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Match Report


Posted Sat 12 Dec 09 at 18:39 PM

Millwall 2 Walsall 1

Steve Morison hit a stunning second-half double as Millwall secured three thoroughly deserved points against Play-Off rivals Walsall.
Mannie Smith had fired The Saddlers into an eighth minute lead, but a stirring fight-back from Kenny Jackett's side after the break ensured a seventh home win in the last eight courtesy of Morision's clinical finishes on 58 and 76 minutes.
The pressure has fallen on Morison to be the senior forward in the continued absence of Neil Harris and Gary Alexander, and the former Stevenage Borough frontman found himself with another new strike partner for this game with Ashley Grimes handed his first start of the season.
But not only has Morison taken the additional pressure in his stride, he is clearly thriving on it with this brace taking his tally to four goals in as many games and six for the season so far.
This match didn't start out too well for The Lions though, and it took just eight minutes for The Saddlers to edge 1-0 ahead. A corner was needlessly given away and when Peter Till sent over a deep delivery, there was the unmarked Smith to nonchalently sidefoot home from six yards.
It proved to be a frustrating opening half as Walsall dug in and did a good job of disrupting Millwall's attempts to get their attacking rhythm going.
Grimes had arguably the best chance to level for The Lions a couple of minutes before the break, but he fired over the bar from eight yards following great work by Danny Schofield.
Jackett's side looked much brighter after the restart, with the players responding to both their manager's half-time words and also clearly taking inspiration from the tremendous vocal support of the home fans.
Paul Robinson was inches away from connecting with Schofield's 49th-minute delivery and then Marc Laird was thwarted as The Lions began to really put Walsall under pressure.
Alan Dunne hit an absolute belter that flashed a yard wide and then saw his teasing cross cleared by Till with keeper Clayton Ince in no-man's land.
The goal Millwall had been threatening finally arrived after 58 minutes - and what a well worked and clinically executed effort it was. Grimes showed a great touch to chest into Morison's path, and he in turn controlled the ball, strode forward and hit an unstoppable effort into the bottom corner that gave Ince no chance.
Grimes was perfectly placed to fire The Lions 2-1 ahead a couple of minutes later, but took too long and the danger was averted.
Likewise the lively Morison was about to pull the trigger on 62 minutes, only for Sansara to just get enough of the ball to clear.
Jackett made a double substitution on the hour mark, introducing Jason Price and Lewis Grabban for Grimes and Dave Martin respectively.
The subsequent tactical switch saw Price partner Morison, Schofield move to the left flank in place of Martin and Grabban slot in on the right.
Within seconds of entering the fray Price looked to have the ball diverted away from him in the danger zone by a stray Walsall hand, whilst fellow sub Grabban then hit a 20-yarder straight at Ince as the home side pressed for a second goal.
Walsall, who had worked so well as a unit in the opening 45 minutes, now found themselves well and truly on the receiving end of a second-half onslaught.
It was only a matter of time before Millwall struck again - and that's exactly what happened with 14 minutes left.
Price flicked the ball on to Morison, the flag stayed down and on ran Morison before rifling an unstoppable shot into the top left corner for his second goal of the game.
A bizarre piece of officiating could have proved costly for The Lions a couple of minutes later though. Referee Andy D'Urso waved Laird on to the field of play after the midfielder had been receiving treatment, but was stopped by the fourth official, who had clearly not seen Mr D'Urso's gesture. In the meantime, and with Millwall down to 10 men, Walsall broke quickly and it took a magnificent tackle from Dunne to deny former Lions striker Darren Byfield as he prepared to pull the trigger.
Finally Laird did come back on, but was soon replaced by Adam Bolder for the final few minutes that proved no more than a formality as The Lions comfortably saw out the game to claim another maximum point haul.

Millwall: Forde, Dunne, Robinson, Frampton, Smith, Laird (Bolder, 85mins), Abdou, Schofield, Morison, Grimes (Grabban, 70mins), Martin (Price, 70mins). Subs not used: Sullivan, Ward, Fuseini, Marquis.
Scorer: Morison (58, 76mins)

Walsall: Ince, Weston, Sansara (Vincent, 74mins), Hughes, Smith, Mattis, Parkin, Bradley, Till (Nicholls, 77mins), Richards, Byfield. Subs not used: Gilmartin, Taundry, O'Keefe, Grigg, McDonald.
Booking: Hughes (52mins)
Scorer: Smith (8mins)

Attendance: 8,174 (140)

Referee: Andy D'Urso

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