Millwall 1-2 Bristol City Player Ratings: Marlon leader of the Pack

Diedhiou bags the winner – www.bcfc.co.uk

Bristol City came from behind to win 2-1 at The Den on Tuesday night, as goals from Jamie Paterson and Famara Diedhiou overturned Lee Gregory’s opener to keep their Play-Off hopes alive. Here’s our Player Ratings from the game.

Millwall

David Martin – questions were asked of the veteran after his FA Cup performance against Brighton, but to his credit he has responded well. Whether he is the answer for 2019-20 though is another question. 6

Mahlon Romeo – the right-back made some driving forward runs to support attacks; in a slow tempo first half from the Lions he was the one man trying to get things going. Since making one or two rash defensive decisions last seasons he appears to have been encouraged to show more discipline in one-on-one scenarios, but sometimes one might like to see him use his athleticism when the moment calls for it. 7
Alex Pearce – the Derby loanee has arguably outperformed stalwart Shaun Hutchinson this season, forming a sturdy centre-back partnership with Jake Cooper whilst providing excellent leadership skills. Did well to deny Bristol City clear cut chances until the final half-hour and Neil Harris will be keen to make the move permanent this summer. 7
Jake Cooper – the centre-back’s height made him an obvious threat from Shaun Williams’ set pieces. Cooper’s aerial qualities means he remains an integral part of Millwall’s dead ball chance creation and if he leaves in the summer, replacing his influence will be a number one priority for Neil Harris. 8
James Meredith – the former Bradford left-back could not be faulted for effort or determination, but there were one or two occasions in which he was so keen to close down an opponent that he found himself outmanoeuvred by someone nimbler and cleverer. Realistically, he should not go into next season as a first-choice left-back at Championship level. 5

Ryan Tunnicliffe – the hardworking midfielder provides tenacity and willingness to break forward into goalscoring positions given the chance; he made some driving runs and linked up with Gregory on the break, at times acting as the second striker in transition, even if his effort midway through the second period lacked power. Could be an important player next season. 7
Shaun Williams – the deep-lying midfielder is, perhaps, the most technically advanced of his positional rivals and his set pieces were strong all evening. Equally though, to try to pick the quality of passes he can pick, he took more time on the ball than was sometimes helpful. Millwall do not have the personnel to be an effective possession-based side – high-tempo peppering or maybe the odd counter-attack suit them best – it’s unfortunate for Williams, who would probably be better-used in a slightly different setup. 5
Ryan Leonard – the former Southend midfielder appears to lack George Saville’s willingness to press and break forward from the outset; he is instead more disciplined. Although that is not exclusively a bad thing, it does call into question whether Millwall can incorporate him and Williams into the same midfield without compromising the tempo of their play. 4
Shane Ferguson – the Northern Irishman produced some quality crosses from deep, although for that accuracy to become impactful he needed to be able to see Jake Cooper in the box from dead ball or post-dead ball scenarios. In general play he did not provide too much pace or width, which was at times problematic. 5

Steve Morison – it is important to be fair to the Millwall stalwart, who retains the ability to cushion headers down for Gregory, which was key to both the goal and the penalty. However, the vigour and intensity to his game was not quite to the level it has been over the previous three seasons and thus a long-term replacement will be needed in the summer. Last term, he acted as a focal point from goal-kicks and balls from the defensive third, holding attacks together; now, he is not quite able to get to deliveries from that type of distance – understandable at 35. 5
Lee Gregory – the above situation with Morison means Gregory was sometimes the man to whom long balls from deep instead went. Gregory was always stretching the play by running in behind, yet also had the selflessness to help Tunnicliffe and others get into goalscoring positions – a fine, improvised finish himself to open the scoring, too. Rumours of a move back up north mean this could be his last game at the Den as a Millwall player; he has been an excellent servant to the club under Neil Harris’ regime. 9

Conor McLaughlin (on 78) – came on at right-back to allow Romeo to play further forward, but struggled to have a positive influence on the dynamics of the contest. 5
Tom Elliott (on 87) – only useful if the team is pumping balls into the box from high up the pitch, but Bristol City’s shrewd ball retention denied Millwall any opportunities to feed Elliott. 5

Bristol City

Max O’Leary – the young goalkeeper, highly-rated within the club’s hierarchy, was perhaps slightly unlucky to be dropped recently following a man-of-the-match display at Villa Park. The former Solihull Moors loanee continued his exciting progression here, saving Williams’ penalty midway through the second period. 7

