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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 27 Mar 10 at 19:05 PM

Millwall 5 Stockport County 0

Millwall's supporters were singing in the rain after smashing sorry Stockport County for five goals to go level on points with second-placed Leeds United in the race for automatic promotion.
Kenny Jacketts rampant Lions roared into a 3-0 half-time lead to effectively end the game as a contest, adding another couple after the break to record our second 5-0 success of the season.
Any concerns that The Lions would undo the good work from Monday night's win at Leeds United with a poor performance against rock-bottom Stockport County were dispelled with another polished performance.
Manager Kenny Jackett named an unchanged team from the Leeds match, and it took just three minutes for strike duo Steve Morison and Neil Harris to carve out the first opening of proceedings.
Morison's persistence closing down paid off as the ball cannoned off Paul Huntington under pressure from the striker, Harris was quick to react, picking up the loose ball and feeding Morison on the left. His inch-perfect cross picked out Jimmy Abdou at the far post, only for the midfielder's powerful header to be blocked.
Morison headed over and then set up Harris with a clever hooked pass, but Chopper headed straight into the side netting.
Harris was denied an opening goal on 21 minutes when, after superbly controlling Tony Craig's slide-rule pass, he cut into the area and went for goal, only to see Owain fon Williams get the slightest of touches to avert the danger.
The Lions were not to be denied and finally made the breakthrough on 27 minutes. Danny Swailes, who suffered a torrid time in defence, was penalised for a blatant body-check on Harris. Chris Hackett swung over the resulting free-kick and there was Swailes, under no pressure at all, to send a text-book bullet header into the roof of his own net.
To make matters worse, the Stockport man was booked just seconds later following one clumsy tackle too many.
Lions keeper David Forde, who had virtually been a spectator up until that point, came to the rescue with a superb athletic parry to divert Jemal Johnson's 37th-minute goalbound rocket away for a corner.
Millwall's response was immediate with Harris' audacious left-foot lob clipping the woodwork 60 seconds before Morison sneaked in at the far post to somehow squeeze a header from Hackett's corner into the back of the net via the underside of the bar.
Trailing 2-0 and with half-time beckoning, Millwall effectively killed off County with a third goal deep into stoppage time.
A finely weighted lofted pass by Morison was picked up by Schofield on the left. With one deft movement he dummied the onrushing keeper fon Williams before sidefooting home from what seemed an impossibly tight angle.
With the points effectively safe, Jackett replaced Morison at half-time with Shaun Batt, ensuring Millwall's 18-goal striker had a deserved rest and also limiting the possibility of Morison picking up a 10th booking of the season.
Batt, Hackett and Schofield all saw efforts blocked as The Lions picked up where they had left off.
A fourth goal was always on the cards, and it duly arrived on 58 minutes. Alan Dunne and Harris combined well to set up Schofield, who in turn skipped past a couple of challenges and despatched a low cross that Paul Huntington slammed into his own net from close range.
When you are struggling, nothing seems to go your way and that was certainly the case for Stockport, who could not be faulted for effort, but simply lacked the quality and cohesion to seriously test a Millwall side that were in complete control.
That was reflected once again in the 68th-minute when sub Jon Obika, a 61st-minute replacement for Harris, scored his first goal in a Millwall shirt, picking up a pass from Dunne, and confidently clipped the ball over fon Williams and into the back of the net.
As word filtered through to the fans that Norwich had taken an 89th-minute lead against Leeds United, the home crowd roared on The Lions once more in the hope of seeing a sixth strike that would have cancelled out United's superior goal difference.
Hackett hit a couple of stinging efforts that flew over, as did Schofield, whilst Batt's goalbound effort was blocked as Millwall powered on until the final whistle.
Although a sixth goal didn't arrive, with eight games to go and Leeds due to host promotion rivals Swindon Town next weekend, the race for that second automatic spot is well and truly on.

Millwall: Forde, Dunne, Craig, Abdou (Barron, 78mins), Robinson, Ward, Schofield, Trotter, Harris (Obika, 61mins), Morison (Batt, 46mins), Hackett. Subs not used: Sullivan, Frampton, Smith, Laird.
Scorers: Swailes (27mins og), Morison (41mins), Schofield (45+1min), Huntington (58mins, og), Obika (69mins)

Stockport County: fon Williams, Mullins, Turnbull, Partridge, Huntington, Vincent (Donnelly, 57mins), Ibehre, Johnson, Swailes, Perkins, Sadler. Subs not used: Gerrard, Tansey, Poole, Fisher, Halls, Hare.
Bookings: Swailes (27mins), Johnson (76mins)

Ref: Pat Miller
Att: 11,116 (away 178)

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