Coventry 0-2 Millwall: Six Things We Learnt

morison

Morison now Millwall’s joint-10th all-time goalscorer – bbc.co.uk

Goals from Jake Cooper and Steve Morison gave Millwall a 2-0 win at bottom side Coventry – but what have we learnt from the game?

Coventry’s competitive start

In the first half hour, Coventry edged a cagey game. Midfielders Callum Reilly and Andy Rose worked hard, Ryan Haynes forcing the first save from Jordan Archer with a long-range effort. Farrend Rawson looked commanding at centre-back and there were some decent pieces of play between George Thomas and Marcus Tudgay down the right, the latter getting a couple of shots away.

Coventry needed more movement up top

The problem was that when midfielders did some good work to get to the edge of the final third, more advanced players didn’t pick up on the openings. They didn’t break into dangerous areas and make the kind of runs that push defences back. In short, they didn’t expect good things to happen, which is an unfortunate by-product of the run Coventry are on and the general sense of pessimism that surrounds the club.

Millwall’s defence is improving

Coventry’s final third failings must be credited partly to Millwall’s strong back-line. Earlier in the season, it would be hard to imagine the Lions keeping five clean sheets in seven games, by they now look a far more unified outfit than the one that leaked goals in Autumn. They have been helped by Byron Webster’s return to form and the loan signing of Jake Cooper from Reading, both centre-backs immense at the Ricoh. The latter headed home at the back-post from Shaun Williams’ corner on 33 minutes.

Opener changed the pattern of play

Until the goal, Steve Morrison and Lee Gregory had been too far apart to pose a threat. However, Coventry looked vulnerable to breakaways shortly after Cooper’s opener and thus the attacking duo became more dangerous. Aiden O’Brien completed a good individual first half by setting up Gregory for a header that was saved by Lee Burge.

Erratic Burge

The young stopper did little to dispel fears over Coventry’s problematic goalkeeper position, one or two decent stops overshadowed by an erratic performance. He passed the ball to a timid Nathan Clarke in the first half with two opposing forwards lurking, then in the second half, he raced out of his goal prematurely before Morison’s shot was deflected wide.

Morison led the line well

The target man was typically industrious throughout, continuing to battle even when isolated, qualities uncharacteristically missing from counter-part Stuart Beavon. Morison deserved his 82nd Millwall goal, which put him among the club’s top 10 all-time scorers. He tapped the ball home at the rebound, after bright substitute Fred Onyedinma saw his shot parried.

In the middle third, there was not to much difference between these teams, but superior confidence in key areas was pivotal to Millwall’s victory.