By Richard Cawley at The Den
Saturday’s fixture at Leeds United will be Millwall’s 4,000 Football League fixture – and a chance to secure a 512th away victory.
If you want a statistical breakdown, and you’re going to get one anyway, the Lions have collected 3,328 points at The Den and 1,788 on their travels.
The recent history of games at Elland Road suggests it should be a home banker. Millwall have won just once in that part of Yorkshire since 1988 – Steve Morison and Shaun Batt on target in March 2010 in a 2-0 success. Aside from that, Leeds have emerged victorious in eight of the last 10 matches there and are on a five-game winning streak against the South Londoners, with the rivalry and needle between the two clubs making every meeting spicy.
Then you throw in the 2017-18 record of Neil Harris’ men when they leave South London.
Despite a number of performances that could have merited more, the bottom line is that just six points – and the same amount of goals – have been bagged on the road.
Millwall are the one club in the Championship yet to win away. The only other teams in the Football League to be in that same scenario are Rochdale and Bury, the bottom two clubs in League One.
The Lions don’t deserve that tag. You’d expect with that kind of record they would have been wretched – but they really haven’t.
I wouldn’t describe it as travel sickness, because they are still a handful away from home.
Tom Elliott and George Saville both hit the woodwork at Fulham. QPR had the help of Lee Gregory’s first-half dismissal and trailed 2-0 at one point. At Aston Villa it would not have been harsh if Millwall had nicked it rather than being forced to settle for a 0-0.
The only times that Millwall have lost by more than a goal this season are at Derby – 3-0 – and at home to Barnsley – 3-1. Some statistics can be deceptive but that fairly reflects the tight nature of nearly all of their matches.
Leeds arguably have a score to settle, because they were distinctly second best in the reverse fixture.
United’s big defender Pontus Jansson was one who lost the appetite for the scrap – opting to come off even though all three substitutes had been used by the visitors. And I can still clearly recall Ezgjan Alioski’s penchant for holding onto the ball causing the bleached-blond winger being wiped out by James Meredith like he had been hit my a massive wave on Bondi Beach.
You’ve got to be prepared to roll up your sleeves and compete with Millwall. Preston did that. The Lions had nearly moments in the first 45 minutes of their 2,00th Football League home game but failed to make the most of corner kicks that saw Jake Cooper marked by the significantly shorter Greg Cunningham.
And yet despite that they still led at the interval. Aiden O’Brien grabbed his fifth goal of the season as he tucked away Jed Wallace’s cross.
Two calls went against Millwall in the second half. Lee Gregory beat Chris Maxwell but it was ruled out for offside – something Harris disputed post-match. Ben Pearson, already booked, escaped a second yellow for clipping Wallace as he countered.
The Lions were forced to dig in as Preston pushed for a leveller. Meredith made an excellent flying block to frustrate substitute Daryl Horgan. As the finishing line came in sight, the hosts’ vigilance waned for a split second. It proved costly.
Attacking left-back Cunningham was offered the invitation of open turf to race into and found the delivery for Callum Robinson, the most effective North End attacker at finding a bit of space, to chest over the line from a few yards out.
That twist saw Millwall finish the weekend in 16th spot – two lower than if they had seen the result out.