To pick the play-off final to have your worst match in several months was incredibly bad timing and a big let-down for the 30,000 Millwall FC supporters who watched on at Wembley. We went down 3-1 against Barnsley who were well worth their win.
We conceded a goal inside the first two minutes to throw all best laid plans out the window and went two down within 20 minutes making it an uphill task to get back into the match. We got a goal back through Mark Beevers before half time but that was as good as it got. The Tykes were the better side on the day.
The two forced defensive reshuffles – with Mahlon Romeo’s ban and Byron Webster breaking down in the warm-up – were too much for us to cope with. These two have been a vitally important part of why we have been so strong defensively lately and they were sorely missed against Barnsley at Wembley.
Despite the poor performance on Sunday we have come a long way this season. Neil Harris and his staff have managed to turn the club around and get the team fighting for the cause again.
We have scored plenty of goals this season with two potent strikers in Lee Gregory and Steve Morison and a stronger defence at the other end of the pitch. Byron Webster has forged a great partnership with Mark Beevers and goalkeeper Jordan Archer has been a real find. Pleasingly we have been a real threat from set-pieces as well.
If we can keep most of this squad together and be lucky with injuries, there is no reason why we cannot be challenging for automatic promotion this time next year.
We have had an excellent season, far better than we could have expected after the first couple of months when we couldn’t win at home. Progress has been made that we can build on.
The club announced on Monday that midfielder Ed Upson and right-back Carlos Edwards are among seven players who would be released. Byron Webster and Joe Martin both had a 12 month extension clause invoked and a new deal with Mark Beevers is being discussed.
Wing loanee Chris Taylor will return to his parent club Blackburn Rovers. If we don’t move to sign Taylor permanently we would need to get another player in to replace him.
Ian Toal is a committee member at Millwall Supporters Club