Preston hit back to hold Millwall

27 January 2024 0 By Total Football News

Brad Potts rescued a point for Preston as they held on to draw 1-1 with Millwall at The Den.

Zian Flemming gave Millwall an early lead, but Potts got Preston back on level terms with 12 minutes remaining of the first half.

The hosts were in total control in the second half, limiting North End to scraps, but they remain without a win since New Year's Day after failing to convert several clear-cut opportunities on home soil.

The result leaves Preston in 12th in the Sky Bet Championship, while the Lions leapfrog Blackburn into 17th.

Despite being on a run of three consecutive defeats in all competitions, Millwall looked lively and took the lead after just five minutes.

George Honeyman's superb delivery found Flemming unmarked inside the box, and the attacking midfielder made no mistake, producing a brilliant bullet header to score his fifth Championship goal of the season.

Jake Cooper could have doubled his side's lead when he was picked out from a corner three minutes later, but the defender's header sailed over the crossbar.

The visitors began to control possession, but the Lions looked lethal on the break, with Arsenal loanee Brooke Norton-Cuffy causing chaos down the right.

Billy Mitchell received the ball in the centre of the box with 15 minutes remaining of the first half, but he fired his effort straight down the throat of Lilywhites keeper Freddie Woodman.

Potts made the hosts pay three minutes later, firing a right-footed shot into the top left corner of Matija Sarkic's goal after a brilliant through ball from Mads Frokjaer-Jensen.

Joe Edwards' side began to panic as Preston pushed for a second, with Liam Millar forcing a solid stop from Sarkic following another sublime pass from Frokjaer-Jensen.

Millwall's boisterous supporters were appealing for a penalty at the start of the second half after Cooper went down inside the box, only for referee John Busby to wave play on.

Millwall continued to look dangerous down the right wing, winning three corners in five minutes.

The first was headed back across goal by Wes Harding before being cleared away, the second fell at the feet of Kevin Nisbet, whose right-footed effort from point-blank range was blocked, and the third saw Romain Esse force a good save from Sarkic.

The hosts then threatened again when George Saville found some space on the edge of the box, but his curling effort was straight at Woodman.

Then Norton-Cuffy burst into the box, cutting a dangerous ball back across goal before seeing it cleared away to safety.

Potts could have snatched all three points during stoppage time, but his strike was saved by Sarkic and both sides were forced to settle for a draw.

The managers

Millwall's Joe Edwards:

"We're just getting the team where we want it [ahead of next season]. Obviously we are all competitors, we all want to win games and we look at the league table for sure, I look at the league table and would love us to keep pushing and finish as high as possible.

"As a group, a target of where we finish and what we achieve is not something we're discussing much at the moment.

"The big thing is consistency, I think we felt we got to a point in recent weeks where there was a real noticeable change in the way we were playing and a lot of good performances.

"It is just about continuing to improve the quality of our performances and see where that takes us but the performance level is all we can aim for at the moment and we have got improvements to keep making.

"I felt the game played out a bit differently to Ryan, we started the game well and were on the front foot, we were the dominant team early on and got our reward.

"I still felt fairly comfortable up until their goal which came out of nowhere, it was an error from us and they punished us well, fair enough.

"The way we responded to the goal was poor, we completely lost our way from the goal until half-time."

Preston's Ryan Lowe:

"You have to give Millwall a lot of credit because they are trying to play a different way now. They have got some good footballers, and Joe is coaching the right way and the way that he wants.

"We had to withstand a lot of pressure from them, not just the team but from the fans as well, you have to keep them quiet. It was probably a fair result, I think both teams tried to win it.

"The first half was a little bit disappointing, the first 20 minutes or so, we gave ourselves a mountain to climb, but I am pleased with the reaction of the boys, to get a goal back.

"We probably didn't want the first half to finish when it did because we were on the ascendency trying to get another one. We got into some good areas, we just could not finish it off, but it was not through lack of trying.

"We have been one of the best teams in the division for coming from a goal behind to win but you can't keep doing that because it takes its toll on people.

"We are disappointed with the first goal but I am pleased with the reaction and resilience to keep going to the end and to try and win it.

"I don't want people to think we are happy to take a point, we want to go and win games of football."

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