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Four takeaways from Millwall’s 4-1 win against Barnsley – Lions keep play-off hopes alive through Danny McNamara’s double – South London News

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Millwall eased to a comfortable 4-1 victory over a struggling Barnsley at The Den on Saturday afternoon.

A first goal in a Lions shirt for Danny McNamara gave them the lead in the first half before the academy product doubled it straight after half-time when he nodded home Scott Malone’s cross.

Romal Palmer halved the deficit just after, but Oliver Burke’s first goal for the South London club and Benik Afobe’s eleventh of the season saw the Lions pick up a valuable three points.

Here are Kai Bennett’s four takeaways:

LIONS DO LEAGUE DOUBLE OVER TYKES

Every team has a bogey team or a side they always find it hard to beat even when they are in great form. For Millwall, that team is Barnsley, and the Lions have always seemed to struggle against The Tykes.

The South London club lost in the League One play-off final against Barnsley in the 2016/17 season before being promoted the following season when they defeated Bradford City 1-0.

Millwall did beat the Yorkshire side earlier on in the season when Murray Wallace’s header one minute from time gave the Lions all three points.

But they haven’t completed a league double over the Tykes since the 1993/94 season until now. Back then, both sides were in Division 1 – and Millwall ran out 2-0 winners at home and 1-0 victors away.

Now Millwall have set that record straight – a dominant and clinical performance gives the Lions a league double over Barnsley for the first time in just under 30 years.

DANNY MCNAMARA AND LONDON BUSES

They always say you wait ages for London buses, and then two come around at once, a bit like Danny McNamara and goals then.

The Lions academy product made his 50th appearance for the South London club on Saturday afternoon and marked the occasion with his first two goals in a Millwall shirt.

The first one was a nicely timed run and finish, which put the Lions 1-0 up at the break. Straight after the break, he was at it again when the 23-year-old got on the end of a Scott Malone delivery.

Earlier in the season, Gary Rowett called on McNamara to add more numbers to his game – goals and assists – and the brace he scored against Barnsley should give him the confidence to do more of that.

BENIK AFOBE ON A HOT STREAK 

The Stoke City loanee scored Millwall’s fourth 4-1 victory over Barnsley – a calmly taken finish after Jake Cooper had nodded down to him.

That was Afobe’s fourth goal in four games for Millwall, and that takes him onto eleven Championship goals for the season – his best return since the 2015/16 season when he scored 14 goals in all competitions.

With five games to go and just three behind the total from six seasons ago, Afobe could top that, and if he does, the goals will be precious for Millwall and their play-off hopes.

The striker also won five aerial duels against the Tykes – only Daniel Ballard won the same amount.

PLAY-OFF HOPES STILL ALIVE?

After the Swansea defeat, you felt Millwall had to beat Barnsley if they were going to keep their top-six ambitions alive, and they did – which puts them back in the mix with five games to go.

Despite the Lions being four points off the play-off positions, Millwall have a slightly more favourable run-in than the other clubs – even though there are no easy games in the Championship.

Home games against Hull and Peterborough and away games against Preston North End, Birmingham City and Bournemouth – only the Cherries are currently above Millwall in the table.

If the Lions are to make that top six, goals are going to be a crucial factor, and if they can be as clinical as they were against the Tykes, that will stand them in good stead.

PHOTOS: BRIAN TONKS

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