City took the lead through a Jake Cooper own goal and doubled their lead in a dominant first-half display, before a Jed Wallace penalty provided a late scare for the Sky Blues.
Mark Robins made two changes from the side that travelled to Preston in midweek with both Sam McCallum and Jordan Shipley returning to the side.
The Sky Blues’ first game of the New Year began with disappointment after Matty Godden, whose header flashed just wide of the Millwall post inside 6 minutes, was forced off through injury in the opening quarter of an hour. However, City’s fortunes were reversed only a few minutes later as Mark Robins’ side opened the scoring.
Callum O’Hare played a perfectly weighted switch pass from the right flank to find Jordan Shipley free in the box. The midfielder struck the post with a powerful half-volley towards the far corner, but the loose ball cannoned off the knee of centre-back Jake Cooper to hand the Sky Blues the lead.
City continued their close to perfect start to 2021 through Gus Hamer, as he doubled his side’s advantage. Standing over a free-kick on the edge of the area, his initial effort was blocked by the wall, but the Dutchman produced an arrowed volley from the rebounding ball into the bottom corner, beating the unsighted Bartosz Bialkowski.
Hamer appeared to be immediately buoyed by his goal as it only took a moment for him to seek out his second of the game. Picking up the ball in his trademark position outside the area, he unleashed a low drive from 20 yards, forcing a smart save to the Millwall ‘keeper’s right.
Not content with a two-goal margin, City continued to break forward inn the closing stages of the first-half. O’Hare initiated a swift counter-attack with a deft touch to round his marker in the attacking third, before laying the ball off to Sheaf on the left channel inside the box, whose shot at a tight angle was saved at the near post.
The team persisted with their attacking intent right into added time. Working a short corner to find Dabo in space on the right flank, the wingback worked the ball to the byline. Steering in a dangerous cross, the ball was met forcefully by Jake Cooper, who saw his header smash off the crossbar to prevent an unlikely brace for the Millwall defender.
HALF-TIME: MILLWALL 0-2 SKY BLUES
The Sky Blues continued their scintillating form after the interval, striking the woodwork inside a minute. Jordan Shipley collected the ball at distance, carrying the ball towards the edge of the box before striking the post from 25 yards out with a fierce drive.
Millwall had their first real opportunity to threaten Ben Wilson on 55 minutes through Tom Bradshaw. The striker ran clear of the City defence to be through on goal but, with players bearing down on him, he could only blaze his effort wide of the near post.
Working the ball well throughout the game, O’Hare and McCallum were involved in a move just after hour mark that typified City’s link up play. O’Hare held the ball up well in the left channel before engineering space to play a reverse pass to Sam McCallum, whose low cross from the byline narrowly evaded a runner at the front post.
City continued to venture down the left and it was Ryan Giles who was the next to go close to giving the Sky Blues an unassailable lead. His high, looping cross appeared to be sneaking under the Millwall crossbar, but he was denied by an alert Bialkowski.
Despite the game having been one-way traffic throughout, Millwall were handed a lifeline with 15 minutes remaining, with the home side being awarded a penalty. Jed Wallace was the player to convert from the spot after Troy Parrot was brought down inside the 18-yard box.
Undeterred by the late setback, City continued to push forwards and it was Giles, again, who went close with 10 minutes left. Playing in a more advanced wide role, his shot from distance was tipped around the post by Bialkowski.
Callum O’Hare almost but the game beyond doubt on 85 minutes, as he pickpocketed a Millwall to run through on goal. One on one with the ‘keeper, he feinted to send Bialkowski the wrong way but the Polish international was equal to it, sending the ball away for a corner.
Millwall were determined to fight for a point until the final whistle but City defended resolutely, as the home side piled on the pressure, to seal a well-earned victory.
FULL-TIME: MILLWALL 1-2 SKY BLUES
Goals: Jordan Shipley (21’), Gus Hamer (26’), Jed Wallace (74’)
Yellows: Ryan Woods
Reds: Murray Wallace
Millwall XI: Bartosz Bialkowski (GK), Murray Wallace, Shaun Hutchinson (C), Jake Cooper, Shaun Williams (Smith, 85’), Jed Wallace, Ryan Woods, Mahlon Romeo (Burey, 85’), Mason Bennett (Malone, 45’), Tom Bradshaw (Zohore, 68’), Jon Dadi Bodvarsson (Parrott, 45’)
Unused Subs: Frank Fielding (GK), Ben Thompson, Ryan Leonard, Shane Ferguson,
Sky Blues XI: Ben Wilson (GK), Fankaty Dabo, Leo Ostigard, Kyle McFadzean (C), Dom Hyam, Sam McCallum, Gustavo Hamer, Ben Sheaf, Jordan Shipley (Giles, 67’), Callum O’Hare, Matty Godden (Biamou, 15’)
Unused Subs: Lee Camp (GK), Julien Dacosta, Jordon Thompson, Marcel Hilssner, Jamie Allen, Will Bapaga, Amadou Bakayoko