The goal that won Southampton their fourth straight victory from Guly Do Prado was certainly eye catching, but Nigel Adkins, their manager, believed that this performance demonstrated his side's ability to grind out results as well as play good football.
The midfielder ran on to Jack Cork's beautifully weighted through pass and did not even need a touch to steady himself before he calmly curved the ball around Steve Mildenhall in Millwall's goal in the 18th minute. But, though they dominated much of the game, it took a solid defence and goalkeeper on form to stop Millwall scoring.
"We've showed a completely different side to our game than we've done so far this season," said Adkins (below). "We had to defend and we defended very well. There was a lot of energy about the side, we have no divine right to get the ball down and pass it around and the opposition made it very difficult for us.
"I've got an honest, hardworking bunch of players. This result has come on the back of two long journeys away from home. The centre halves, Jose Fonte and Dan Seaborne, have won a hell of a lot of headers and Kelvin Davis has made some great saves."
The points could easily have been shared. Millwall substitute Nadjim Abdou charged down Seaborne's clearance on the hour mark and the block was heading in to the bottom left corner, but Davis got down well to push the ball out.
From the corner, Hameur Bouazza delivered to the back post and Tamika Mkandawire headed towards goal from close range, but the right-back Frazer Richardson blocked the effort on the line. The ball fell to Josh McQuoid whose low shot was heading in, only for Davis to fling himself across goal and save with his left hand.
Millwall's keeper, Mildenhall, was an interesting inclusion. Kenny Jackett, the Millwall manager, dropped David Forde, ending his run of 141 consecutive League matches in goal. It was Mildenhall's League debut. He settled byhalf-time and pulled off a superb save in the 54th minute. Fonte headed Rickie Lambert's long freekick towards the bottom left corner from close range and Mildenhall got down low tohis right to somehow keep the ball out.
It mattered little in the end, though. Millwall have not beaten Southampton in 22 years and will have to wait a little longer as the Saints continued to march on at the top of the League. The newly-promoted side now have four wins in four.
Southampton (4-4-2): Davis; Richardson, Harding, Fonte, Seaborne; Lallana (Fox, 62), Prado, Hammond (Schneiderlin, 46), Cork; Connolly (De Ridder, 69), Lambert.
Millwall (4-4-2): Mildenhall; Dunne, Craig, Robinson, Ward; Bouazza (Hackett, 78), Henry, Trotter (Abdou, 38), Mkandawire; Marquis (McQuoid, 46), Henderson.
Referee Andy D'Urso
Man of the match Prado (Southampton)
Match rating 7/10Reuse content