Millwall 1 Bradford City 1
The Bantams registered a very respectable point at The Den on Saturday afternoon with a determined display against Millwall. Depleted with a number of injuries, Stuart McCall’s men took the lead just before half time through Byron Webster’s own goal after great work down the right hand side by Mark Marshall. Millwall rallied after the break and equalised early on through Joe Martin’s thumping 20 yard drive. City had a chance to win the game deep into injury time but Nicky Law’s shot was tipped onto the post by Jordan Archer.
City looked purposeful early on and had control of the general flow of the game. The first chance was one that saw Archer called into action. James Meredith’s cross was headed out by Tony Craig but only as far as the on-rushing Law who saw a powerful, goal bound header tipped over the bar superbly by the Lions’ stopper.
Steve Morison played a key part in Millwall’s campaign last season alongside Lee Gregory; the latter missing this one through injury. Morison’s first real attempt was an audacious volley from easily 35 yards which had Colin Doyle back-pedalling to make an alert save.
A couple of minutes later, the home side engineered their first real opening of the game. Morison brought the ball forward and picked out Gregg Wylde, who burst into the area and then sent in a low cross squirmed out into the path of Ben Thompson. The midfielder saw a firm, goal bound attempt from twelve yards out blocked importantly by Meredith.
Thompson was involved in another bright attack for Millwall later in the half when bright play from the Millwall man over by left saw him cross into the area. Morison attacked the cross and powered a header down into the six yard box but Vincelot and Timothee Dieng eventually managed to clear the danger.
Just before half time, City took the lead and it was probably a deserved goal after having the better of the first half proceedings. Marshall was having yet another lively display on the right hand side of midfield and after finding a yard on Martin he fizzed a low shot goalwards; Archer intervened in an attempt to tip the ball clear but it hit the helpless Webster and went into the back of the net despite the best efforts of the defender.
Millwall could have been level right at the end of the half but for a fine save from Doyle. David Worrall delivered a cross into the box which was met powerfully by the head of Shaun Williams and Doyle had to be at his best to stretch out and finger-tip the ball onto the roof of his net for a corner kick.
The second half started at a pace and City looked to threaten early on through Marshall, who went fired wide of Archer's near post with an angled drive.
At the other end, Millwall were denied by some resolute defending. Morison’s cross into the middle took a deflection off Nathaniel Knight-Percival and went up into the air. Doyle failed to clear with an attempted punch, allowing Wylde a sight of goal.
The winger struck firmly for goal from deep inside the box but attempt blocked heroically by the returning Stephen Darby.
A couple of minutes later, Millwall did have their leveller though. Williams’ free kick into the box was headed out by Romain Vincelot but Martin gathered the loose ball and moved into a pocket of space before hammering a low shot past Doyle from 20 yards out.
Law had the ball in the net following some good link up play between himself and Jordy Hiwula, but he was denied by the offside flag. Billy Clarke then saw a shot that was always moving away from goal, go a yard or so wide of the target after Law had done brilliantly to run the channels, it was another energetic and industrious display by him in that midfield.
Substitute Fred Onyedinma went close with a downward header that went just wide of the target after he’d connected with Worrall’s cross into the box from the right hand side.
Marshall let the home side off the hook with a wayward shot from the edge of the area, before the hosts were denied by some herculean defending from Darby once again to deny Onyedinma an almost certain goal.
Onyedinma beat Vincelot to Morison's flick on to leave him in with a run on Doyle's goal. Onyedinma's eyes must have lit up as he looked to strike but Darby came round on the cover from his right-back slot to make a well-timed and important block.
As time ticked by, Millwall looked to push for a winner with a direct approach against City's resilient defences. That said, City certainly could have won it in injury time when Law was presented with a sight of goal.
Mahlon Romeo made a mess of a clearance to leave Vincelot unmarked in the box attempting to bring down a high ball. He did just that and found Filipe Morais, who then squared to Law.
The midfielder cut inside onto his stronger right foot but his curling shot for goal tipped onto the inside of the post at full stretch by Archer.