...By Henry George for TDPel Media.
Blackburn staged a remarkable second-half comeback to beat Millwall 4-3 and dash the London club’s hopes of making the Sky Bet Championship play-offs.
Duncan Watmore’s two goals and Oliver Burke’s addition saw the hosts leading 3-1 at half-time, but Blackburn came back with goals from Joe Rankin-Costello and a brace from Ben Brereton Diaz to secure an unlikely victory.
The win sees Blackburn leapfrogging Millwall and only missing out on a play-off spot themselves on goal difference.
Millwall started brightly, with Watmore opening the scoring after eight minutes when he lashed home a loose ball from a long throw.
They thought they had a second goal a few minutes later, but Tom Bradshaw’s effort was ruled offside.
The hosts regained the ascendancy after Adam Wharton curled Blackburn’s first attempt of the afternoon into the bottom corner from 20 yards, before two goals from Watmore and Burke seemed to have sealed the game before the break.
However, Blackburn came back strongly in the second half, with Rankin-Costello reducing the deficit before Brereton Diaz scored twice to complete the turnaround.
The Chilean striker also hit the post as Blackburn pushed for a winner, and he eventually sealed the victory with a tap-in from Sammie Szmodics’ cross.
Millwall manager Gary Rowett was full of praise for his squad despite the dramatic loss, saying that they had given everything over the course of the season and had worked hard together.
He added that they needed to identify areas where they could improve and strengthen the team.
Rowett had hoped for a play-off appearance, but the loss means that Millwall will not feature in the play-offs for the 21st year running.
The match was a thrilling example of the unpredictability of football and the excitement that it can generate.
The second-half comeback by Blackburn shows the importance of perseverance and determination, even when the odds seem to be against a team.
Millwall’s disappointment highlights the need for resilience in the face of setbacks and the importance of being able to bounce back from defeats.
Despite the result, both teams showed a willingness to fight until the end and demonstrated the passion that makes football such an entertaining sport.