History books are there to be re-written.
This past Tuesday, two records that stood for 14 and 24 years respectively were scrubbed out and replaced, largely thanks to Millwall’s number 9, Lee Gregory.
The Lions advanced to the Southern Section Semi-Finals of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy with an entertaining 5-3 over Plymouth Argyle at Home Park, with Gregory bagging four of the quintet of strikes – albeit with one being a matter for the dubious goals panel.
The score-line meant a first five-goal away haul for the Lions since a 5-1 win at Cambridge United in April 2001, whilst the former non-league striker became the first man since Teddy Sheringham in 1991 to bag a quartet of goals in one game.
That took Gregory’s total for the season to nine (in all competitions), with Millwall’s two other strikers, Aiden O’Brien and Steve Morison, sitting on nine and six respectively (also in all competitions).
It also meant that the Lions have now scored 36 goals this season, stretching from Morison’s strike v Shrewsbury on the opening day, to O’Brien’s goal on Tuesday night; last season, Millwall netted just 46 times overall. 4-4-2 is outdated, eh, Holloway…
Anyway – the fact of the matter is that the Lions are firing on all cylinders and whilst the goals are flowing throughout the side, the majority of them are coming from the strikers – the way it should be.
Gregory, O’Brien and Morison are part of a united side pushing for the top-six as Christmas nears, but let’s focus on the three frontmen for the purposes of this blog.
Despite some making assumptions on my behalf, due to Twitter’s character limit, I’ve never had the space to allow my true opinion of Lee Gregory to surface. So, here it is.
Let’s get something straight from the off – neither I nor anyone else has ever claimed that Gregory is the messiah. What he is is a grafter, an honest footballer and a threat to many defences. He is also a striker that has now scored 18 goals for Millwall in not even one and a half seasons – blowing the ‘he doesn’t score enough’ stance from some out of the water. Penalties? Last time I checked, they’re goals just as much as other ones are.
He will have bad games – by his own admission, he has done so – but he will also have good games. Every footballer has them. For every miss on the goal-line v Coventry, there will be a wonderful finish v Brighton. What I can’t accept – bar the lost causes who have an irrational hatred for no reason – is people flatly refusing to accept the good that comes from Lee Gregory, whilst playing up the bad like it happens all the time. Off the back of Tuesday’s result, I’ve seen people attempting to play down his four-goal haul – instead of congratulating the man on scoring for fun and putting us in the next round of the cup, people are trying their hardest to play it down. I find that embarrassing.
In my opinion, Shaun Cummings is the worst right-back seen at Millwall for years. If he scored a goal or made a match-saving block, I would get behind him – he is a Millwall player. It’s about time some of you did the same with Gregory.
Moving on to O’Brien (whom consequently received rave reviews after his hat-trick v Crewe from Gregory’s doubters – Plymouth are one place below the Alex in the pyramid), the Irishman has been one of the stars of the show this season since coming back from injury. His quick feet, decisiveness in front of goal and footballing brain have outfoxed many a defence so far this year – long may it continue. His head will without doubt be turned by interest from elsewhere in the January transfer window, but hopefully his undoubted commitment to the cause will see him stay in SE16. If we are to push for the top-six in the new year, Aiden O’Brien will be a key component in doing so.
Lastly, for me, I’m more a fan of this Steve Morison than I was of the previous version. Now in a senior role, Moro has proved a positive influence on his strike partners this season, whilst lending his weight, too. By his own admission, he’d probably say that he should be in double figures already – he should’ve reached them v Swindon and Doncaster – but I’m sure he’ll get there sooner rather than later. The fact that he has been given the captain’s armband in Tony Craig’s absence speaks volume of the player he has become in his later years.
All three will have their sights set on 15 goals each come May at the least – John Berylson has wanted to be ‘striker rich’ since arriving at the club – he has finally got his wish.