Millwall boss on Huddersfield goal, penalty appeal – and taking ‘next step’ as top-six chance lost

MILLWALL boss Gary Rowett was disappointed with the manner of the goal conceded in the 1-0 defeat to Huddersfield – but felt his side should have been awarded a late penalty.

Jonathan Hogg out-jumped the visiting defence to head home Sorba Thomas’s cross in the 82nd minute.

In added-time, Ryan Leonard’s shot appeared to hit the hands of former Lions defender Harry Toffolo but referee Geoff Eltringham played on.

The Lions would have gone into the top six with a win.

“When you come away from home to a place like this you know there are going to be small margins in the game,” Rowett said. “I thought we started really well for 15 minutes but for 30 minutes after that I felt Huddersfield’s movement just caused us some problems.

“[Lewis] O’Brien and [Duane] Holmes were bright behind [Danny] Ward in those little gaps behind our midfield. It was difficult to get to grips with really.

“Bart’s had to make a couple of saves but I don’t think there were any absolute clear-cut chances that they had, it was just quite a lot of balls into the box, cut-backs and blocked shots and what not.

“So I was disappointed with the way we finished the half, from that mid period onwards.

“I felt I needed to change it, we needed an extra man in there [Maikel Kieftenbeld for Sheyi Ojo]. I think it did the trick. We looked a lot more stable, had better structure.

“Twenty minutes before they scored I felt we looked stronger and looked as though we were in the ascendancy and putting them under a little bit of pressure.

“To concede the goal in that way is massively disappointing, for a big side like us that pride ourselves on our set-pieces in a division where set-pieces are so important. To concede a goal where Hogg gets a free header in the six-yard box just clearly shouldn’t happen.

“Disappointed in the last minute, I thought we should have had a clear penalty. I’ve watched it back a number of times. It’s great skill from Benik [Afobe], he back-heels it through the defender’s legs, Lenny has a shot and it’s Toffolo who turns his back and puts both his hands up and deflects the ball wide.

“Geoff didn’t feel like it was enough for a penalty, I felt it was a clear penalty. But I’ll let people decide when they see it.

“Did our performance warrant us winning the game? Probably not but I certainly felt before the 82nd minute that we’d done enough to give us a very good chance of at the very least getting a point.

“So disappointed to concede in the way we did.”

Rowett was asked if he feels his side can be inconsistent after they lost 2-0 at home to Luton and defeat here followed four wins in five games.

Rowett said: “Before today over the last 10 games I think we were second, joint with Fulham in the form chart in the Championship. I don’t think that’s inconsistent.

“We’re the type of team that have to work incredibly hard to win games in this division. If we don’t do the right things then we’re clearly not going to give ourselves a chance to do that.

“In the last 10 games we’ve only lost to Luton and Huddersfield. But the way we’ve lost both of those games is disappointing.

“We’d won four out of five, if we win today we’ve got two home games coming up but we just seem to struggle to take that next step.

“If that’s what you mean then I would agree that they are the games you’ve just got to put your stamp on.

“But it’s a tough division, Huddersfield are a really good side, they’ve got good home form. They showed today at times they’re a difficult team to play against.

“But I thought we should have got a point out of it and a point and clean sheet away from home I would have been reasonably happy with.”

Image: Millwall FC

John Kelly