Millwall 1-1 Swansea: Play-off hopes fade after draw

Millwall 1-1 Swansea: Play-off hopes fade after draw

Millwall had drawn and lost their previous Championship games after the campaign restarted, while Swansea had won one and lost one

Millwall and Swansea City’s play-off aspirations took a knock in a 1-1 draw that does neither side much good.

The Lions looked set for a first win since the season resumed thanks to Mason Bennett’s first-half goal.

But Rhian Brewster’s free-kick, which went in via goalkeeper Bartosz Białkowski, earned Swansea a point.

Millwall missed two excellent late chances to win, with Murray Wallace heading just wide and then against the post in the final minutes.

This contest felt pivotal for two teams with promotion aspirations, especially as they were both beaten last time out, and the draw probably leaves both sides with too much work to do to make the top six.

Back-to-back defeats in a race for sixth place which features as many as seven different Championship teams would definitely not have been advisable with the finishing line in sight.

Swansea’s cause was not helped by the absence of Wales defender Joe Rodon, who could miss the remainder of the season with an ankle injury sustained in training.

The visitors dominated possession of the ball from the first whistle and for long periods, with Yan Dhanda having a firm free-kick saved by Białkowski after Shaun Hutchinson tripped Brewster.

However, possession does not win football matches and it became evident early that Millwall would be a huge threat to the Welsh side on the counter-attack.

Jed Wallace’s shot was easily saved by Freddie Woodman on 11 minutes, but it the home side were beginning to find gaps in the Swansea defence.

The visitors did come close on 16 minutes when Conor Gallagher’s shot deflected off Ryan Woods and just crept past the post with Białkowski wrong-footed.

Mahlon Romeo then fired wide and Murray Wallace was off target with a header, before the hosts took the lead with a rapid counter-attack.

There were some famous faces in the crowd

The Lions dispossessed midfielder Matt Grimes and took advantage of a four-on-three situation as Wallace found Bennett at the second attempt with the striker able to sweep the ball home from close range.

Grimes almost made amends as the Swans wasted a great chance from his free-kick on 28 minutes, when Ben Wilmot headed the ball across goal and Brewster stabbed the ball into the ground, but Jake Cooper was able to clear from almost under his own crossbar.

Swansea kept looking for the equaliser, but the Lions kept asking questions on the break and might have doubled their lead before half-time when the impressive Jed Wallace was sent clear and rounded Woodman, but Wilmot was able to block his cross.

Swansea had the first chance of the second period but Białkowski smothered Gallagher’s shot before some brilliant defensive play by Andre Ayew denied Tom Bradshaw from close range.

Swansea’s George Byers and Millwall’s Shane Ferguson dragged shots wide before the Swans finally struck back thanks to Brewster’s wonderful free-kick from just outside the penalty box that crashed in off the crossbar and the back of Białkowski after Hutchinson had fouled Gallagher.

Murray Wallace then missed a huge chance to put the hosts in front when he headed wide, unmarked, with 15 minutes remaining after the hosts had a good penalty shout waved away.

The Swans’ injury worries at the back increased when Wilmot went off with a knee problem in the final stages and it was Millwall who looked the likeliest winner, but Murray Wallace headed against the post after Jed Wallace’s precise corner.

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