Zian Flemming’s early free-kick was enough for Millwall to defeat Watford 1-0 at The Den and make it two wins from two since manager Neil Harris’ return to the club.

With several of their fellow strugglers also picking up results, coming away with maximum points was imperative for the Lions as it keeps them one point clear of the Championship relegation zone.

Watford are six points clear of trouble, but after their fifth defeat in six games their form is leaving them in danger of being dragged into the increasingly congested battle against the drop.

Millwall were ahead after just three minutes when Flemming’s deflected free-kick from over 25 yards out found the bottom corner, with Watford goalkeeper Ben Hamer getting hands to it but unable to keep it out.

The visitors had a quick chance to equalise when some sloppy marking from a throw-in led to Vakoun Bayo firing a shot into the side netting.

Hamer was having an uncomfortable afternoon and almost cost the Hornets for a second time when he allowed a long ball to drift past him, but he was bailed out by Duncan Watmore’s effort from an acute angle striking the post.

Matija Sarkic was tested for the first time at the other end when the Montenegro international got down to keep hold of Yaser Asprilla’s shot.

Captain Wesley Hoedt then bent a free-kick just over for Watford, who remained behind at the break after an error-strewn first-half performance.

Needlessly giving passes away was something that also afflicted Millwall in the opening stages of the second half, leading to what was an untidy period in the game.

The Hornets forged a half-chance in the 57th minute when Jamal Lewis drove a low ball from the left that Bayo could not direct on target after attacking the near post.

Both attacks were feeding off scraps, with Millwall’s Michael Obafemi forced to improvise from a Ryan Leonard long throw as he sent an overhead kick over the bar.

Ismael Kone was brought on by Hornets boss Valerien Ismael alongside Ryan Andrews, and the former sent a long-range effort over with 15 minutes left, with his side still searching for some fluency in attack.

They were at least pushing Millwall further back, although Jake Livermore’s effort from outside the box was easily dealt with by Sarkic.

That was as close as Watford came to forcing an equaliser, despite their late pressure, as the hosts picked up three more vital points.

Watford head coach Valerien Ismael admitted feeling some relief after his side ended their losing streak with a 1-0 win at Rotherham.

Neither side entered the contest with much confidence following three straight defeats apiece but it was Watford who snatched the points thanks to Yaser Asprilla’s second-half strike.

Ismael said: “We were ready for the battle. We spoke about it before the game.

“It was all about the result. We had to be solid and to do the basics right.

“Finally it was another clean sheet. It was very difficult but we managed well.

“Our focus was all about the result. We have had to stay positive. There is no excuse any more – we had to act on the pitch.

“Yaser is a player who has learned a lot this season and he is ready now to have an impact on games. I am very pleased for him.

“We were stronger in the line-up because we expected (a physical) game. We had to protect our goal and we defended well. We knew the ball would be coming in the air.

“It’s a big relief to get three points. The next challenge is to win the next home game.”

Both sides created decent opportunities in the first period. The nearest Watford came was through Asprilla but his deflected effort was just over the bar.

Rotherham’s Peter Kioso looked the dangerman early on and tested Ben Hamer with a header.

Watford went ahead just before the hour-mark, with Asprilla showing real quality to smash beyond Viktor Johansson after the ball had fallen to him on the edge of the area.

Rotherham then did all the pushing. Seb Revan fired just off target and Sean Morrison and Hakeem Odoffin came close with headers.

Watford were defending desperately come the end and it took timely blocks from Jake Livermore and Wesley Hoedt to deny Rotherham.

Millers’ head coach Leam Richardson still only has one win in the hotseat at the New York Stadium and his side are now 14 points from safety.

However, he is managing to remain positive.

He said: “You’re judged on the final result; I think we are up on every stat within the game apart from the result which counts.

“I am disappointed for the players. They gave enough effort and endeavour to get a positive result out of the game. That is where we are.

“I have said it before and I will probably be repeating myself a lot now until the end of the season, I knew the challenge coming in.

“There is no reason why we can’t give a good account of ourselves whether that be on a Saturday or Tuesday or Monday, Thursday, Friday. We have still got points to play for and an end goal.

“It is important we remain positive. It’s easy to ask negative questions.

“The lads know they have got to give a good account of themselves at Ipswich on Tuesday.

“The players were on the floor at the end but you have got to pick them up. There is nothing to gain by being negative.

