Gary Rowett rues Millwall’s inability to cope under pressure after play-off miss

By Sports Desk May 08, 2023

Gary Rowett rued Millwall’s inability to cope with the pressure of their play-off pursuit after they surrendered a two-goal lead and their top-six spot in a 4-3 Sky Bet Championship defeat against Blackburn.

The Lions went into the final-day showdown at The Den knowing a win would keep their dream to reach the Premier League alive and raced into a 3-1 half-time lead courtesy of Duncan Watmore’s brace and an addition from Oliver Burke.

But Joe Rankin-Costello’s close-range finish saw the momentum shift Blackburn’s way and Ben Brereton Diaz’s double completed a remarkable turnaround, with Sunderland claiming the final play-off berth at the expense of both sides courtesy of a 3-0 win at Preston.

“As soon as their (Blackburn’s) second went in, you could see the nerves appear in the team and space began to open up everywhere,” Rowett said.

“We got ourselves into a brilliant position but you have to handle these big moments, you have to do the right things and show control and calmness. That was something we needed to do better.

“Sometimes games throw different challenges and you either deal with them or you don’t – we didn’t and we have to work out the reasons why.

“We had to be resilient. We haven’t conceded four in a game all season before now, which shows what pressure does.

“Their fourth goal was immaterial, it was the third one which hurt us. We knew the other results, so we knew we needed a winner.

“In some ways, I’d have taken losing 1-0 more easily than losing 4-3 from 3-1 up as it feels like we’ve let it slip through our fingers.

“The season as a whole has been strong, one of progress, but at this moment in time it feels like an excuse to use that.”

Blackburn leapfrogged Millwall into seventh as a result of their victory but manager Jon Dahl Tomasson could not hide his disappointment after missing out on the play-offs on goal difference.

Rovers spent much of the season in the top six but a winless eight-match run going into this clash ultimately proved costly.

Blackburn scored the fewest goals of any side in the top 10 and their Danish boss said: “It is extremely disappointing to miss out on goal difference but we all know why we are not in the play-offs.

“We have been lacking goals – to score four today is part of life.

“We were a bit nervous at the beginning but after Adam (Wharton) equalised, we were in control before giving two stupid goals away.

“The second half was exceptional. I told the boys in that dressing room at half-time that if we got one back, we could win the game and we did it.

“This is not an easy place to come to, so to be 3-1 behind and turn it around like we did was excellent.”

Tomasson went on to confirm Rovers’ match-winner Brereton Diaz had played his last game for the club but praised the Chile international – who is out of contract this summer and has been linked with a move to Villarreal – for going out on a high.

“Ben has done really well for the club and I’m really happy for him to end with goals and play like that,” he added. “He’s a brilliant lad.”

Related items

  • T&T suffer first half blitz in 0-6 defeat to Mexico in League A T&T suffer first half blitz in 0-6 defeat to Mexico in League A

    Six goals in the first half propelled Mexico to a commanding 6-0 victory against Trinidad and Tobago in Group A of League A of the Road to the Concacaf Women's Gold Cup on Tuesday night at the Estadio Hidalgo in Pachuca, Mexico.

    With the win, Mexico now sits in first place in the group with six points through two matches, while Trinidad and Tobago remain on zero points after one game.

    Mexico wasted no time in getting on the scoreboard, as Maria Sanchez scored for the second game in a row by stabbing home a cross from Scarlett Camberos before the three-minute mark for a 1-0 lead.

    Greta Espinoza quickly doubled the advantage to 2-0 in the 10th when Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Kimika Forbes spilled a long-range shot, allowing Espinoza to stroke home the rebound.

    Mexico then made it 3-0 in the 19th with a sparkling goal in transition that saw Alicia Cervantes polish off the counterattack with a right-footed laser into net.

    A long-distance effort from Alexia Delgado that rolled off the fingertips of Forbes and into goal extended it to 4-0 in the 25th, followed by Charlyn Corral turning in a blocked shot in the 39th for a 5-0 lead.

    Corral was instrumental again in the 42nd, sending in a cross that allowed that was tapped home by Cervantes to stretch it to 6-0.

