Millwall’s 2019/20 campaign was one of ups and downs. Fans saw the end of an era and the beginning of a new dawn. The season started with the aim of consolidation but ended with a playoff chase going down to the wire. With the campaign now over, here is a look back at five games that defined Millwall’s season.


Wednesday 21st August: Fulham 4 Millwall 0

This defeat was a humiliation and the beginning of the end for Neil Harris. Millwall went to Craven Cottage with two wins from three, in optimistic mood. It didn’t last long.

Fulham played the Lions off the park. The 84.5% possession is now infamous and only tells half the tale. Millwall turned up waiting to be dealt a hiding and duly received one.

They couldn’t lay a glove on Fulham and barely tried to. Even when presented with two chances in the second half, they wasted them.

Millwall’s away form had been terrible under Harris and this was the tipping point. What followed were tepid, fearful displays on the road. Millwall didn’t seem worthy of three points away from the Den and Harris seemed damaged by such a humiliation.

After the game, Harris said that Millwall wouldn’t be the only side that goes to Craven Cottage and ‘gets done like that’. In the end, they were. The following weekend, Fulham would be turned over at home by a crisp, counterattacking display by Nottingham Forest.

Wednesday 2nd October: Luton Town 1 Millwall 1

On Sky, in the rain, Millwall laboured to another away draw. The Lions struggled against the plucky Championship new boys, looking bereft of ideas and imagination. The dire first half performance had the travelling fans calling for change and baying for blood.

The improved second half showed glimpses of what Millwall were capable of. Faint hopes that it could be a blueprint for progress, a side on the way to fixing its issues. Callum McManaman’s late equaliser came as a blow, the draw proved to be the end of the road for Neil Harris.

Neil stepped away, burnt out, drained and needing a fresh start. He had promised a clear out the previous summer, refreshing the squad with new energy, new ideas. This was one step further, sacrificing himself for the good of the club was a noble move and one that proved fruitful for both parties.

Saturday 23rd November: Swansea City 0 Millwall 1

In comes Gary Rowett and the signs of improvement are immediate. After two wins from three, Millwall fans are starting to be impressed by the new manager.

Matt Smith’s 91st-minute winner against Charlton lifted spirits going into the winter international break, on the other side of which lay Rowett’s first big test.

Swansea sat in fourth and Steve Cooper’s young side had been impressing. Millwall headed to Wales, abysmal away record in tow. It turns out, Rowett has a tactical trick up his sleeve.

This was the first glimpse Lions fans got of the new manager’s 5-2-3 system. Millwall sat deep, pressed well, denied Swansea time, and seemed to control the game whilst out of possession.

One little bit of Jed Wallace magic, a sublime free-kick whipped into the top corner, settled the game. His fifth goal in seven games coming in the middle of a hot streak that coincided with Rowett’s arrival, everything was clicking for Millwall.

Friday 6th March: Nottingham Forest 0 Millwall 3

Millwall had faltered somewhat going into this one. A win against Preston had kept them in and around the top six, but that was their only win in eight games before this. Perhaps the Rowett gold dust was wearing off.

Goals were the issue. Millwall had only scored three in the last seven and were struggling to find a solution. January loanee Mason Bennett took a while to get fit but had been impressing off of the bench, a trip to the City Ground could be his chance.

A 13-minute blitzkrieg from the Lions stunned the TV pundits. Matt Smith’s first-half hattrick came as a result of a perfectly executed tactical masterclass from Rowett, outer countering the counter-attack kings.

Bennett and Ferguson caused mayhem down the left; Forest couldn’t lay a finger on Millwall. A simple second half shut out sealed the three points and Millwall’s season had life. Up from 10th to 7th, two points behind stumbling Preston.

Wednesday 8th July: Millwall 0 Middlesbrough 2

After three long months of staring at a ridiculously tight table, the hope and the tension built to dangerous levels. The playoffs seemed so achievable, and they were, if not for Millwall’s slow start.

It took them three games to get back to full speed but after a win against Charlton, the Lions looked as though they may kick on. Neil Warnock (and referee Tim Robinson) had other ideas.

It is easy to blame the referee for the opener, but in truth, Millwall disappointed. They lacked belief, conviction, and energy. Despite coming so close, this game highlighted the shortcomings in the squad. They struggled against a stubborn defence and had little to turn to on the bench.

The season may not have been over until defeat to QPR, but this game summed up Millwall’s issues.