Blackburn’s woes in front of goal continued as they could only draw 0-0 with Millwall.
In what was a frustrating evening, their well-documented lack of goals once again became evident as they couldn’t make dominance over the Lions count, fending off glorious chances that failed Joe Rankin-Costello and Sam Gallagher in the first half time.
For all their supremacy, Rovers failed to test the Millwall goalkeeper enough and when they did, Bartosz Bialkowski came to his side’s rescue with a wonderful second-half save from John Buckley.
Ultimately, it was a missed opportunity for Blackburn, who failed to gain ground in the front two and will also be looking nervously over their shoulder at the play-off pursuers. They have now won once in the last eight games, scoring just one goal in that span.
Millwall did not manage a single shot in the game but their resilience under sustained pressure will have pleased Gary Rowett at times, whose side are not out of the top six and are just four points after a sixth unbeaten game.
Rovers were without influential Reda Khadra through injury but recalled Joe Rothwell and Buckley as part of four changes. Millwall named an unchanged XI.
The hosts quickly took off and a neat brace split the visitors’ defense in the 16th minute, but with the goal at its mercy, Rankin-Costello fired wide past the far post.
Blackburn’s pace unsettled their stubborn opponents and Buckley had too much time to turn around mid-half, advancing towards the box before whipping a low shot towards goal that trumped Bialkowski and razed the post before pass behind.
Another massive Blackburn chance came and went six minutes from half-time when Gallagher ghosted in at the far post to meet a magnificent cross from Buckley but deflected the ball away from the post from close range.
Despite dominating in the first half, Rovers hadn’t really worked the goalkeeper but that changed six minutes after the restart when Ryan Giles crossed for Buckley, whose close-range effort was parried beautifully by Bialkowski. From the resulting corner, Darragh Lenihan squandered a free header, going over the crossbar.
Rovers put up sustained pressure that seemed to lead to an inevitable goal, but Millwall held on and frustrated their hosts, who cut the bar late thanks to Scott Wharton’s looping header. Looks like Ben Brereton Diaz’s return can’t come soon enough for Rovers.
What the managers said…
from Blackburn Tony Mowbray: “Performance, really good. Dominated. I don’t think they fired on our goal. We missed three incredible chances to score a goal. We dominated in all areas I think, against a side that won some five on the rebound and are dangerous. I thought we weren’t really limiting them to anything, so we’re really frustrated. We said it, we need to be more ruthless.
“Chances have come and chances have gone. Another day it could have been 3-0 and I don’t think they would have complained. We have two more opportunities at home next week to try and get three points in these games. We have to keep believing. We have to keep going, keep the level of performance where it is, keep the momentum and the energy and all the positive things that were there tonight. And yet, we are frustrated with not having done so does not win a game that we deserved to win.”
Millwall’s Gary Rowet“Certainly happy with the point. We knew it would be a tough game, having traveled here before and had a lot of games, expending a huge amount of energy with a really limited squad at the moment. We’ve got so many wounds. Blackburn started well, moved the ball very well, but you could see we couldn’t get close enough.
“I couldn’t criticize the players. They’ve given me absolutely everything in the last few games. Five wins and a draw at fourth-placed Blackburn, that’s no shame. I think we defended very well, very decisively. A first half chance I think Gallagher, another half chance in the second half and then a great save from Bart, probably the biggest moment of the game to give us a clean sheet and a point. It’s been a really tough time but the players are showing incredible commitment.”