Cooper’s second half goal sees Millwall complete a league double over Blades


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Jake Cooper’s second half header separated the two sides in an otherwise mundane encounter at the Den as Millwall creep ever closer to the play-off places.

Not only did Millwall record their fourth straight league win, scoring seven and only conceding two, but they also completed the double over Sheffield United. Cooper scored the winner that day in October and must relish playing the Blades as he scored the game’s only goal in South-East London.

The away side can have few complaints as the Lions were just that bit hungrier in a dull first half as well as a far livelier second.

“They killed all the space and defended very well,” Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom said about the period after they went behind.

Millwall only climb up to 11th but because the play-off chasing pack is so tightly contested, a mere five points separate them from Luton Town who now occupy sixth.

The Lions’ next match is at Reading and such fixtures begin to resemble must wins for Gary Rowett’s side with Huddersfield Town, Stoke City and Luton to follow.

On a day of relatively little quality, Rowett was quick to acknowledge the role the supporters played in a tough and grizzly win.

“There’s games like today where the fans have to help us and they did that today.”

United’s promotion challenge will survive this loss. They do fall out of the top six but now have two home games to come against Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough. They could not only boost their own chances but also put a dent in two direct opponents for that top six as those are the two sides directly below them.

The sides above them still have to play each other with the game between Luton and QPR being just one example where sides above the Blades have to lose points. Let us put it another way, the play-off ball is still firmly in their court.

United will have to do better than what they did against the Lions, however. There were few on goal attempts and they lacked guile. They may have opened a crack in the door for Millwall but they still have full control over their own destiny.

Rowett told the media that he regarded the Blades as the best side in the division after Fulham. He did not make that conclusion watching today’s game, but he did admit, he had watched them a lot and he may be right.

The next 13 matches will tell and eight of them are at Bramall Lane with Cardiff City, Reading and Barnsley among the visitors. Sheffield United were poor but they are good enough and have a better finishing schedule than many of the sides around them.

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