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Match Report

 

Posted Mon 10 Aug 09 at 15:27 PM

Southampton 1 Millwall 1

Jimmy Abdou's magnificent 65th-minute header ensured that honours ended even as Millwall kicked-off the new campaign with a hard-fought draw at League One new-boys Southampton.
Abdou rose majestically to head home the leveller and cancel out Matt Paterson's 51st-minute opener for Saints.
The equaliser was certainly deserved, and also saved the blushes of Alan Dunne, who had seen his penalty saved by keeper Kelvin Davis just seconds earlier.
Boss Kenny Jackett handed league debuts to Jack Smith and Steve Morison, whilst Chris Hackett made his first senior league start since 28th December 2008 as The Lions went in search of their first win on the opening day of the season since August 2003.
With a little more composure in front of goal, that six-year wait would surely have been over as The Lions dominated long spells of this match on the south coast.
Alan Pardew's Saints successfully absorbed an opening 20-minute Millwall onslaught, and gradually began to get the measure of their opponents as the half wore on.
In fact it was only the athleticism of Lions keeper David Forde that prevented the home side from breaking the deadlock on 29 minutes.when Morgan Schneiderlin let fly with a lob from fully 45 yards that seemed destined for the net, only for Forde to somehow stretch his fingertips just enough to tip his effort over.
From the resulting corner, defender Chris Perry saw his first-time volley hit the outside of a post to the relief of the 2,242 Lions fans packed behind the goal.
Some neat interplay between Scott Barron, Gary Alexander and Dave Martin provided a good opportunity for Morison just before the break, but the striker's shot was blocked by a combination of Davis and Graeme Murty.
Within seconds of the restart Barron produced a powerful run through the heart of the home defence, but sent an angled 20-yard drive narrowly wide.
However within six minutes of the second period it was Pardew's men who had taken the lead courtesy of Paterson's clipped finish from close range.
Lions boss Jackett responded by introducing Ali Fuseini and Jason Price for Bolder and Martin.
Just seven minutes after their introduction, Price was sent sprawling in the area by Wayne Thomas, and referee Mick Russell awarded a spot-kick.
Right-back Dunne stepped up to take the penalty, but saw his low effort parried by Davis. Price was first to the loose ball, but his follow-up was cleared off the line for a corner.
Minutes later The Lions levelled from another flag kick when Hackett swung over the corner and after Morison headed the ball back across, Abdou leapt high above a static home defence to send a looping header beyond the reach of Davis and into the back of the net.
Millwall were buzzing and produced a final 20 minutes of intense attacking play and
did get the ball in the back of the net shortly after when some fine footwork by Morison created an opening for Alexander, who slotted home from close-range. However the effort was ruled out because the linesman had deemed Morison to have carried the ball out of play before feeding Alexander, although TV replays proved inconclusive.
At this stage Price was clearly struggling though, and made way for Neil Harris eight minutes from time.

Southampton: Davis, Murty, Harding, Schneiderlin (Thomson, 83mins), Perry, Thomas, Wotton, Lallana, Paterson (Gobern, 69mins), Saganowski, James (Gillett, 74mins). Subs not used: Bialkowski, Holmes, Pulis, Lancashire.
Scorer: Paterson (51mins)

Millwall: Forde, Dunne, Barron, Bolder (Fuseini, 58mins), Frampton, Smith, Martin (Price, 58mins(Harris, 82mins)), Abdou, Alexander, Morison, Hackett. Subs not used: Sullivan, Grimes, Laird, Grabban.
Scorer: Abdou (65mins)

Ref: Mick Russell
Att: 20,103 (away 2,242)

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