Neil Harris stood pitchside for the first time as manager of Millwall but his presence was unable to add fire to an uninspiring 0-0 draw against Brighton, providing no comfort for the home fans.

Maybe a success at other times – this was, after all, the Lions’ first point since mid-February and an admirable display – but the home side need all three points, every game, to be dragging Rotherham and Fulham into what is becoming a three-team relegation spiral.

The Lions managed just one shot on target, which will be a worry for the new boss, and hearts were in mouths when Brighton full-back Joe Bennett curled a free-kick against keeper David Forde’s crossbar after the break.

Brighton, under Chris Hughton, are improving and could have easily taken all three points but it was desperation and luck that kept the Seagulls at bay and the closest the home side came to a chance was a goal-mouth scramble and a shot dragged wide by Aiden O’Brien despite their valiant efforts to give their new boss a winning start.

Millwall caretaker manager Neil Harris said afterwards: “You can’t accept relegation, we as a club can’t settle for that, and I certainly won’t allow the players to do that.

“Yes we are in a difficult position – the league table doesn’t lie, we are in a tough place – but we have got games to win, performances to give, contracts to be earned by players, and a fan base that are demanding we keep going.”

“To be the better side against a good Brighton team, and go on to keep a clean sheet, is a good starting point for us.”

The battle begins again on Saturday at 1pm away to promotion-chasing Brentford at Griffin Park.