Millwall boss praises courage of striker – and hopes point could take play-off challenge to the final day

GARY Rowett praised Benik Afobe’s courage after the striker stepped up to take the last-minute equalising penalty against Birmingham City – and hopes the point secured could give Millwall the chance to take the play-off fight to the last day of the season.

Afobe scored in the 98th minute to rescue a 2-2 draw at St Andrew’s. Millwall have two games left, against Peterborough United at The Den and AFC Bournemouth away.

Rowett was frustrated the Lions gave two soft goals away.

“In games like this you’ve got to do the basics well, you’ve got to defend well, you’ve got to not make any mistakes. We made a terrible, terrible mistake early on in the second half,” Rowett said. “In these sorts of games you can’t do that, it’s as simple as that. The players don’t mean to do it and I’m sure they will be disappointed themselves but you can’t give goals away in that sense.

“Benno [Mason Bennett] coming on, he probably would have been ideal to start today. I felt it would be a difficult game for Tyler [Burey] to start because it was a really direct game. I thought it suited Burkey [Oliver Burke] more and I thought Burkey was excellent.

“Benno made a massive difference to us when he came on, it was a great ball in the box and Danny [McNamara] gets in another excellent position. Burkey finished it off and it was another good goal for him.

“After that I thought we looked quite dangerous, like there was only one team going to win it and then we make another silly mistake, or we get a penalty given against us which I thought was harsh. At that point you’re just chasing it hoping something drops for you.

“Thankfully it did. We couldn’t have left it much later, could we? A lot of courage to take a penalty at that point of the game. A lot of confidence and composure to take it in that way as well.

“I was pretty confident Benik would score and I’m really pleased he did because a point could be huge and it gives us at least a chance to win our home game and see if we can take it to the last game of the season.”

Image: Millwall FC 

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John Kelly