As the season draws to a close, Bristol Rovers host their final game against play-off challenging Millwall.

Matchday 45:

The Pirates’ faint hopes of stealing a play-off spot at the end of the season was no longer in their favour after being defeated to Peterborough last weekend.

The hosts scored a total of four goals – two from Leonardo Da Silva Lopes, one from Marcus Maddison and a final goal by Craig Michail-Smith.

Rory Gaffney scored with 5 minutes of play left in the second half and doubled as soon as additional time was called. However, it wasn’t enough for Bristol Rovers to secure even a point at the ABAX Stadium.

Millwall also failed to grab a point at Kassam Stadium last weekend, which puts their next match to be crucial for the Lions if they want to maintain their chance at play-offs.

Conor McAleny doubled the score for the U’s just 9 minutes after kick-off. After a tough first half, Oxford United secured their win with a header from Josh Ruffels.

Millwall 4-0 Bristol Rovers: November 2016

The last time these two teams went head-to-head was back in November at The Den. Millwall extended their unbeaten run to 5 games (including competitions).

The Pirates were down to 10 men just 14 minutes into the first half. Daniel Leadbitter’s clumsy challenge on Aiden O’Brien saw Andy Madley’s immediate red card.

O’Brien scored the opening goal after 22 minutes. Lee Gregory firing shot was palmed away by Kelle Roos, but the Irish international scored the rebound from close range.

The hosts were threatened by Rovers despite their disadvantage, but Shaun Williams doubled the home side’s score. David Worrall’s cross left Millwall struggling to possess the ball, but Williams drilled the ball from the edge of the box.

Harry Smith’s header met the chest of Lee Gregory, who’s composed finish put the Lions 3-0 ahead. Smith scored the fourth and final goal at the Den from close range after a defending error from the Pirates.

Bristol Rovers 2-0 Millwall: September 2009

The last time Millwall travelled to the Memorial Stadium was eight years ago in League One, where Bristol Rovers finished their season in 11th place whilst the Lions finished in 3rd and won the play-off final against Swindon Town.

Bristol Rovers took the lead after 26 minutes from Jeff Hughes’ penalty. Andy Frampton’s poor challenge on Stuart Campbell resulted in a penalty and an early booking.

Millwall were looking for an equaliser before the half-time whistle when Mark Wright shot from the edge of the box, but fired wide.

Chris Lines scored his second goal of the season when his strike from the edge of the penalty box drilled in the top left corner of the goal. Lines went on to score a further nine goals in a total of 42 league appearances.

Team news:

Shaun Hutchinson is still recovering from a cracked rib which he picked up during Millwall’s 1-0 defeat to Fleetwood Town. The centre-back also missed out on their loss to Oxford United.

Neil Harris has said he wants a “fully fit squad going in the last League game of the season.”

“We don’t want to bring him in too soon if he’s not able to handle it, but he is a warrior and a tough player.” [Millwall Official Website]

Predicted XI:

Bristol Rovers(4-4-2): J. Lumley (GK); J. Partington, T. Lockyer (captain), R. Sweeney, B. Harris; B. Bodin, C. Lines, S. Sinclair, C. Montano; R. Gaffney, L. James

Millwall(4-4-2):  T. King(GK); M. Romeo, B. Webster, J. Cooper, J. Martin; J. Wallace, C. Butcher, S. Williams, S. Ferguson; S. Morison (captain), L. Gregory [Credit: Lucas Ball, Millwall fan]

Play-offs: Will they be in Millwall’s favour?

The Lions’ place in the play-offs can only depend on the result on Sunday. They currently stand in 6th, one point in front of Southend United, who are also in the race of stealing the play-off spot.

However, if Millwall and Southend both fail to win against their matches this weekend, Rochdale can steal 6th place and qualify for the League One play-offs.

Prediction:

Bristol Rovers have had an amazing home record and have not lost a home game since November 2016, a 4-1 defeat to Charlton Athletic. However, Millwall’s away form hasn’t been up to their expectations with three defeats in the last five away games. Personally, I think the Lions will challenge the Pirates and dominate the game. I predict Bristol Rovers 1-1 Millwall.


About Author

Bristol Rovers fan. Aspiring journalist and football coach. Aiming to complete officiating course with Oxfordshire FA.