This season felt like a breakthrough one for Millwall and they entered the final day of the season with their fate firmly in their hands.

Win and they would book a place in the play-offs, but anything else and they would be relying on the misfortune of others.

The Millwall crowd were rocking after the obligatory coronation weekend national anthem, and the gravity of the occasion was palpable.

Duncan Watmore, days after becoming a father, settled the nerves in the Den with a goal eight minutes in, and the Lions had started perfectly.

Gary Rowett, Millwall’s manager, does not hide the fact that he sets his team up to be strong and resolute in defence, which makes an early goal like gold dust on a day like this.

It was never going to be plain sailing, everyone watching knew that and so when the first equaliser went in there was no panic, but an acceptance there was more work to do.

Millwall are not a high-scoring team, they have benefitted from Tom Bradshaw and Zian Flemming doing the bulk of the heavy lifting this season. It borders on remarkable, their top-scoring list goes Bradshaw 17, Flemming 15 and then plummets to Charlie Cresswell with just four in the Championship this season.

So, when in the space of two minutes Millwall had scored another two goals and neither of their goal scorers had got one, it appeared it truly must be their day. This somewhat forgives the fans that had already declared themselves victors, who can begrudge them for feeling like that, Millwall were rampant.

Despite this, you cannot help but see the funny side of a Millwall fan’s viral clip as he declared: “In the play-offs secured, there’s no way they bottle this.”


At this point the other results were going their way, with Sunderland struggling to find a breakthrough at Preston until two minutes after Blackburn pulled one back through Joe Rankin-Costello.

Amad Diallo, Manchester United’s on-loan forward produced a bit of magic to give Sunderland the lead, which they very quickly doubled and then tripled to ensure they had done their bit.

Back to the Millwall game and the contest turned on its head in a way reminiscient of previous occasions when the Championship has supplied great drama, such as Troy Deeney's goal for Watford in the play-off semi-final against Leicester in 2013.

Ben Breton Diaz showed all the quality of a player who has reportedly already signed a contract with Villarreal as he curled the equaliser past a despairing George Long - Millwall looked shellshocked and defeated.

The winner by Breton Diaz was a mere formality against a team who already knew they had wasted their golden opportunity. The fight was still there, but they had been defeated by football and had no answers.

Millwall’s famous chant of ‘no one likes us’ could not have been truer in the aftermath.

Whether it was taunts from Carlton Cole on Twitter, or Blackburn fans singing the song famously co-opted by West Ham fans I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles’, it is hard to think of another team who can inspire such widespread pleasure from their misfortune.

Millwall will go again next season, they have no choice, but the longer they go without a Championship play-off place, the more this wasted chance will play on their minds.