Neil Harris felt Millwall deserved at least a point from tonight’s 2-1 defeat at League One leaders Burton Albion.

Aiden O’Brien saw an early effort ruled out for handball and despite the Lions’ bright start, it was the hosts who broke the deadlock nine minutes before the break.

Nasser El Khayati was fouled just wide of the area by George Saville, who was yellow carded for his troubles.

Mark Duffy played the resulting free-kick short to Damien McCrory and he blasted a powerful shot beyond Jordan Archer from inside the box.

Jon McLaughlin was alert to deny Steve Morison moments later as the Lions tried to make an instant response.

However, it was Burton who pulled further clear in the 42nd minute by launching a quick counter from a Millwall attack, the move ending with El Khayati sweeping a low shot home.

Only a superb reaction stop by Archer prevented El Khayati from adding his second of the game in first half stoppage time, with the keeper again coming to the rescue to make a double save from Tom Naylor.

A double change at the interval saw Saville and Shane Ferguson make way for Ben Thompson and Lee Gregory.

Shaun Williams’ 62nd minute free-kick was deflected just over the bar, while only a crucial block by Thompson thwarted El Khayati's goal-bound shot.

But the visitors were right back in contention with quarter of an hour remaining thanks to Joe Martin, who bundled the ball past McLaughlin following a goalmouth scramble.

O’Brien saw a penalty claim ignored and Millwall almost drew level late on when Fred Onyedinma’s overhead kick flew inches over the bar.

However, a second yellow card for Mark Beevers in stoppage time following a foul on McLaughlin ensured the Londoners ended the game a man short and with nothing to show for a battling display.

Harris said: “On reflection a draw from the game would have probably been fair.

“I wasn’t happy at half-time. I thought we were in charge of the game for large parts of it the first half.

“We gave away two really unprofessional goals. That is what it is.

“The first goal was a poor goal to give away defensively – a lack of communication and of leadership.”

He added: “The second goal we should never concede a goal when we are taking our own set piece. That is poor by us.

“The decision to disallow the (O’Brien) goal probably changed the course of the first half so that was frustrating, but I was pleased with the reaction of the players in the second half.

“We adjusted it. I made two subs and we were much better and arguably maybe deserved something out of the game.”

Harris also revealed he had asked match official Oliver Langford to explain some of his decisions immediately afterwards, notably why O’Brien had not been awarded a spot-kick with the score at 2-1.

The Den chief explained: “I’ve just spoke to the referee, he was good enough to see me and is a nice fella, Oliver.

“He told me there was contact on Aiden in the penalty area so I find it really hard to find why it is not a penalty.

“But we respect the referee’s decision – he does it and he does it quickly but unfortunately he got it wrong and it was a big call because that gets us another goal and gets us at least a point, even we might go on and win it.

“So I’m disappointed. I felt really harshly done by with refereeing decisions tonight and it is probably the first time I’ve said that as Millwall manager.”

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