Millwall 0-2 Birmingham City Player Ratings: Morrison dominates Morison

Michael Morrison fires home the second – bbc.co.uk

Birmingham City moved up to 10th in the Championship thanks to a 2-0 victory at struggling Millwall. Here’s our Player Ratings from the game.

Millwall

Jordan Archer – the goalkeeper divides opinion among Lions fans but, after starting against Bolton last time out due to Ben Amos being ineligible to face his old club, he performed well enough to keep his place. Archer did not fare quite so well here though, spilling the second half corner that led to Birmingham’s second. 4

Mahlon Romeo – the young right-back offers, perhaps, more athleticism than McLaughlin and he is more capable of an eye-catching solo run, but equally, he is also more prone to lapses in concentration, which may be why Harris has not gambled on him in a relegation battle. He started here after a poor performance from Conor McLaughlin, but did not quite do enough to put a marker down. 5
Shaun Hutchinson – the experienced defender managed to start all 46 games last season and was remarkably consistent but, since suffering injury, he has not quite been the same player. Hutchinson was beaten for pace by Adams in the lead-up to the first goal, even if he showed that he is a capable defender in tight areas, with one or two intelligent back-post clearances. 4
Jake Cooper – the former Reading defender is a serious threat from set pieces; he is among the top assisters in the Championship this term and bagged in the 1-1 draw at Bolton, but had not been at his best defensively. Here, it was almost the opposite: Cooper did not threaten as much from dead ball scenarios but was arguably the better of the two centre-backs, handling Jutkiewicz well. 6
James Meredith – now 30, Meredith does not quite have the pace to attack as much as he did at times at Bradford and mobility may now becoming an issue even in the defensive phase. The left-back struggled to handle Mahoney early on, he got the final touch for Birmingham’s opener and was perhaps fortunate the visitors did not show so much ambition to attack his flank after Leonard’s dismissal. 4

Jed Wallace – the right winger made a lot of exciting, direct runs last season; while he has not been quite at the same level this term, recent performances suggest a resurgence. The red card meant he did not have the freedom to attack the flank as much as he did last term, so more of his work than usual was done in central areas; but he still showed flashes of pace and skill to put him among the home side’s better players. 6

Shaun Williams – the deep-lying midfielder likes to dictate play and certainly he saw plenty of the ball here due to the way the visitors set up. His passing, while accurate, lacked purpose and getting that back will be key to finding some high-intensity performances. 5
Ryan Leonard – the ball-winner, who was loved at Southend for his commitment, was perhaps too committed in the first half, when he was sent off for a second bookable offence following a strong challenge on Kieftenbeld. Although Leonard got his usual distance on his long throws, they did not always find a Millwall head. 3
Shane Ferguson – the set piece specialist has been a key part of Millwall’s goal threat in recent weeks, but his afternoon against his former employers was cut to just 31 minutes, as Neil Harris responded to Leonard’s dismissal by favouring another central midfielder for the left-winger. 5

Steve Morison – the veteran was a stand-out performer in this fixture last season but, starting here out of necessity in the absence of an alternative target man, he appears to have declined significantly. Morison offers strong leadership qualities and a clear grasp of the Millwall identity which will be hard for the club to replace, but replace him they must: he no longer has the energy to sustain high-intensity performances over 90 minutes. 4
Lee Gregory – the industrious front-man, formerly of Halifax, is always willing to battle with centre-backs and attack second balls; because Morison had difficulties winning those initial balls, however – and because Cooper was not so influential from set pieces – Gregory never came to the fore. 5

Ryan Tunnicliffe (on 31) – the Manchester United academy graduate scored in this fixture last season, was brought on early on to tighten things up in midfield after Leonard was sent off and he fared ok. 6
Murray Wallace (on 74) – the left-footed centre-back looked at home in a left-sided centre-back role and, as perhaps a better technician than Hutchinson, he played some decent diagonal balls in the closing stages. 6
Aiden O’Brien (on 79) – despite being a striker by trade, the Irishman has spent much of his career in South Bermondsey on the left wing due to the form of the strikers. The situation has changed in the last few weeks and between now and January, O’Brien has an opportunity to prove to Harris that he belongs up top, although he tended to drift out to the right here. 5

Birmingham City

Lee Camp – the former Rotherham goalkeeper has come in for criticism this term; his mistakes have proved costly in certain games that Birmingham have otherwise dominated. There can be no complaints about his display in South Bermondsey however, as he saved all three shots on target he faced with minimal fuss. 6

Maxime Colin – the right-back has not been able to make as many marauding forward runs as he normally likes to in the last two games. If and when former Brentford teammate Jota returns however, we could see more from Colin as an attacking force; for now, this was a steady display. 6
Michael Morrison – the long-serving centre-back is an influential figure at St Andrews and deserves credit for his performance tonight, which saw him dominate aerially and tap home the second goal. Of course, it helps that he was against a declining striker like Morison rather than a future star like Tammy Abraham, but certainly in these types of games he can do a job. 8
Harlee Dean – the former Brentford centre-back is a very committed player and he was at times commanding in terms of the basics of defending. Like Morrison, however, his distribution lacked accuracy and this is certainly an issue that Garry Monk needs to be aware of. Dean though did enough to stop the hosts conjuring up any clear cut chances throughout the night. 7
Kristian Pedersen – the Dane has played every game at left-back, before occupying an unusual left-wing role at Villa Park, where he impressed going forward but neglected his defensive duties. Deployed in a more familiar role here, Pederson specialized in brave defending and no-nonsense clearances in a back-to-basics display. 7

Connor Mahoney – the Bournemouth loanee can be a tricky customer at times with his skill and quick-feet in tight areas; we saw plenty of evidence of that early on. He needs to show a bit more aggression in the defensive phase and become a more prominent influence on games to displace Jota, who could be fit again soon. 5
Maikel Kieftenbeld – the Dutch destroyer certainly offers the tenacity required for a trip to the Den; he will put in strong challenges and always charges back whenever the ball gets played behind the midfield. He does, however, need a partner with more quality in terms of distribution. 7
Gary Gardner – the Aston Villa loanee was unavailable to face his parent club on Sunday, but the poor second half display in his absence proves his importance to the side. Gardner held things together in South Bermondsey, showing impressive stamina and commitment to the cause. 7
Jacques Maghoma – the wide man was only available for a substitute appearance at Villa Park last time out, but he is more of a left-wing natural than Pedersen and makes some direct runs, even if his end product leaves something to be desired. 5

Lukasz Jutkiewicz – for much of the season, Jutkiewicz has been either working hard, occupying centre-backs and winning aerial duels without offering a goal threat, or offering those same qualities whilst also enjoying an individual purple patch. This performance, however, was arguably one of the quietest of his season to date and he generally was well-marshalled by Cooper. 5
Che Adams – the nippy forward built on a positive display at Villa Park with another energetic performance; he had threatened a purple patch earlier in the campaign and is now seeing the fruits of his labour, even if his role in the opener was only hitting the post. Offered an outlet and caused problems for Hutchinson at times. 6

Wes Harding (on 68) – the right-back offered some athleticism down Birmingham’s right side which helped stem the tide, as Colin moved further forward. 7
Craig Gardner (on 78) – his confidence might have been knocked by a poor display at Villa Park on Sunday, but ‘C Gards’ certainly contributed here as Blues managed the game well in the closing stages. 6
Omar Bogle (on 90+4) – the former Solihull Moors striker works hard but could find it difficult to displace either Adams or Jutkiewicz. 5