Championship
Millwall0West Brom2

Millwall 0-2 West Bromwich Albion: Baggies extend lead at top to four points

Filip Krovinovic fires past Millwall goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski for the West Brom winner
Filip Krovinovic's curling effort bent just beyond the fingertips of Bartosz Bialkowski for West Brom's opener

West Bromwich Albion extended their lead at the top of the Championship to four points with a hard-fought victory over Millwall in stormy conditions at The Den.

In an ebb-and-flow first period, visiting midfielder Filip Krovinovic curled in from the edge of the box to give West Brom the lead, and Kyle Bartley passed up a golden chance to add a second when he flashed wide.

Livewire winger Jed Wallace was the main Millwall outlet, and forced a smart save from Sam Johnstone with a curling free-kick before crashing a shot over the top when well placed.

The second half saw the Baggies dominate possession and play, but they had to wait until late on to sew up the points when Dara O'Shea headed in Kamil Grosicki's corner to put the result beyond doubt.

Wins for Fulham and Nottingham Forest on Saturday had compressed the top end of the second tier and this win gives Slaven Bilic's Albion a little bit of breathing space at the summit.

It was made even more impressive against a Millwall side whose home form has been their bedrock, losing just twice before Sunday's weather-affected encounter.

The swirling wind, patches of rain and a clotting surface failed to hamper the excitement as both sides contributed greatly to a lively contest.

Those conditions severely tested technique, with any loose touch threatening to cause havoc, as it did when West Brom forward Matheus Pereira latched onto one such lapse and rolled his shot onto the Lions' woodwork in the first five minutes.

Bilic's side adapted best to the conditions, even succeeding at times to pull off their one-touch style, and it took the reflexes of Millwall goalkeeper Bialkowski to keep the scoreline down - denying Hal Robson-Kanu one-on-one and turning away another Pereira shot.

There was also evidence of the depth available to them, as Matty Phillips and recent signing Grosicki made cameos from the bench, the latter swinging in a near-post corner which O'Shea guided in for his first Albion goal.

West Brom struggled to keep the ball on the quadrant at a corner
Even basic set-pieces were made difficult as the wind whipped around The Den

Gary Rowett's Millwall could claim a few first-half rounds - to borrow boxing parlance - having caused problems for their visitors in the opening 45 minutes.

Wallace was a menace going forward and Republic of Ireland under-21 player Jayson Molumby was another figure of influence with the ball.

However, after the break they spent large periods under pressure, but refused to buckle further when West Brom threatened to cut loose and remained a danger from set-pieces.

The league leaders have tough games against Reading, Forest, Bristol City and Preston before the end of February, while Millwall - who are five points off the play-offs places and have their own lingering promotion hopes - have Fulham, Preston and Wigan to come.

Millwall boss Gary Rowett told BBC Radio London:

"You have to first give credit to our opponents, they were very, very good and showed alongside Leeds that they're a top side and make it difficult.

"We're the sort of side that has to start well and at tempo and we've got to be at our best to make games like this difficult for any opponent. We didn't do that, we started a bit naively, we made the game really nice for some reason early on which was quite surprising and that set the tempo for what was to come.

"They opened us up too easily for my liking, we weren't solid enough and made it difficult from the start. We didn't really get out of that, we had a few moments where Jed [Wallace] had a few half-chances, but didn't play with enough composure or quality to make it a 10-15 minute spell. It was a disappointing performance today for different reasons."

West Bromwich Albion boss Slaven Bilic told BBC WM:

"The performance is what pleases me the most, it is why I'm emotional now. I said to the guys, it has to be like this, this is the minimum standard now we have to do in a physical way. This makes you happy and confident.

"To come here and not just match them, but better them in a physicality against a team who are best in the league for that, that means something.

"If it's like that you have more chance to get a result. I'm extremely pleased with everybody, every single part of the squad. We were good.

"It was a well-taken first goal and Filip [Krovinovic] was very good in defence. It wasn't only the goal, how much he kept the ball and created chances, it's also the defending. He was winning balls in the air and that's determination and character."

