Millwall break Bradford hearts to clinch promotion to the Championship
May 22, 2017
Steve Morison volleyed the late goal home from a Lee Gregory header to end his side’s two-year absence from the second tier and spark a pitch invasion from Millwall fans.
Whilst Morison may have been the hero of the hour for his side, he claimed fans invading the pitch had “ruined” the moment for him, though it’s likely that, that won’t leave a lasting bad taste for the striker. Admittedly, it was idiotic from fans who did grace the Wembley turf but the actions of a few individuals should take nothing away from what was a great day for the club. However, not all Millwall fans gave a poor account of themselves. On the 56th minute, Bradford fans delivered a minute’s applause in tribute to those who lost their lives in the tragic Valley Parade fire disaster, an applause that was warmly acknowledged by Millwall supporters.
Bradford controlled much of the first-half and went into the game as the bookmakers favourites. Jordan Archer produced an excellent save to keep put Billy Clarke and the striker was the stand-out performer the Bantams, though ultimately just not stand-out enough. Both him and Mark Marshall caused a number of problems in the opening 45-minutes and were able to find space in the Millwall back and middle line on several occasions but failed to make the most of their chances. Marshall broke free down the left during a counter-attack and played a perfect through ball to Clarke but the striker just wasn’t clinical enough and Archer was able to tip it around the post. That with their poor decision making and lack of final ball throughout the entirety of the game proved fatal.
Millwall came out from the break much improved and seemed hell-bent on winning. Jed Wallace was unlucky to drag his shot wide when put through by Gregory. The efforts of Neil Harris’ men were duly rewarded when Morison finally broke the deadlock with less than five minutes of normal time to play. However, their celebrations were almost short-lived thanks to Tony McMahon. The full-back went close for Bradford in injury time, though unfortunately for Stuart McCall’s side, the full-back could little but drag his shot wide from a tight angle. Absolute heartbreak ensued for the Bantams who were aiming to return to the Championship for the first time since 2004 and their first-half showing suggested they were on course to do so, though despite that dominant 45-minutes, it just wasn’t meant to be.
On the other hand, Millwall were finally able to avenge their play-off final heartbreak of last year. The Lions were beaten 3-1 by Barnsley and you must hand it to them for quickly dusting themselves down and returning the following season to ensure they got the job done. They join Sheffield United and Bolton Wanderers and will of course face the newly relegated Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Hull.
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