Skip to main content

Match Report


Posted Sat 27 Feb 10 at 18:23 PM

Millwall 1 Hartlepool United 0

Despite missing a host of chances, Neil Harris' brilliant free-kick saw off a spirited Hartlepool United and made it two wins on the spin for Millwall, banishing all memories of the surprise loss at Wycombe.
In just the ninth minute, he drew a foul and took the subsquent set-piece himself, curling a low free-kick through the wall and past a helpless Scott Flinders to give The Lions the best possible start. Steve Morison, Chris Hackett and Chopper all had chances to extend the lead as the hosts hunted for the goal that would end Pool's resistance. But ultimately, they didn't need it as a stubborn home rearguard held firm and Millwall added another three points to their haul.
The Lions made an emphatic start to the match and could have gone ahead after only two minutes. Hackett, fresh from signing a new two-year contract, delivered a corner from the left and an unmarked Alan Dunne met it with a header.
Unfortunately, it lacked any real power and accuracy, and as such, the right back could only direct it wide.
But it encouraged Kenny Jackett's side, and just six minutes later, they were a goal to the good. When Harris was fouled 25 yards out, he repeated his heroics against Exeter two weeks ago with a clever free-kick which deflected off the wall and wrong-footed Flinders.
Millwall sensed the chance to add further goals, but Harris got too much on a flicked header following a Dunne cross. Hartlepool looked for a way back into the match and perhaps should have levelled on 13 minutes.
Roy O'Donovan found Antony Sweeney in acres of space but The Pool midfielder shot straight at David Forde from 10 yards. Then only a fantastic last-ditch tackle from Jimmy Abdou denied O'Donovan as he nearly made the most of a cross from the right.
Following Jimmy's good work, Millwall broke, and Hackett ran at The Pool defence. Spotting Steve Morison lurking, he whipped over a fine cross that the Lions striker powered at goal.
Flinders, though, did very well to dive to his left and palm it away. Pool right back Neil Austin then went for the spectacular when he spotted Forde off his line but the Millwall keeper recovered to catch with ease.
Reverting back to their neat and tidy football, Hartlepool again threatened, with Larkin crossing for O'Donovan from the left.
Only a strong Dunne header denied him the chance to test Forde. Dunne was involved again minutes later when his long ball found Harris who flicked on superbly for Morison. The striker raced away into the box but when the moment came to either shoot or cross, he skewed his efforts horribly wide.
Hackett was put clean through by a better Morison pass but referee Mick Russell, to the frustration of the crowd, brought play back for a foul.
His decision to allow Joe Gamble to take a quick free-kick nearly brought Pool level moments later, but Paul Robinson was alert enough to put in an expert tackle on Sweeney.
As the half came to a close, there was still time for Morison to very nearly add a second. Picking up a Hackett long ball into the right-hand channel, he turned Gary Liddle inside out before breaking into the box. As he created the angle, a recovering Liddle did very well to make a block at the last moment.
The second period saw a rejuvenated Hartlepool but it was Millwall who worried the score-line. A neat, flowing move down the right involving Harris, played in Morison, and as he ran at goal he struck a high shot from a tight angle. Fortunately for Flinders it went the wrong side of the post.
Pool hit back and a good-looking delivery for sub Chris Humphreys evaded everyone except Ritchie Jones, who returned the ball to O'Donovan. Before the Irishman pulled the trigger, in came Liam Trotter to block, with Danny Schofield finishing the job with a punt up field.
Millwall created three more decent chances in quick succession, as Hackett fired in a cross for Harris to head narrowly high and wide before the former drew a fine, diving save out of Flinders with a long range free-kick. Then, another Hackett cross found Harris in a great position, but The Lions hit-man dragged his shot wide of the near post.
Morison had several headers from Hackett corners either comfortably saved or deflected wide, as The Lions continued to hunt for a second killer goal.
But Hartlepool weren't laying out the red carpet and looked dangerous on the break. Sub Denis Behan should have done better when he screwed a volley wide when well placed, while Peter Hartley tried his luck from distance.
Flinders did very well, rushing out to deny Trotter, after the midfielder was put through by a clever pass from Harris, as Millwall continued to frustrate the home crowd. But, as Hartlepool dominated the last quarter of an hour - Forde and Craig both clearing off the line - Darren Ward and his centre back partner Robinson held firm to help The Lions keep all three points.

Millwall: Forde, Dunne, Robinson, Ward, Craig, Hackett, Abdou, Trotter, Schofield (Batt, 61mins), Morison, Harris (Barron, 88mins). Subsnot used: Sullivan, Frampton, Smith, Fuseini, Obika.
Goal: Harris (9mins)

Hartlepool: Flinders, Austin, Liddle, Collins, Jones, Boyd (Behan, 46mins), Larkin (Humphreys, 46mins), Sweeney (Brown, 79mins), Hartley, Gamble, O'Donovan. Subs not used: Cook, McSweeney, Fredriksen, Bjornsson.
Booking: Liddle (37mins)

M Russell
Att: 10,818 (away 174)

    Latest Match Reports