MIllwall boss Gary Rowett picked a solid side to win at Boreham Wood and they did just that

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Be The Same, But Better

Romance, sentiment, outrageous fortune and weakness of spirit aside, a team 66 pyramid places above their rivals should always win. So it proved at Boreham Wood’s Meadow Park as Millwall glided into the fourth round with shark-eyed ruthlessness. Boreham Wood fielded a physically imposing defence comprised of giants and overlapping wing-backs. So did Millwall, but their players were superior in every department for the entire game, leaving Boreham Wood with nowhere to establish a foothold. And Millwall multi-tasked: when centre back Shaun Hutchinson ambled forwards, he proved stronger than Jamal Fyfield to head Scott Malone’s corner past Nathan Ashmore to score the second.  

Show No Mercy

In theory, this was third round first-timers Boreham Wood’s day, as Chief Executive Charlie Hunter stated in the programme, a quest for “the most momentous underdog victory in the club’s history”. The uncontrollable variables that were the absence of supporters and a noon kick-off squashed any sense of occasion, but, even after Millwall centre half Jake Cooper got himself booked in the first skirmishes, they seized the day. They attacked, but not recklessly and, with Scott Malone especially rampant, they created chance after chance – from a flurry of corners in the first minutes right until added time, when Tom Bradshaw made the last of a clutch of superlative saves from Ashmore, the visitors were ruthless. Unsurprisingly Ashmore was man of the match and, according to Millwall manager Gary Rowett, his team had 29 shots to the hosts’ four.  

Resist Temptation

Rowett selected wisely, eschewing the conflicting temptations to patronise by selecting a gaggle of tyros or fielding the usual suspects who have taken Millwall to an uncomfortable 17th in the Championship. There was rejuvenating new blood surrounded by proven Championship quality. Experienced goalkeeper Frank Fielding hadn’t started a Championship game this season; Dan McNamara and Tyler Burey hadn’t previously begun any Millwall game before, while West Bromwich Albion loanee Kenneth Zohore started for the first time since his October calf injury. Fielding was mostly unemployed; McNamara, “played with real composure” noted Rowett; Burey showed raw promise and Zohore expertly scored Millwall’s tidy opener.  

Take Out An Insurance Policy

Boreham Wood were restricted to just one chance, but if at any point, Millwall’s best-laid plans had threatened to go awry, Rowett could have re-calibrated. His bench brimmed with tie-rescuing talent, but the finest tribute to Millwall getting it right was that regulars Jed Wallace, Bartosz Bialkowski and Mahlon Romeo were not required.