West Bromwich Albion 1 - Millwall 1

Date: Saturday 11th September 2021 
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
Johnstone 6.6, Ajayi 4.6, Bartley 6.5, Kipré 4.3, Furlong 6.1, Mowatt 6.1, Livermore 6.2, Townsend 7.1, Diangana 5.4 (Hugill, 45 6.6), Grant 3.6 (Robinson, 59 6.4), Phillips 6.3
Unused subs: Button, Molumby, Reach, Snodgrass, Taylor
Manager: Valérien Ismaël  4.9
(3-4-2-1) Bialkowski, Ballard, Wallace, Cooper, Mitchell (Leonard, 80), Kieftenbeld, Saville, Malone, Wallace, Ojo (Bennett, 80), Smith
Unused subs: Long, Thompson, Bradshaw, Pearce, Mahoney
Scorers: Bartley (49); Ballard (55)
Referee: Andy Woolmer 3.9
Attendance: 23,142   Home Fans 6.9   Away Fans 4.4
Submit your ratings for this game by clicking here: Ratings submitted so far: 14

Brendan Clegg:

Well I thought that was a right load of rubbish with the only positive being that we didn’t lose having played so badly.

In my view, Millwall were prepared for us, matched us up to deal with our long throws/long balls and probably should’ve won, either through the handful of chances we gifted them through poor back passes or in the second half where on a few occasions they bypassed our high press and had opportunities where they outnumbered our retreating defence but chose the wrong pass.

We were bad in a number of ways but it was typified by our opening play - a long hoof up to Diagana who was nearly a good foot shorter than the centre half he was up against.

It was so frustrating. Millwall slowed it down and played it long and we helped them by taking ages for throws, not mixing our set plays up and rolling around whenever we got chance. We kept hoofing it or hooking it on when we just needed to keep the ball and be patient enough to work it.

In our only decent move of the half Grady dragged a shot wide but we carved them open quite easily through quick passes, dribbling and movement.

Right at the end of the half we did try something different and I thought it was a very soft/lucky one we got - against us we’d have been fuming. I honestly thought Grant would stick it away but it was a poor penalty.

The game was crying out for Robinson to try and link it up and, whisper it, someone like Sawyers to keep the ball and move it quickly sideways and forward.

Instead we got Hugill for Diagana. I really hope this was down to injury because although he’s struggled in this style and not caught fire yet, Grady did look to have them on toast on the deck, looked our best threat and he just has so much more natural ability than Grant that it’s obvious.

Hugill’s first contribution was to run up the wing and lose the ball having looked like he was towing a caravan but in central forward areas he did okay on linking up without looking dangerous himself. Before we knew it Bartley guided a superb header in and we were up.

Millwall missed a total sitter immediately after that but we didn’t get a foot on it to take the sting out of their inevitable rally and having kept giving it back to them they sure enough equalised with a back post header that looped into the opposite top corner.

Robinson’s intro added a bit of guile and we looked more probing but too quickly ran out of patience and forced it too early or hit crap passes. For about 15 minutes we had a spell of looking dominant but vulnerable and might have conceded, before we sharpened up and looked like the only winner for the final 10-15. Again, might Grady have created something and why don’t we give him a spell on the left?

A point it was and I thought everyone on the radio phone-ins watched the same as me and made the same complaints.

Ismael’s presser was less convincing for me. He complained of us taking too many touches instead of putting the ball into ‘the zone’. I think we do need a plan B that isn’t plan A with a different striker.

That said - we’ll have days like this in the league so it’s a point gained. I keep thinking that a half decent side will take us to pieces on the break and a few have threatened but maybe there just aren’t any in this poor league?

  • SJ - 6 Not much to do. Use your hands.
  • Kipre - 5 Did okay out of position but positionally sometimes a real problem.
  • Bartley- 7 Did his best to manage things and great goal.
  • Ajayi - 5 Some great turns of pace and some woeful back passes that nearly cost us.
  • Townsend- 6 Another assist and some decent crosses.
  • Mowatt - 6 An off day quality-wise. Choice of pass (or if to pass at all!) and set plays were not the best.
  • Livermore- 7 stomped about and did what was asked of him.
  • Furlong- 6 Decent but the doubles up on him in the air and had a plan for his throws.
  • Grant - 5 Just a bit nothing really and a poor pen.
  • Phillips - 6 Did okay but better on the right when we made changes.
  • Diangana - 6 Our brightest spark in the opening 45 even if it didn’t all come off.
  • Hugill - 6 Put himself about but didn’t threaten.
  • Robinson- 7 Arguably our MOTM for his attempts to actually get on the ball and make things happen.

You’d hope we’re much better Tuesday night against a decent QPR team.