Millwall 1 Nottingham Forest 0 – Perfect Christmas period for Lions as they open up gap on bottom three

BY RICHARD CAWLEY

Millwall maintained their perfect record over Christmas as Ryan Tunnicliffe’s spectacular overhead kick earned them maximum points at The Den.

The Lions are up to 20th in the table and have a three point gap between them and the relegation zone. Next up is a New Year’s Day trip to bottom club Ipswich Town, who lost 2-0 to Middlesbrough today.

If that away win is going to come then the fixture at Portman Road – on paper at least – looks most likely to provide it.

Millwall started fast and Forest did not look comfortable with the hosts’ pressing game.

The Lions were proving a handful from corner kicks and won a stream of them in the first period – with the deadlock broken from one of them with just 10 minutes on the clock.

Jake Cooper was harassed by a Forest player from Ryan Leonard’s corner but as the ball dropped loose it was stuck away by Ryan Tunnicliffe with an acrobatic finish.

Millwall v Nottingham Forest, Sky Bet Championship, The Den, 29 December 2018.
Photograph by Keith Gillard
Millwall v Nottingham Forest, Sky Bet Championship, The Den, 29 December 2018.
Photograph by Keith Gillard

It was the former Manchester United and Fulham man’s second goal of the campaign and his first at home since October 2017.

Millwall were pumped up after that and clearly felt they could turn up the heat on flustered opposition. Leonard only saw yellow for a late sliding tackle on Forest keeper Costel Pantilimon.

Aitor Karanka’s side began to get some semblance of attacking play after the midway point of the half and Jordan Archer twice needed to push away well-struck efforts by Joe Lolley.

Michael Hefele switched play on 44 minutes and Jack Robinson cut inside Mahlon Romeo but could not get his shot from the edge of the box on target.

The second half was tense but Forest were largely restricted to shots from distance.

Millwall v Nottingham Forest, Sky Bet Championship, The Den, 29 December 2018.
Photograph by Keith Gillard
Millwall v Nottingham Forest, Sky Bet Championship, The Den, 29 December 2018.
Photograph by Keith Gillard

The only negative from a Lions perspective was Tom Elliott and Lee Gregory both going off with injuries.

Millwall arguably had the better chances in the second half. Wallace saw his shot deflect and narrowly drop over the crossbar. And then substitute Steve Morison should have made it 2-0 late on.

Aiden O’Brien did excellently to break forward and cued it up perfectly for the club captain, but his effort came back off the left post.

Luckily it did not prove costly as the Lions made it successive clean sheets for the first time since April.