    With the six-goal advantage, Mexico could play to their liking and patiently wait to carve out any further scoring chances. However, the Trinidad and Tobago defence held firm in the second 45, leading to the 6-0 final.

  • Arnicka Louis hits four as St Lucia roll over Guadeloupe in Group B of League C Arnicka Louis hits four as St Lucia roll over Guadeloupe in Group B of League C

    Arnicka Louis scored four goals to lead the way in a 5-1 victory for St Lucia at Guadeloupe in Group B of League C on the Road to the Concacaf Women's Gold Cup on Tuesday at the Stade Pierre-Aliker in Fort-de-France, Guadeloupe.

    St Lucia came storming out of the ages, taking a 1-0 lead just one minute into the match when Shamalyn Albert made a dashing run down the left flank and crossed for Louis, who had an easy finish into net. It was the earliest goal scored by a player at this stage of the tournament.

    Guadeloupe had a great chance at pulling level in the 20th on a well-struck left-footed free kick from Jalna Lepante, but Saint Lucia goalkeeper Kenna Lionel did enough to parry it off the post and out of play.

    Lepante would get another chance though, this time in the 37th during the run of play and she finished with aplomb, stroking a shot past St Lucia back-up goalkeeper Renala Francis to even the score at 1-1.

    Back came St Lucia and it was Louis again finishing an incredible 70-yard run in first half stoppage time for a 2-1 lead.

    Arnicka Louis then picked up where she left off, completing her hat trick less than two minutes into the second half by tucking away a shot after a deflection in the area to make it 3-1.

    Louis then capped off her memorable outing with an excellent finish in the 80th off a long ball from defender Eartha Pond for a 4-1 advantage.

    The 5-1 scoreline was completed in the 87th with Eartha Pond again providing service with a long ball and Ellaisa Marquis polishing things off with a goal.

  • Bermuda, Dom Rep, down Barbados and St Vincent and the Grenadines in League B Bermuda, Dom Rep, down Barbados and St Vincent and the Grenadines in League B

    The spotlight was on Group C of League B in the 2023 Road to the Concacaf Women's Gold Cup tournament on Tuesday night.

    Bermuda sits atop Group C with two victories to start its campaign. The Dominican Republic picked up its first victory, but Barbados maintains second place in the group on goal differential, while St Vincent and the Grenadines will use the break to reassess and return stronger during the October international fixtures.

    Saint Vincent and the Grenadines vs. Bermuda

    Bermuda took a 4-0 victory at Saint Vincent and the Grenadines at the Arnos Vale Stadium in Kingstown, St Vincent and the Grenadines.

    The home side generated a good chance to take the lead early in the 11th when a corner kick provided a menacing opportunity, but Dionte Delpeche could not connect with Asha Richards.

    Jya Ratteray Smith took the lead for the visitors in the 14th, after connecting off a long pass into the box from Khyla Brangman.

    Smith doubled the lead by completing her brace in the 39th, after Symira Lowe Derrell won a contested ball in midfield to provide the assist.

    Eva Frazzoni added a third goal in the 78th after connecting with a pass down the right flank from Trinae Edwards.

    Khyla Brangman extended the lead to four in the 86th from the penalty spot. Frazzoni was taken down on the previous play.

    Dominican Republic vs. Barbados

    The Dominican Republic earned a 3-0 victory over Barbados at the Felix Sanchez Olympic Stadium in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

    Acacia Small nearly had the visitors up in the sixth, but Odaliana Gomez, was there to block the shot on a night where she would collect the clean sheet.

    Barbados goalkeeper Kamillah Burke also had a goal-denying save in the 20th, as she stood in the way of Vanessa Kara.

    Kara broke through with the opening goal in the 39th with a pouncing run into the box to collect the ball and shoot it past Burke. 

    Brianne Reed extended the lead by two in the 53rd by heading in a corner kick from Winibian Peralta. 

    Kara collected her brace in the 55th with another attack into the box as a throw-in led to the three-goal lead.

    Jaylen Vallecillo had a header towards goal in the 73rd as the hosts looked to increase their grasp on the scoreboard. Kara had another shot on goal in the 86th as the home side closed out the result.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.