Jack Hunt – the seasoned right-back made several forward runs and put in most of City’s crosses in the first 32 minutes, before an injury cut his evening short. A shame, because he looked on course to be among the away side’s better performers. 6
Tomas Kalas – the Chelsea loanee won six aerial duels, made five interceptions as well as two tackles and completed 82% of his passes. A quietly efficient display from Kalas. 7
Adam Webster – the ex-Ipswich man has been among the most complete, consistent centre-backs in the Championship this season. Not only is he composed and proficient in playing out from the back with both feet – crucial in stepping up to help Marlon Pack in the last half hour – he is also a strong defender in his own right and can be thoroughly satisfied with his night’s work. 8
Lloyd Kelly – Bristol City are lucky to have two of the most exciting, young English left-backs in their squad and, after coming in for positional rival Jay Dasilva, Kelly produced another enterprising display. Did not deliver too many crosses early on but grew into the contest, showing energy, technique and at times intelligent, using the latter qualities especially when he moved to the left of a back-three for the final half-hour and was asked to step into midfield when moments arose. 7

Marlon Pack – the midfielder has been such an influential part of this Robins side over the last five years. Not only did he switch play well and control the tempo of the game, he also matched the tenacity of the hosts by putting in some strong challenges where necessary. Even without watching Pack every week, it is tempting to presume his levels rarely drop below a 7/10 – he just looks such a dependable presence. 9
Liam Walsh – the Everton academy graduate has had his fingers burnt by injuries early in his career, so it was understandable that he looked slightly tentative in this rare start. The worry would be that he only looked comfortable accepting possession in oceans of space, which did not have especially positive implications for the general tempo of Bristol City’s play. Could improve after a full pre-season but rightly taken off at half-time. 4

Josh Brownhill – the midfielder’s most recent displays might imply that he is at his most effective when used centrally – that’s where he was so impressive for Preston and Barnsley. Here though Brownhill’s roles changed frequently, often within the same move; he had one or two bright moments in the opening period, but in the last half hour he displayed the adaptability to occupy a wing-back role to reasonable effect. His energy and ability to influence numerous phases of play looks a real strong point. 7
Jamie Paterson – the former Forest forward excelled at getting into pockets of space between lines to create, or picking up Diedhiou’s knock-downs. He struggled to add product to those qualities in the first hour, but went up another level in the final 30, when he found the net with a pin-point free-kick before playing a superbly-weighted through ball for the winner. 8
Andreas Weimann – the wide forward showed at Bramall Lane last month that he can relish a free role; the license to cut inside from the left and pose a threat. Although Weimann did that to an extent in South Bermondsey – he could have added a third on the break but for a block – this was more of a circumspect display from the ex-Aston Villa man, who tracked back well and even acted as a wing-back in the last half hour. When Weimann is not grabbing the headlines, it is most likely because he is doing a selfless job for his team. 7

Famara Diedhiou – the Senegalese striker enjoyed the challenge of aerial duels with Cooper and Pearce and relished early balls into him from deep, even if they did not come too often in the early stages. Diedhiou’s sheer power makes him a real problem for defenders in those advanced areas; he won several knock-downs for Paterson and others and took his goal with some aplomb. Needs to be as high up the pitch as possible. 7

Eros Pisano (on 32) – the inverted Italian tried to make up for his relative lack of pace at right-back by making inside forward runs whenever a teammate moved across to his flank. Was not directly involved in any creative play of note, but he showed enough to suggest he could have slotted into the right of Bristol City’s back-three for the last half-hour had Lee Johnson so wished. 6
Kasey Palmer (on 45) – the Chelsea loanee’s willingness to be brave in possession and alternative the number 10 position with Paterson had a massively positive impact on the tempo of Bristol City’s play. Palmer has consistently made an impression from the bench at Huddersfield and now City, one must feel he is surely deserving of a more prolonged run of starts at Championship level. 8
Matt Taylor (on 62) – the fact Taylor choose to join the Robins from Bristol Rovers appears to make him a popular figure; he almost acts as a regular reminder of their status within the city. The striker, who replaced Pisano to partner Diedhiou, had to be patient in terms of getting a touch on the ball, but the challenging start did not dampen his hunger to harry and make positive runs off the ball, which ultimately contributed towards the sustained pressure that led to two late goals. 7