Millwall 2-0 Birmingham Player Ratings: Wallace impresses

Morison and Wallace celebrate – bbc.co.uk

A Maxime Colin own goal and a Ryan Tunnicliffe strike helped Millwall to a deserved 2-0 win over Birmingham on Saturday evening. Here’s our Player Ratings from the game.

Millwall

Jordan Archer – untested for much of the game, but is unlikely to lose his place due to Harris’ loyalty to the stopper, who started the play-off games despite calls for him to be dropped. 6

Conor McLaughlin – good in the air, looked composed on the ball and adept with both feet. Appears to have adjusted seamlessly to this level after impressing in League One with Fleetwood. 8
Shaun Hutchinson – defended manfully throughout and was not shy to put his body on the line to cut danger out instantly. Unsurprising that Millwall’s defensive form picked up last season when he returned from injury. 7
Jake Cooper – looked strong, using his height to head away high balls in his own box and cause problems in the opposition’s. His 17th minute knock-down led to perhaps Millwall’s best chance of the half. 8
James Meredith – a selfless performance. No frills in possession but sound defensively against Adams and made some good forward runs in the second half, shifting the ball quickly. 7

Jed Wallace – got in behind Grounds on more than one occasion and was lively throughout, often looking to pick out Morison in the box. 9
George Saville – has set piece qualities not dissimilar to Shaun Williams and used the ball well, especially in the second half. 8
Ryan Tunnicliffe – relatively quiet in the first half but grew in influence after the break, scoring his first goal for the Lions on 76 minutes with a rebounded effort. 7
Aiden O’Brien – missed one of Millwall’s better first half chances, flicking the ball over on 17 minutes after Cooper knocked down Saville’s free-kick. Kenny Jackett has said in the past that he’s more of a striker than a winger but he looked at home here. 7

Steve Morison – his leadership and aerial prowess was there for all to see. A tad more mobile than one might expect a veteran target man to be and made a strong run that led to the opener, moments into the second half. 9
Lee Gregory – a nippy, tireless striker who compliments Morison’s qualities. Might have been a little more ruthless in the first half, but Millwall also might not have created so many chances, were it not for the work rate of their front two. 7

Shane Ferguson (on 69) – the left-footed wide man slotted in on the right and put in a disciplined performance against his old club.
Tom Elliott (on 74) – always looked lively, his run and shot two minutes after coming on leading to the second goal.
Tony Craig (on 90+2)

Birmingham City

Tomasz Kuszczak – wasn’t able to save Blues when they needed him and has declined significantly as a goalkeeper over the last 10 months. 4

Maxime Colin – turned the ball into his own net early in the second half. Made one breakaway run that led to a Maghoma cross that narrowly eluded Vassell, but he had the capability to do more of that. 3
Michael Morrison – might have defended his near post more commandingly for the first goal and found it hard to get close to Gregory at times. However, he also cleared his lines on plenty of occasions and wasn’t helped by the disjointed midfield in front of him. 5
Marc Roberts – endured three shaky moments in the first 20 minutes which affected his confidence. Not necessarily the main culprit for either of the goals conceded, though. 4
Jonathan Grounds – never truly got to grips with Wallace, who exposed his lack of pace and bravery. Grounds never offers much going forward, so when he doesn’t defend well it is difficult to see what he offers. 2

David Davis – tracked back willingly and played the through ball for Vassell’s chance, but otherwise his use of the ball could have been better. Plenty of energy but needs to show more tactical awareness. 4
Maikel Kieftenbeld – didn’t know when to press for the ball and when to stay back, often caught in two minds to allow Millwall space in behind. 2

Jacques Maghoma – perhaps Birmingham’s liveliest first half player but lacked the product to go with it, baring one cross for Vassell on 41 minutes. Always willing to track back quickly, but was less effective at challenging for the ball in the secondary phases of play. 4
Cheikh N’Doye – the plan was for him to impose his physicality high up the pitch, but he didn’t quite have the pace and agility to press his opponents. Blues need a more naturally attacking player in midfield to gain some territory and possession further up the pitch. 2
Che Adams – anonymous for the 77 minutes he was on the pitch, in and out of possession. Undoubtedly a talent but needs to show more of what he can do in intimidating environments. Villa next week… 2

Isaac Vassell – had Blues’ best chance just before the break, but couldn’t get his bearings right from a tight angle and slid it wide. When he did sprint, he did so at a rate of knots, but he didn’t do it often enough to help the team impose themselves further up. 4

Jota (on 63) – early days, but one fears that he could suffer from playing with more technically limited players than at Brentford. 3
Lukasz Jutkiewicz (on 70) – normally offers a physical presence from the bench but here, he had no service due to the efficiency with which Millwall retained possession. 5
Jeremie Boga (on 77) – showed more drive, urgency and talent in 13 minutes than Adams did in 77. Might have done enough to start the derby. 7