“We are not kidding ourselves because we know it’s a tough division.

“I have been in worse situations than this and come through it.”

Sheffield Wednesday boss Danny Rohl vowed his team “will fight for everything” to stay in the Championship after their winless run reached three matches with a 0-0 home draw with Watford.

Rohl felt his team deserved to win a game which saw both teams hit the woodwork in the first period and Di’Shon Bernard denied a second-half opener by the impressive Watford goalkeeper Ben Hamer.

The Owls had 19 shots throughout the contest but failed to score against a Watford side who picked up their first clean sheet since November.

Rohl insists his team’s display was not one of a team five points adrift in the relegation zone.

He told a press conference: “We did well as a team but I believe if we do this in the next 17 games we will achieve our goals because this performance is not a performance from a relegation side.

“Of course we need some luck to win some games and the decisions today were not easy to take, but this is football.

“When I arrived the club had no belief, the club in trouble, no positive energy… whereas now my team goes into every game with the conviction we can take something.

“Everyone should be proud of what we have done since I arrived here. As long as I am the manager we will fight for everything.”

The Owls travel to fellow relegation battlers Huddersfield at the weekend and would move within two points of their Yorkshire rivals with victory.

Rohl admits it is an important match but does not think it will decide their fate.

“It’s a big game and we have to be ready for the fight,” he added.

“I also believe this game will not decide whether we stay in the league or not. It’s just another game with three points up for grabs. There is a lot in the game but after we have 16 games to go.”

Watford boss Valerien Ismael blamed the poor conditions as his side missed an opportunity to go within a point of the play-offs and drew for the fourth time in five league outings.

He said: “We will take the point, the pitch was awful and difficult to play football.

“We knew that before and prepared the guys but it was really bad. That’s why it was difficult for us to control the ball as usual and struggled a bit more than usual.

“Nonetheless we had some great chances in the first half to score but we were disciplined, calm and focused on our game.

“It was a tough away game but we finally have a clean sheet after two months and 15 games, but we take what we can get at the minute.”

Sheffield Wednesday’s winless run extended to three matches as they recorded a 0-0 draw at home to Watford in the Championship.

The Owls sit five points from safety after failing to take a number of chances at Hillsborough, while the visitors’ fourth draw in five league games left them three points off the play-off places.

Both sides looked eager to return to winning ways in an entertaining first period in which they each hit the woodwork, firstly the visitors through Matheus Martins before Ike Ugbo rattled the inside of the post for Wednesday.

The hosts went within inches of a breakthrough in the second half when Di’Shon Bernard was denied by Ben Hamer, but they could not find a winner.

Watford looked the more dangerous through the early stages down the right side and Vakoun Bayo’s deflected goal-bound effort tested the concentration of James Beadle.

The Yorkshire side settled into the contest and skipper Barry Bannan let rip with a rocket from 25 yards which was tipped behind by a diving Hamer.

Watford were denied an opener by the frame of the goal on the half-hour mark.

After Tom Dele-Bashiru was brought down just outside the box, Martins’ central free-kick deflected off the wall and Beadle could only watch on as the ball hit a post.

Watford were knocking on the door and should have taken the lead when Dele-Bashiru slipped through Bayo, he passed beyond the onrushing Beadle into the path of Martins who somehow hit the side-netting with an empty goal at his mercy.

It was Wednesday’s turn to strike the post just before the break when Ugbo rifled an effort on to the inside frame of the goal. Anthony Musaba could only guide his rebounded header into the grateful grasp of Hamer.

The chances continued in the second half and Watford went close when Ismael Kone drilled just wide of the target.

Wednesday’s decision making in defence allowed the visitors to put pressure on the goal and the Hornets came close once again when substitute Yaser Asprilla dispossessed Pol Valentin before firing straight at Beadle.

Wednesday thought they had finally opened the scoring midway through the second half. Bannan’s inswinging free-kick found Bernard at the back post who thought he nudged beyond Hamer, only for the Hornets keeper to stop the ball on the line at the second time of trying.

Bannan’s set-pieces were causing problems for the away side and the Owls captain delivered a floater on to the head of Michael Smith who diverted wide.

Wednesday continued to fight until the final whistle but Hamer was once again the saviour for Watford who magnificently kept out Musaba’s 20-yard strike which looked to be heading into the top corner.

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