Millwall edge past struggling Swansea at the Den
After a tame first half which saw both sides retain possession but lack a cutting edge in the final third, the game burst into life.
Charlie Cresswell poked home the opener before Andreas Voglsammer doubled Millwall’s lead with his second in as many games.
In a breathless few minutes, Ryan Manning gave Swansea hope, deflecting a 20-yard strike from Matt Grimes past a wrong-footed George Long in the Millwall goal.
But Gary Rowett’s side held on, the win moving them two points clear of Blackburn, who occupy the final play-off spot.
An uneventful opening 45 minutes was punctured only by the sounds of the frustrated home support as the visitors deployed an organised, patient off-the-ball approach.
The busy Olivier Ntcham drew a straightforward save out of Long before Ryan Leonard followed suit at the other end – though it was only in the final moments of the half the contest came to the boil.
Ntcham struck wide with Long stranded, Voglsammer then going up the other end to fire just over.
The contest finally got the breakthrough it needed when Cresswell took full advantage of indecision in the Swansea penalty area to break the deadlock.
Leonard’s long throw caused mayhem in the six-yard box, Cresswell utilising the mass of bodies cleverly to guide the ball home past an unsighted Andy Fisher.
But Fisher was squarely at fault for Millwall’s second, failing to deal with Voglsammer’s scruffy attempt.
Zian Flemming and George Honeyman combined to find the German just outside the box and when he scuffed an effort towards goal, Fisher surprisingly failed to claim it cleanly.
Swansea’s response was quick and they reduced the arrears within three minutes.
Matt Grimes’ strike was goalbound but Manning made sure by sticking out a leg, the ball smacking off his studs before flying in past Long.
It clearly galvanised the Welsh outfit, as did the introduction of Morgan Whittaker.
The young winger was a livewire and a much-needed source of quality upon his introduction, bringing two excellent saves out of Long as his side chased the equaliser.
Swansea’s top scorer, Joel Piroe, almost got on the end of the first save and as the game ticked into the five minutes of added-on time, Ntcham snatched at a chance when well set.
Martin’s men have now won just once in their last 10 league games and are looking over their shoulders ahead of a home clash against Bristol City this weekend, followed by what may be a season-defining Welsh derby.
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