Rovers still have two matches to go – but their lingering, and faint hopes, evaporated after a largely insipid night in south London.

Their ambitions of breaking in to the top six weren’t decided by what happened at the New Den, but any chance of taking their bid to the final two matches ended after a frustrating display.

Rovers are undoubtedly the division’s most unpredictable side, and unfortunately for Tony Mowbray he got the one he wouldn’t have wanted as a Mason Bennett strike in the 20th minute decided this one.

For the Lions, they kept their hopes alive, as Rovers’ dwindled, as despite seeing so much of the ball, Adam Armstrong apart, they struggled to have any attacking impetus.

Mowbray switched personnel and systems in the second half, but it all felt a little muddle as in the end, the hosts eased their way to three points.

If the tone was set by the start, then it wasn’t going to be a great one, Joe Rankin-Costello into the book inside 40 seconds for a late challenge on Mahlon Romeo. Millwall sensed that as an opening, looking to attack Rovers at every opportunity down the flanks.

Their 3-5-2 formation was giving them plenty of joy down the flanks, with early warnings coming via Romeo and Shane Ferguson on the opposite flank.

There had been a moment of life for Rovers in the fifth minute, Adam Armstrong expertly spinning past his marker to race in on goal, but he didn’t catch his strike with the same purchase as we’ve become accustomed to, with Bartosz Bialkowski able to save with ease.

There was more energy to Millwall’s play, snapping in to tackles and not allowing Rovers to get a foothold in the game.

Ferguson scuffed a shot when found unmarked at the backpost, and from a corner moments later, Shaun Hutchinson went close to an opener as his outstretched boot turned a Jed Wallace set play wide.

Rovers were well advised not to give away set plays, given the quality of Wallace’s delivery, and the towering three Millwall centre halves who were giving little away at the other end. 

The warning signs were growing, and it was no surprise when the opening goal did come just before the drinks break, Mason Bennett having the freedom of the six yard box to apply the finish at the far post as Tom Bradshaw’s mishit shot found its way to him.

After the opening goal, Millwall began to sit off a little, happy to drop back into their shape and giving Rovers the challenge of trying to break them down.

Too slow and pedestrian in their build-up, it was becoming a tough watch for those of a Rovers persuasion as passages of play came and went with Bialkowski untroubled in the Lions goal.

It felt like Armstrong or nothing for Rovers, his excellent touch and pass providing a shooting opportunity for Bradley Johnson, but the quality of his effort, which drifted well wide, summed up Rovers’ attacking play.

With nothing to lose, and so much that needed changing, it was no surprise to see Rovers emerge with a new formation, with no recognised centre forward, and two new faces in the form of Sam Gallagher and Joe Rothwell.

The game could have been put beyond them within three minutes of the re-start, Wallace free again down the right with Walton equal to his powerful effort as he was almost invited to shoot.

Rovers had almost 60 per cent of the ball in the first half, without doing much with it, but did show some signs that the changes were taking an effect as Downing had a shot deflected over, and Rankin-Costello curled another just over the top, as bodies began to push forward with more regularity.

Their best chance of the night arrived in the 62nd minute, Armstrong running on to a Gallagher knockdown, but couldn’t get enough bend on his effort to get it around Bialkowski who saved comfortably in the end.

For all Rovers’ play, the hosts had the better chances as the game began to become a little stretch, Bradshaw denied by a smart Walton stop at his near post.

There was wave after wave of Rovers possession, but playing so narrow, Millwall were standing firm.

As timed ticked by the ball was at the wrong end of the pitch for Rovers, who made their five changes without using Ben Brereton on his return to the squad after suspension.

As the game drifted towards its conclusion, so did Rovers’ season, albeit for a late Rankin-Costello shot that dragged just wide of the target.