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2017/18 English League Championship, Regular Season
  • Shaun Williams (30' PEN)

Millwall end impressive campaign with victory over Aston Villa

Millwall secured their highest league finish since 2002 after Shaun Williams' penalty earned them a 1-0 victory over Championship play-off contenders Aston Villa.
Williams sent goalkeeper Mark Bunn the wrong way from 12 yards on the half-hour mark to secure a seventh-place finish for Neil Harris' side on the final day.
Villa meanwhile were already confirmed to finish fourth in the table and will face Middlesbrough in the play-offs after Patrick Bamford's injury-time equaliser against Ipswich.
Stand-in Villa goalkeeper Bunn, making his first start since January 2017, did well to prevent his side from going behind in the 15th minute.
Aiden O'Brien's attempted cross was heading goalwards, forcing the alert keeper to tip the ball over the bar.
However, he was well beaten by Williams' winner from the spot, awarded by referee Tim Robinson for Henri Lansbury's clumsy foul on Jed Wallace.
Villa's best spell of the first half came after they went behind. Josh Onomah wasted an opportunity, shooting tamely straight at Millwall goalkeeper Jordan Archer after good play by Albert Adomah.
Tottenham loanee Onomah also gave Archer an easy save with a long-range effort three minutes before half-time.
Millwall could have doubled their advantage twice in the early exchanges after the break. First, Williams narrowly headed over Ben Marshall's corner before Fred Onyedinma missed the target having been played through by leading scorer Steve Morison.
Goalkeeper Archer and the Millwall defence were rarely troubled by Villa in the second half, with their best opportunities all coming from distance.
Onomah's spectacular curling effort sailed narrowly over the bar, and Conor Hourihane's drive from 20 yards flew past the upright.
Archer's best save of the game came shortly after the hour, as he flew through the air to tip James Bree's curling effort from the edge of the box out for a corner.
Villa boss Steve Bruce made a triple substitution 16 minutes from time, bringing on Jack Grealish, Robert Snodgrass and former Lions striker Lewis Grabban, to inject life into Villa's sluggish attacking play.
Hourihane tested Archer with a volley shortly after, before Grealish's attempt to equalise at the back post was crucially blocked by Shaun Hutchinson.
Ultimately only late heroics by Bunn prevented Villa falling further behind at The Den.
The Villa goalkeeper kept out Lee Gregory's late penalty, awarded following lengthy consideration by Robinson, after Bree handled Onyedinma's header.
He also, somehow, saved James Meredith's rebound with his feet to keep it at 1-0.

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English League Championship Standings

POS Team GP GD PTS
1 Middlesbrough 13 +9 25
2 Sheffield United 13 +7 25
3 West Bromwich Albion 13 +13 24
4 Leeds United 13 +12 23
5 Derby County 13 +3 21
6 Norwich City 13 +1 21
7 Blackburn Rovers 13 0 21
8 Wigan Athletic 13 -1 20
9 Nottingham Forest 13 +3 19
10 Bristol City 13 +3 19
11 Sheffield Wednesday 13 0 19
12 Brentford 13 +5 18
13 Aston Villa 13 +1 18
14 Birmingham City 13 +2 17
15 Swansea City 13 +2 17
16 Queens Park Rangers 13 -8 17
17 Stoke City 13 -2 16
18 Bolton Wanderers 13 -5 16
19 Reading 13 -3 12
20 Rotherham United 13 -10 12
21 Preston North End 13 -6 10
22 Millwall 13 -8 10
23 Hull City 13 -9 9
24 Ipswich Town 13 -9 9

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