Millwall’s Championship play-off hopes suffered a setback as Joel Piroe’s clinical finish gave Swansea City victory at the Den.
The Lions’ seven-game unbeaten home run came to an end after Piroe struck in the opening seconds of the second half.
Defeat leaves Millwall four points adrift of the top six with six games remaining.
They will need a strong finish to the season if they are to come through the congested race for a play-off spot.
Swansea, who climb to 14th, have too much to do to reach the play-offs, but Russell Martin’s side are showing promising signs ahead of next season having claimed 10 points from their last four games.
There had been a feeling that this fixture would be tricky for the visitors on the back of their memorable win at Cardiff.
Having achieved the first league double in the history of the south Wales derby, Swansea wobbled in the opening moments when Daniel Ballard headed a Jed Wallace corner over the bar.
Yet Swansea settled and began to ask questions with their trademark passing game, with Michael Obafemi seeing the best chance of the first half saved by Bartosz Bialkowski as he met Hannes Wolf’s cross with a sliding half-volley.
Jay Fulton’s long-ranger forced Bialkowski to parry, and the Millwall goalkeeper was called on again to gather Piroe’s low shot.
Millwall, who concede few goals but do not score many either, rarely threatened as the half wore on, although Swansea were grateful to see Jed Wallace’s shot from the edge of the area deflect wide of the post.
The breakthrough arrived when the elegant Piroe rolled the ball wide for Cyrus Christie and then advanced into the area.
Murray Wallace blocked Christie’s low cross – but only succeeded in teeing up Piroe to drill home the 18th goal of his debut season in English football at the near post.
Millwall responded, with George Saville volleying a yard wide before Danny McNamara’s low drive was parried by Andy Fisher.
Jed Wallace then pulled a shot across the face before Benik Afobe’s 90th-minute header sailed over bar, meaning Swansea could celebrate a third successive away win.
Millwall manager Gary Rowett:
“I thought first half was difficult for us. When we pressed, sometimes you have to take that gamble. They play round it quite well, they are a good side in possession and they are good at what they do.
“I think they have started to see a little bit more consistency in their game.
“I nearly made the changes at half-time. I felt one or two looked a bit leggy after the weekend which was disappointing. I felt we had a bit more zip about our play but it’s a really poor goal to concede just after half-time.
“For the last half hour it was all us. It was us creating the chances but we have got to do better. We couldn’t find that cutting edge at this stage of the season, when you have to find it.”
Swansea head coach Russell Martin:
“That was every bit as good as Saturday in a very different way. The emotional energy that was exerted on Saturday took a lot out of the guys and they also enjoyed the win, which they should have done.
“At times there was some beautiful football. They were so brave against a team who are in such good form and fighting to get to the play-offs.
“I said to Gilly (assistant Matt Gill) on the sideline, I just feel so grateful for what they are doing, what they are buying into and how brave they are being.
“We have finally moved up a little bit in the table. We are in good form. We have kept three clean sheets in a row, we are unbeaten in four. We are very much a work in progress but the boys are really growing.”
- 26BallardBooked at 82mins
- 3M Wallace
- 17SavilleSubstituted forBurkeat 60′minutes
- 7J WallaceSubstituted forOjoat 79′minutes
- 9BradshawSubstituted forKieftenbeldat 60′minutes
- 22LatibeaudiereBooked at 49mins
- 8GrimesBooked at 22mins
- 6FultonSubstituted forSmithat 79′minutes
- 17PiroeSubstituted forPatersonat 78′minutes
- 13WolfSubstituted forNtchamat 63′minutes
- Andy Davies
Match ends, Millwall 0, Swansea City 1.
Second Half ends, Millwall 0, Swansea City 1.
Attempt missed. Dan McNamara (Millwall) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right following a corner.
Corner, Millwall. Conceded by Ryan Manning.
Attempt missed. Jake Cooper (Millwall) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Scott Malone with a cross.
Attempt missed. Benik Afobe (Millwall) header from very close range is just a bit too high. Assisted by Scott Malone with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Millwall. Conceded by Jamie Paterson.
Attempt blocked. Jamie Paterson (Swansea City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Cyrus Christie.
Attempt blocked. Sheyi Ojo (Millwall) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Benik Afobe.
Attempt blocked. Benik Afobe (Millwall) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Danny Ballard with a headed pass.
Corner, Millwall. Conceded by Ryan Manning.
Ryan Manning (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Dan McNamara (Millwall).
Danny Ballard (Millwall) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Michael Obafemi (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Danny Ballard (Millwall).
Corner, Millwall. Conceded by Cyrus Christie.
Attempt saved. Joel Latibeaudiere (Swansea City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Kyle Naughton.
Substitution, Millwall. Sheyi Ojo replaces Jed Wallace.
Substitution, Swansea City. Korey Smith replaces Jay Fulton.
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