Matt Smith’s 75th minute equaliser secured a draw for Millwall at the Hawthorns in their first away fixture of the season against West Brom.

Kyle Bartley opened the scoring for the hosts early in the second half, but Smith’s strike cancelled any celebrations for Slaven Bilic’s first home game as West Brom boss.

First Half

With the trip to The Hawthorns being Millwall’s first away fixture of the season, Neil Harris opted to make three changes and alter the formation to the side that beat Preston 1-0 last week at The Den.

A long-term quad injury to Frank Fielding allowed Bart Bialkowski to make his full debut for the Lions in-between the sticks, while the strike partnership of Aiden O’Brien and Matt Smith was replaced by Ryan Leonard and Tom Bradshaw.

After a tedious opening ten minutes, West Brom finally made something of their ball retention when Filip Krovinovic whipped the ball into the back of the net from 25-yards, but fortunately for the Lions, Baggies striker Kenneth Zohore was flagged offside in the build-up.

After sitting back and attempting to break up West Brom’s play, Millwall eventually conjured a chance for themselves when Ben Thompson met Jed Wallace’s teasing cross inside the box, but the headed attempt was just wide of the post.

However, after the chance West Brom resumed control of the game and in the end was rewarded with a golden opportunity on 32 minutes.

Matt Phillips picked Jake Cooper’s pocket and squared it to Zohore inside the six-yard who looked certain to score, but Bialkowski scrambled across his line to deny the striker his first goal for the hosts since his move from Cardiff in the summer.

The Baggies had one more opportunity to get themselves ahead before the break, this time through their short corner tactic which nearly caught Millwall off guard. However, Bialkowski came to the Lions rescue yet again with a fingertip save which ensured Kyle Edwards wasn’t found at the back post.

Second Half

The Baggies came out from the break with their feathers ruffled, as Zohore blasted the ball into the gut of Bialkowski, while Nathan Ferguson forced the Polish international into another save with a drilled shot on 48 minutes.

Kyle Bartley made amends for West Brom’s failed efforts on goal, when he leaped the highest from a Matt Phillips free-kick on the left-hand side to flick it past Bialkowski in the Millwall goal.

Neil Harris introduced Matt Smith after West Brom’s opener and the striker had an instant impact on the game after his header beat Sam Johnstone in the West Brom goal, but also the post.

Smith however, threatened again and this time he was more precise with his chance. The striker managed to mark his first Millwall goal in typical Matt Smith fashion – a scramble tap in from six-yards after a Connor Mahoney corner.

Millwall’s equaliser gave them life in the final ten minutes as they hunted for a winner. Matt Smith again showed he was in the mood when he swivelled his body on the edge of the box to unleash a half-volley that flew over the bar on 75 minutes.

West Brom gave their all in the dying minutes, a the Lions carried out some robust defending to ensure that Smith’s goal was enough to secure a point.


Millwall are notoriously known for making sluggish starts to season, as Christmas is usually their marker to really kick on in a season. However, after last week’s victory against Preston and today’s draw against Slaven Bilic’s West Brom, the Lions have overcome their curse.

Both performances have shown that Neil Harris have got things right in the transfer market as they defended as a unit and was clinical at the right moments.

It is only two games in, but already this season is looking brighter than last and picking up four points from six in their opening two games sets them in good stead to face Sheffield Wednesday next week.


Millwall 4-5-1 : Bialkowski, Romeo (Ferguson 52), Cooper, Pearce, M. Wallace (Smith 64), Thompson, Williams, Leonard, Mahoney, J. Wallace, Bradshaw (Bodvarsson 72).

Subs: Hutchinson, Steele, O’Brien, Skalak.

West Brom 4-5-1: Johnstone, Gibbs, Bartley, Ajayi, Krovinovic, Sawyers, Livermore (Burke 80), Edwards, Phillips (Brunt 86), Ferguson, Zahore