Millwall are back in the Championship’s bottom three. A spirited and brave second half performance was left unrewarded as Preston took all three points.
Preston scored twice in five first half minutes through Alan Browne and then Tom Barkhuizen. That gave the Lancashire outfit a 2-0 half time lead. A spirited and commendable performance from The Lions in the second half was not enough despite goals from Jake Cooper and Lee Gregory. Andrew Hughes added a third Preston goal in between Cooper and Gregory’s goals.
Neil Harris named an unchanged side from the one that drew 2-2 with Hull at The Den last weekend. There was a change on the bench with Byron Webster coming into the squad in place of Jiri Skalak.
It was a wet and miserable day in Lancashire, that was the mood of the Millwall fans when travelling home and seeing their side back in the bottom three.
The first chance of the game fell the home side’s way. Andrew Hughes’s attempt was defended well by Shaun Hutchinson. Minutes later, Tom Barkhuizen then tried his luck from distance but he found the 500 or so Millwall fans in the away end of Deepdale.
Neil Harris indicated after the 1-1 draw with Bristol City two weeks ago that his side had to get back to basics. For long periods here they did just that. The Lions were very organised and the home side couldn’t get near Jordan Archer’s goal.
The visitors struggled to get into the game in the opening 20 minutes. However, on 22 minutes their first chance arrived. A Jed Wallace free kick was headed just wide by Shaun Hutchinson. The former then whipped in a free-kick that somehow Millwall didn’t get over the line.
Lee Gregory and then Jake Cooper both went close, before Jed Wallace shot wide. Failure to convert chances then cost Millwall as the home side went in front. The Home side broke and Paul Gallagher found Lukas Nmecha, he then found Alan Browne who was unmarked at the near post and struck a first time effort past Jordan Archer.
The Home side doubled their lead five minutes later. Barkhuizen latched onto Paul Gallagher’s pass he then drilled past Archer to give the Lillywhites a 2-0 half time lead.
Neil Harris changed James Meredith for Shane Ferguson at half time. This saw an improvement in the second half.
Preston wanted a penalty but saw appeals turned away after the ball struck the hand of Hutchinson. Archer then made an excellent save from Gallagher to keep the score at 2-0. Steve Morison then saw his looping effort drop over the bar.
Millwall’s best chance then came and went. Steve Morison took down Jake Cooper’s long ball before squaring to Wallace to produced a save from Declan Rudd. Ryan Tunncilffie was unable to cover the follow up.
However, from that corner Millwall were back in the game. Jake Cooper who signed a new deal on Friday headed home Ferguson’s corner. Ferguson nearly had a second assist but Shaun Hutchinson headed over the Northern Irishman’s free kick.
The game then came to life with both sides having chances. Aiden O’Brien saw his effort blocked before Ryan Leonard and Aiden O’Brien kept out Barkhuizen’s effort.
Preston would then get their third. A foul by Jake Cooper led to Alan Browne beating Jordan Archer to make it 3-1 to Preston with nine minutes left.
Neil Harris sent on Tom Elliot and Millwall did manage to pull one back through Gregory who scored his ninth of the season but it wasn’t enough as Millwall fell to an 11th defeat of the season.