Two wins on the bounce

Last updated : 22 September 2003 By Neil Andrews
Neil Harris
Having seen their promotion hopes dented by consecutive defeats away to Gillingham and Watford, Millwall have bounced back in style to climb back into the play-off positions.

Of course, it is way to early to start talking about promotion - McGhee take note - but after the dour performances of the past few weeks, thinks are finally looking up for The Lions.

Millwall looked out of sorts on Tuesday evening against Wimbledon but still came away with the victory they so desperately needed but on Saturday the team finally clicked and showed the home supporters what they are capable of.

This new found optimism may be misplaced and will be tested next week with away games against West Ham United and West Bromwich Albion, but its been a while since The Lions dominated the game the way they did in the second half on Saturday.

Neil Harris struck the winner on 79 minutes with a re-taken penalty as The Lions battled back to secure a second successive win at the expense of Walsall.

The striker's composed finish capped an excellent individual display as Mark McGhee's men bossed long spells of the match and peppered the visiting goal with a barrage of shots that were either inches off target, blocked by last-ditch defending or smacked the woodwork.

It was a marked difference from the first half as both sides struggled to get into the game - thanks largely to ref Phil Prosser's constant whistle blowing - but it was The Saddlers that took the lead with a well taken penalty by Steve Corica after Tony Warner was adjudged to have brought down Deon "Flying" Burton.

Darren Ward equalised for The Lions from a Dennis Wise freekick before Neil Harris took over to run the show from the front. A combination of the woodwork, unlucky deflections and superb goalkeeping from James Walker stopped Harris opening his account before Millwall were awarded a penalty after Paul Ifill was fouled in the box.

Walsall, missing captain Paul Merson, never really tested Tony Warner in The Lions goal and Mark McGhee's men can expect a much tougher test over the next eight days. Win both, and Millwall will be on course for promotion. Lose both and the doom and gloom merchants will have us favourites for relegation.

There's simply no middle ground supporting The Lions!

Millwall Mad Ratings:
Tony Warner 6 - Unlucky with the penalty but not really troubled.
Kevin Muscat 7 - Looked solid at left and right back
Robbie Ryan 6 - Poor performance from the out-of-sorts defender
Tim Cahill 7 - Another good performance
Stuart Nethercott 6 - Solid yet still a bit dour
Darren Ward 7 - Scored the equaliser and still our best centre half
Dennis Wise 7 - Midfield dynamo
David Livermore 7 - Came on strong in the second half
Bob Peeters 6 - Never got out of third gear
Neil Harris 8 - Superb performance from Bomber
Paul Ifill 7 - Always a threat without being threatening

Noel Whelan 6 - Gave Harris better support than Peeters
Alan Dunne 7 - Encouraging performance from the youngster