Millwall gaffer Neil Harris has praised the professionalism of his players after a convincing 3-1 victory over Port Vale.
The Lions shot out of the starting blocks during the League One clash on Sunday, January 17 and looked the most dominant through the opening stages.
Harris said his side were “excellent” in the first half and added: “The hold up play from my forward players during that period was as good as we have seen from them this season, and on this occasion we took our chances when they came along.”
The home side showed no signs of tiredness following their 0-2 defeat against Oxford in the Johnston’s Paint Trophy on January 14 and instead capitalised on a sluggish away team with neat passing and tight midfield play.
Harris’ men reaped their reward for the early pressure when Lee Gregory netted a solid header on the 14-minute mark.
Vale came charging back, showing sparks of potential in midfield, yet lacking a killer finish.
Although their defence - bar Carl Dickinson and platinum blond Ryan McGivern - looked a little dodgy, the Midlands side gradually got into their groove.
The turning point came on the 34-minute mark, when hugely inconsistent referee Andy Davies seemed again to don the role of Millwall’s 12th man.
In a decision which had the travelling supporters up in arms, he deemed a tackle by defender Dickinson to warrant one of the softest penalty decisions you’ll see this side of Christmas.
Gregory’s left-hand side shot nestled neatly into the corner and the game turned well and truly in favour of the home side.
A shot from Steve Morison found the back of the net on the stroke of half time and seemed to seal the deal.
Vale started the brighter of the sides in the second half and gave supporters who had shunned Sunday dinner for a trip to south east London something to smile about with a goal from imposing forward JJ Hooper on the 61st, but it all seemed a tad too little, too late.
The result sees the home side end a dismal run of four successive home defeats.
Harris told the Millwall website : “I said at the start of the season that we’ll try to be attacking and score goals, and to have three players in double figures at this stage is a good achievement, but as a team we need to be more consistent with our goalscoring and likewise in terms of keeping clean sheets at the other end.
“It was an important result for us, catching up on the teams who played yesterday and to build on last week’s win at Oldham. We are still very much a work in progress with lots of room for improvement, but we have a good group of players willing to learn and develop which gives us plenty to work with.”