Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Sammie Szmodics rescues point as Blackburn earn Millwall draw

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 5 Mar 2024

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Sammie Szmodics salvaged a point for Blackburn but his 20th Championship goal of the season could not disguise the home side’s frustration after a tough 1-1 draw with Millwall at Ewood Park.

Szmodics pounced on a defensive error to fire home just past the hour mark, 10 minutes after Millwall substitute Michael Obafemi had lashed the Lions in front.

But the result extended Rovers’ dismal streak to just one win in 15 league games and leaves John Eustace still searching for his first victory in charge.

In contrast, Millwall’s point stretched their unbeaten run under Neil Harris to three matches and they will arguably have been the happier, despite the careless manner in which they tossed away over an hour of sterling defensive work.

Revitalised under the charge of their all-time record goalscorer, the visitors had the best chance of a first half that was almost devoid of incident, Ziam Flemming shooting into the side-netting from a tight angle after George Saville’s corner.

It was the only chance of any kind mustered in the first half by Harris’ men, who seemed happy to sit back and squeeze the momentum out of the home side, with Japhet Tanganga in particular outstanding at the back.

The Lions’ tactics could largely be said to have worked if the scattered boos that greeted the hosts at the half-time whistle was anything to go by.

Szmodics could do nothing with an effort from a tight angle after being put through by Tyrhys Dolan, then Szmodics returned the favour but his team-mate was caught offside.

The busy Dolan tried his luck from long range but his effort was blocked by Tanganga, who was also central to hacking away a dangerous Dom Hyam free-kick, before Flemming had his chance at the other end, just before the half-hour mark.

Jake Cooper denied Szmodics a shooting chance with an excellent interception, then Ryan Longman’s gutsy counter-attack trickled out to neatly sum up a forgettable first period.

Obafemi needed less than eight minutes to make an impression, tenaciously winning Billy Mitchell’s fine cross into the box and capitalising on poor Rovers defending to turn and fire a rising shot past home goalkeeper Leo Wahlstedt.

Amid evident frustration among the home fans, Rovers responded well, Szmodics forcing a save from Matija Sarkic before a desperate blunder from Millwall’s Danny McNamara led to their 63rd-minute equaliser.

The full-back failed to spot Rovers substitute Amor Sigurdsson when playing a square ball and the Iceland striker, who had only been on the field for two minutes, served Szmodics to sweep the leveller past Sarkic.

The excellent Tanganga headed away a dangerous cross under pressure from Szmodics, while Yasin Ayari’s long-range effort deep into injury time was palmed away by Sarkic as Millwall held on.

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