The point that Fulham achieved here can already prove the difference in a promotion race that nobody seems to want to win.
On the positive side for Scott Parker, they were second with Leeds United, a scenario that seemed highly unlikely when the Yorkshire club had a double-digit points advantage over them for Christmas.
They also dealt with a typical Millwall that refused to nod after Jon Dadi Bodvarsson controversially canceled the early opener of Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Aleksandar Mitrovic passes the ball past Bartosz Bialkowski to break the deadlock in The Den
The Serbian striker quickly hit Joe Bryan’s cross to score the opening goal
Fulham’s No. 9 is congratulated by his teammates after scoring in the third minute of the game
MATCHING FACTS AND LEADING LIST
MILLWALL: (3-4-1-2) Bialkowski; Hutchinson, Pearce (Smith 86), Cooper; Romeo, Molumby, Woods (Skalak 86), Murray Wallace; Jed Wallace; Bradshaw (Leonard 77), Bodvarsson
SUBS NOT USED: Steele (GK); Ferguson, Mahoney, O’Brien
GOALS: Bodvarsson (8)
Bookings: Forests (25)
TRAINER: Gary Rowett
FULHAM: (4-3-3) Rodak; Odoi, Hector, Ream, Bryan; Onomah, Arter (Kebano 88), Cairney; Kamara (Cavaleiro 71), Mitrovic, Reid
SUBS NOT USED: Bettinelli (GK); McDonald, Johansen, Ivan, Sessegnon
GOALS: Mitrovic (3)
Bookings: Cairney (61), Arter (81)
TRAINER: Scott Parker
REFEREE: Andrew Madley (West Yorkshire)
MAN OF THE COMPETITION: Michael Hector (Fulham)
EVENT LOCATION: The Den
- League One
- League Two
- Scottish premiership
- Scottish Div 1
- Scottish Div 2
- Scottish Div 3
- Ligue 1
- Series a
- La Liga
But they were also far below their best and might have lost if Jed Wallace hadn’t shot a penalty in the first half.
What a curious Premier League promotion this has become. West Bromwich Albion is closest to a team that had kept pace, but they collapsed in an even stronger position in the fall.
Leeds is doing their best not to fall apart, while Nottingham Forest followed their euphoric win over Leeds over the weekend with a shock defeat to Charlton on Tuesday night.
It was all there for Fulham to take advantage of, but they could only partially benefit after making the perfect start three minutes in.
Harry Arter made a free kick for Joe Bryan, but it seemed that they had ruined the routine when the defenders of Millwall came under pressure.
Repeats show that Jon Dadi Bodvarsson (top left) was offside before scoring
Millwall got the chance to take the lead from the spot, but Jed Wallace did his best
But that seemed to be the cunning plan. After the back line was sucked away, Bryan turned around and crossed from the right and Mitrovic stole behind to put the ball in the bottom corner for his 21st of the season.
It seemed that an easy evening was lurking for the promotion challengers, but Millwall responded to hurricane power.
Only five minutes later and they were flat, albeit in controversial circumstances. Ryan Woods waved in a corner that led Shaun Hutchinson to a dangerous area and Tom Bradshaw shot on.
At the back, Bodvarsson, a fairly tall man to slip away unnoticed, hooked the ball home. Millwall celebrated it, but referee Andrew Madley wanted to consult his assistant, who had not raised his flag.
After a short chat the goal was set but the repetitions clearly showed two Millwall players offside when the defenders of Fulham appeared. Scott Parker was furious on the sidelines, roaring “offside, offside” and with good reason.
The goal rattled Fulham and Millwall did not let up. Their constant hassle forced Fulham to leave their natural passing game for the remainder of the first half.
The usual intelligent movements and phases of fainting from behind were replaced by long balls with heads and hasty strides from the game when Fulham saw forward three sawing services.
Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Tom Bradshaw rue a missed opportunity in the first half on Wednesday
Joe Bryan has his head in his hands after Fulham fails to put a chance in the second half
Millwall’s Bradshaw (second left) has a chance on the goal but is saved by Marek Rodak
In the midst of this, Millwall should have taken the lead. Jed Wallace picked up Mahlon Romeo on the right and Bryan was exposed in one-on-one. While Romeo stepped aside, Bryan cut him out for a clear penalty.
It needed a delicate touch, but Jed Wallace decided to hit the point and the ball hit the crossbar and in the second row with the Fulham fans who had traveled through the city.
Millwall continued to press fearlessly. Romeo marched to the right again and almost caught Marek Rodak with a loft cross shot that had to be pushed away.
And the Icelandic forward Bodvarsson broke out of defensive attention again to direct Jed Wallace’s free kick before Rodak rushed to deny Jed Wallace after Murray Wallace’s perfect pass.
There was some more deception about Fulham after the restart, chasing Bobby Decordova-Reid at a Michael Hector point before shooting wildly wide. Mitrovic waved horror in the middle.
Both sets of players see Ivan Cavaleiro’s header knocking off the bar in standstill time
Harry Arter (left) makes a thoroughbred challenge on Boovarsson and receives a yellow card
More aggressive in their approach and tidier with their deaths, Fulham began to dictate terms. Decordova-Reid ran a few challenges while driving through the middle before shooting very wide.
Parker called for the cavalry, or more specifically Cavaleiro, to replace the ineffective Aboubakar Kamara with 20 minutes to go.
Millwall’s squall had blown out and they hardly disturbed Fulham’s defense after the break, but there was panic when Bradshaw broke only to underestimate his shot and let Rodak be saved.
And there was another element of alarm when Hector’s loose touch in dealing with a cross almost passed Rodak and into his own net.
But Fulham almost got it in the time of stagnation when substitute Neeskens Kebano put a corner of Cavaleiro on the crossbar.