Play-off chasers Millwall and Bristol City played out a tightly-contested 1-1 draw at the Den this afternoon, in a game that was defined by a lack of quality in the final third.
The visitors dominated the early proceedings and took the lead through Pedro Pereira in the 10th minute but they let Gary Rowett’s side back into the game and the Lions found a deserved equaliser through Matt Smith just after half-time.
It will likely have been a frustrating afternoon for both managers, who will feel their sides have missed out on an opportunity to kick-start their play-off push in a game that lacked any real quality in the final third.
Both sides headed into the game desperate for a win to boost their top-six credentials.
Johnson made four changes from the side that put in a dismal display in midweek and that seemed to do the trick early on as the Robins took control of the game in the opening minutes.
City took a deserved lead in the 10th minute through right-back Pedro Pereira. A short corner was played to Jay Dasilva at the top of the box, whose low whipped cross rebounded into Pereira’s path and the 22-year-old lashed it into the bottom corner.
They could’ve doubled their lead a few minutes alter but a crucial challenge denied Adam Nagy a chance to shoot from inside the box.
City’s goal seemed to spark Millwall into life and the hosts began to build some momentum, though misplaced passes meant chances were hard to come by.
Smith was inches away from pulling level with a diving header just after the half-hour mark but he couldn’t quite get on the end of Jed Wallace’s dangerous cross.
Johnson will likely have been the happier of the two managers to see the break as his City side had begun to fade and much of the last 20 minutes before the break were played in the Robins half.
It continued that way after the break and the pressure eventually told in the 51st minute. After a goalmouth scramble and lots of tussling following a corner, Smith forced the ball into the back of the net via a deflection off Tomas Kalas to give Millwall an equaliser.
With the scores level once again, the Lions laid siege to the City goal and launched wave after wave of attacks but the visitors weathered the storm.
Johnson’s men started to show signs of life with around 25 minutes to go and the City boss threw on Nahki Wells as they searched for a winner.
Clear cut chances were hard to come by for both sides as the final whistle crept closer but the Robins may feel aggreived they were not awarded a penalty with around 10 minutes to go. The ball clearly seemed to strike Murray Wallace’s hand inside the box but the referee waved away appeals.
Both sides pressed for a winner in the closing stages, with the visitors coming closest via some dangerous balls into the box from substitute Niclas Eliasson.
None came though, despite a late penalty appeal for Millwall when Nagy seemed to collide with Jayson Molumby in the City box.
The two sides were forced to settle for a frustrating draw that does little to help their play-off hopes, though Preston North End’s defeat means they have closed the gap on the top six.
Full Time: Millwall 1 – 1 Bristol City