Wonder Wall: Leeds loanee was fantastic in Millwall’s win at Portsmouth

12:36 11 April 2012

Maik Taylor has kept four clean sheets in seven games for Millwall

Maik Taylor has kept four clean sheets in seven games for Millwall

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“On three occasions Taylor pulled of match winning saves, none more important than in the 90th minute where he got fingertips to Kelvin Etuhu’s long range strike.”

Millwall are all but safe after their 1-0 win against Portsmouth. The Lions are now eight points clear of the Championship trap door, and condemning Portsmouth to League One next season.

The first double over a team in the league this season, and only second 1-0 win of the campaign, the first of which was Boxing Day against, Portsmouth.

The performance at Fratton Park was gritty and resolute. Harry Kane’s seventh goal of the season secured the vital victory, but the defensive display was what won the game. From front to back the whole team put a shift in. It was a performance reminiscent of many defensive displays from last campaign.

Maik Taylor was my pick of the bunch last night. On three occasions Taylor pulled of match winning saves, none more important than in the 90th minute where he got fingertips to Kelvin Etuhu’s long range strike. Taylor has commanded his area manfully and looks confident between the sticks, an astute singing, typical of Manager Kenny Jackett that has paid off.

All but safe but one more point should do it.

Kenny Jackett has said this season was a transitional one. I understand that now. During last night’s game, after about 70 minutes, it hit me.

When Portsmouth were rushing, lumping it up to Marko Futacs when winning the ball back. This contrast to how Millwall reacted to pressure and build up play was quite the opposite.

When we won the ball back, we were calm and thoughtful in possession. Getting the ball down and passing our way out of trouble. Two main keys to that cog is Josh Wright and Jimmy Abdou. Jimmy will break up the play and destroy attacks from the opposition. That is when Wright comes in and dictates the pace and plays the simple ball more often than not to give the lions control of proceedings.

Both teams were fighting for their lives but the contrast in how organised and composed on the ball the teams were showed me what I had failed to see all season.

It has taken the majority of the season and many a player with combinations a plenty, but KJ has succeeded. His best eleven has been found, the way he wants the team to play has been translated into performances on the pitch.

It has taken all season but the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Eight points clear of the drop and playing cool under intense pressure has seen the Lions all but safe and the transition a successful one. However it remains to be seen if Millwall can keep it up next season and mount a real play-off charge, but realistically a top twelve finish should be the aim.

The Lions staying up and wining our last two games we needed the wins most, with three consecutive clean sheets will make Millwall legend, Barry Kitchener proud. Kitch, who remains Millwall’s all time appearance record holder sadly passed away after a short battle with cancer on March 30th will forever be in the hearts of all associated with Millwall. That’s for you, Kitch.

We are staying up.

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