Line-ups

Millwall

  • 33Bialkowski
  • 12Romeo
  • 4Hutchinson
  • 5Cooper
  • 3Wallace
  • 6WilliamsSubstituted forBradshawat 77'minutes
  • 19Woods
  • 7Wallace
  • 16Molumby
  • 22O'BrienSubstituted forMahoneyat 59'minutes
  • 10SmithBooked at 23minsSubstituted forBödvarssonat 59'minutesBooked at 90mins

Substitutes

  • 9Bradshaw
  • 11Ferguson
  • 14Steele
  • 15Pearce
  • 21Mahoney
  • 23Bödvarsson
  • 26Skalak

West Brom

  • 1Johnstone
  • 27O'SheaBooked at 90mins
  • 6Ajayi
  • 5Bartley
  • 14Townsend
  • 8Livermore
  • 19Sawyers
  • 12Costa PereiraSubstituted forPhillipsat 76'minutes
  • 7Krovinovic
  • 47RobinsonBooked at 50minsSubstituted forGrosickiat 66'minutes
  • 4Robson-KanuSubstituted forAustinat 90+1'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Furlong
  • 10Phillips
  • 13Grosicki
  • 15Austin
  • 16Harper
  • 23Bond
  • 26Hegazi
Referee:
Gavin Ward
Attendance:
13,818

Match Stats

Home TeamMillwallAway TeamWest Brom
Possession
Home48%
Away52%
Shots
Home7
Away28
Shots on Target
Home3
Away6
Corners
Home4
Away9
Fouls
Home11
Away14

Live Text

Match ends, Millwall 0, West Bromwich Albion 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Millwall 0, West Bromwich Albion 2.

Offside, West Bromwich Albion. Matt Phillips tries a through ball, but Charlie Austin is caught offside.

Attempt blocked. Charlie Austin (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Filip Krovinovic.

Romaine Sawyers (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Mahlon Romeo (Millwall).

Attempt missed. Kamil Grosicki (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right following a fast break.

Attempt blocked. Jed Wallace (Millwall) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Booking

Dara O'Shea (West Bromwich Albion) is shown the yellow card.

Booking

Jón Dadi Bödvarsson (Millwall) is shown the yellow card.

Substitution

Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Charlie Austin replaces Hal Robson-Kanu.

Corner, Millwall. Conceded by Sam Johnstone.

Attempt saved. Jed Wallace (Millwall) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.

Foul by Romaine Sawyers (West Bromwich Albion).

Mahlon Romeo (Millwall) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Romaine Sawyers (West Bromwich Albion).

Jed Wallace (Millwall) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Offside, West Bromwich Albion. Conor Townsend tries a through ball, but Kamil Grosicki is caught offside.

Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Ryan Woods.

Attempt blocked. Kamil Grosicki (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Matt Phillips.

Foul by Kamil Grosicki (West Bromwich Albion).

Mahlon Romeo (Millwall) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Goal!

Goal! Millwall 0, West Bromwich Albion 2. Dara O'Shea (West Bromwich Albion) header from the right side of the six yard box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Kamil Grosicki with a cross following a corner.

Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Jake Cooper.

Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Connor Mahoney.

Attempt saved. Jed Wallace (Millwall) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Tom Bradshaw.

Attempt missed. Matt Phillips (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Filip Krovinovic.

Substitution

Substitution, Millwall. Tom Bradshaw replaces Shaun Williams.

Substitution

Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Matt Phillips replaces Matheus Pereira.

Kamil Grosicki (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ryan Woods (Millwall).

Attempt blocked. Jed Wallace (Millwall) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Offside, Millwall. Jake Cooper tries a through ball, but Jón Dadi Bödvarsson is caught offside.

Foul by Semi Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion).

Shaun Williams (Millwall) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt blocked. Romaine Sawyers (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Matheus Pereira.

Attempt blocked. Kamil Grosicki (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Hal Robson-Kanu.

Attempt missed. Matheus Pereira (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Hal Robson-Kanu.

Attempt missed. Dara O'Shea (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

Attempt blocked. Hal Robson-Kanu (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jake Livermore.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1West Brom311611455332259
2Leeds31167846291755
3Fulham31167846321455
4Nottm Forest31159743301354
5Brentford311651052252753
6Preston3114894536950
7Bristol City3114894543250
8Cardiff31111374343046
9Swansea31121093737046
10Millwall31111283837145
11Sheff Wed31128114134744
12Blackburn31128114338544
13Derby311110103841-343
14Hull31117134344-140
15Birmingham31117134048-840
16Reading31109123735239
17QPR31115154756-938
18Middlesbrough31812113240-836
19Huddersfield3198143748-1135
20Stoke31104173947-834
21Charlton3189144045-533
22Wigan3178162946-1729
23Barnsley31510163757-2025
24Luton3173213766-2924
View full Championship table

Top Stories