Millwall 0-3 Fulham Player Ratings: McDonald king

Slav does smile sometimes… – getwestlondon.co.uk

While Millwall played Friday night’s London derby like an Olympic sprinter, Fulham played it like a marathon runner: the latter came out on top thanks to second half goals from Ryan Sessegnon, Kevin McDonald and Aleksandar Mitrovic. Here’s our player ratings from a 3-0 away win for the Whites.

The Lions

Jordan Archer – having put in excellent performances at Barnsley and Sheffield United recently, this was very much an off-day for Archer. He could only parry Mitrovic’s effort in the build-up to the opener and could have done far better with McDonald’s long-ranger – used left hand should have used right. 2

Mahlon Romeo – posed a threat early on with his powerful runs but at times showed defensive naivety, most notably for Fulham’s first goal, when he failed to track Sessegnon’s run. 3
Shaun Hutchinson – he was so keen to handle Mitrovic that he wasn’t always aware of alternative threats. Struggled to even contain the Serb after the second goal, when players around him pushed forward and he was left isolated. 3
Jake Cooper – hit the bar three minutes in and was not a primary culprit for Millwall’s second half decline. He might though have stayed closer to Mitrovic for the third goal when Kalas got forward. 5
James Meredith – more reluctant to support the attack than Romeo, but partly because of that, he encountered fewer problems defensively. 5

Jed Wallace – posed a threat early on with his direct running, one of his efforts requiring a goal-line clearance from Ream. Slow to close down in the defensive third though and that proved problematic for the second goal. 5
Shaun Williams – one or two simple deliveries early on caused problems and he arguably came closest for Millwall in the second half with a speculative shot straight at the keeper. Made a brilliant challenge on Cairney to set the tone early on but couldn’t sustain that aggression. 4
George Saville – quick to make challenges early on but soon adopted a more restrained role, possibly by design but more likely due to tiring legs, which we saw by the way he slipped in the build-up to the second. 3
Ben Marshall – put in some excellent deliveries from which Millwall could have scored in the first half, but was quieter after the break prior to being taken off midway through the second half. 6

Lee Gregory – couldn’t quite make contact with the half-chances and crosses that came his way. Didn’t play with the fire and drive we have come to expect from him. 3
Steve Morison – a focal point to Millwall’s attacks early on but soon became a peripheral figure. Fulham’s possession meant he was either miles away from the action, or forced back into a defensive role. 3

Tom Elliott (on 65) – normally effective from the bench, but on this occasion the presence of three forwards merely gave Fulham more space in central areas to manipulate. 4
Tim Cahill (on 77) – might have been fortunate to avoid a sending off for the elbow on Fredericks. 4
Aiden O’Brien (on 85)

The Whites

Marcus Bettinelli – got the slightest of contact on Cooper’s early header before completing a double-save by denying Williams, from whom he also made a simpler stop in the second period. Impressive distribution. 7

Ryan Fredericks – Fulham tended to attack either down the left or in central areas, so Fredericks’ role was not as prominent as usual. If he tried to power forward every time he received the ball as he likes to, the game might have assumed a higher tempo which wouldn’t – on this occasion – have suited his teammates. 6
Denis Odoi – guilty of letting Cooper escape his attentions early and although he steadily improved, he wasn’t quite as impressive as his partner. Hard to avoid the feeling Fulham could do with a bigger centre-back capable of dealing with deliveries when games aren’t played on their terms. 6
Tim Ream – because he was so confident in carrying the ball into the opposing half, Morison was forced back into areas where he didn’t want to go. Great goal-line block from Wallace in the first half. 9
Matt Targett – posed a threat down the left in the first half with one or two nice deliveries. Not quite as adventurous after the break but helped Fulham manage the game. 8

Stefan Johansen – the furthest forward of the midfield trio, Johansen linked play and looked for the killer pass in the final third. Grew in influence as the game progressed. 9
Kevin McDonald – the deepest of the three midfielders, often looking for the simple pass to kill the tempo of the game in a way that suited Fulham. Deserved his goal – an impressive strike from range. 10
Tom Cairney – caught in possession once early on and turned his back on Williams’ second half effort, but we’re being picky. Operated deeper than we saw last season and helped McDonald to set the tempo as Fulham grew in control. 8

Lukas Piazon – quiet start but from the quarter-hour mark on he started to find some nice positions in behind the midfield, shifting the ball quickly. Without necessarily stealing the show, he contributed to the fluidity of the performance. 8
Alexandar Mitrovic – for the first 60 minutes, it was a case of occupying Hutchinson to allow other players more space. He came into his own more in that final half hour as gaps opened up which allowed him to truly bully the two centre-backs, as he did by scoring the third goal. A wonderfully selfless display. 9
Ryan Sessegnon – not for the first time this season, he was almost anonymous in the build-up play and as a result, he became much harder to mark. When opportunities arise, he bursts into goalscoring positions – as we saw for the opener – almost like a poacher playing out wide. 8

Tomas Kalas (on 83) – a wonderful waltz through Millwall’s midfield before teeing up Mitrovic for a third. Kalas is a centre-back, but you wouldn’t have guessed it! 7
Cyrus Christie (on 90+2)