine more than the corresponding stage of the last one.

Millwall could drop back out of the play-off zone if Norwich beat Sunderland in today’s midday kick off but they feel far more of an established contender this time around.

 


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