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Match Report


Posted Fri 28 Aug 09 at 22:56 PM

Millwall 1 Brighton & HA 1

Injury-hit Millwall maintained their unbeaten start to the League One campaign with a gutsy draw against Brighton.
Neil Harris became the latest in a long line of Lions to miss out this season when he sustained a slight calf strain during the pre-match warm-up. Chris hackett was also missing with a groin injury, joining Tony Craig, Paul Robinson, Steve Morison, Danny Senda, Lewis Grabban and Zak Whitbread on the casualty list.
Jason Price, who had been named as a sub, found himself thrust into the starting line-up - and within five minutes he had fired Kenny Jackett's side ahead.
A superb pass from the outside of Ali Fuseini's left boot picked out Dave Martin on the left, he in turn broke into the area and delivered an inch-perfect ball for the on-rushing Price to sweep home from eight yards.
Just two minutes later it could have been 2-0 when another great Fuseini pass picked out Alan Dunne on the right and his cross was headed narrowly wide by Jimmy Abdou, back in the side after missing four games with a groin injury.
Albion right-back Andrew Whing found himself in referee Andy Penn's book on 12 minutes for persistently fouling Martin, and was subsequently switched to the opposite flank by visiting boss Russell Slade, who could clearly sense that his player was in danger of getting sent off.
And Slade's instinct was right, because within a matter of minutes Whing had once again got involved with the Lions winger, wrestling Martin to the ground on the halfway line as The Lions broke quickly on the counter-attack.
Referee Penn waved play on, and although the move ultimately came to nothing for Millwall, everyone in the stadium expected the official to brandish a second yellow card to the Brighton man when he summoned him over.
Instead, incredibly, Whing escaped with a ticking off when perhaps in other other circumstances he would surely have been sent off.
Thus, Millwall were left to play out the remaining 67 minutes against 11 men when it should have been 10.
Jackett's side certainly enjoyed the better of the opening half and Gary Alexander thought he had added a second goal on 28 minutes when his goalbound header from a Martin cross was somehow clawed away by keeper Michel Kuipers for a corner.
At the other end Lions keeper David Forde was a virtual spectator in the first 45 minutes, with a long-range effort from Liam Dickinson that whistled past the post was all Brighton had to offer as an attacking threat.
Albion boss Slade introduced Gary Dicker for Alan Navarro after the break in a bid to liven up his side, yet it was Millwall who were again left shaking their heads in frustration on 55 minutes when Price was virtually rugby-tackled to the ground as he prepared to connect with Scott Barron's cross from the left. The linesman's flag for offside could be the only thing that prevented a penalty being awarded.
Two big decisions going against Millwall became three on 65 minutes when keeper Kuipers clearly handled outside the area.
Play was again waved on, Brighton broke quickly and when Dean Cox's chip smacked the underside of the bar, it took a magnificent diving defensive header by Andy Frampton to clear the danger.
There was almost a sense of inevitability that this was just not going to be Millwall's night.
With every minute that passed, you could almost see The Lions energy levels draining away following the physical and mental exertions at Upton Park in midweek.
Brighton, who had suffered a couple of horror defeats coming into this match, certainly picked up on that with the lively Dickinson using his rapier-like speed to tease and torment the home rearguard.
On cue, Brighton duly forced an equaliser after 67 minutes courtesy of Nicky Forster's far post header from a right wing cross.
The Lions rallied after that, having one effort cleared off the line and exerting spells of pressure which sadly came to nothing.
Kiernan Hughes-Mason was introduced for his debut, Ashley Grimes and George Friend also came on as substitutes, but the leg weariness and injuries ultimately took their toll.

Forde, Dunne, Barron, Frampton, Smith, Fuseini (Hughes-Mason, 82mins), Laird, Abdou, Martin (Friend, 67mins), Price* (Grimes, 73mins), Alexander. Subs not used: Sullivan, Bolder.
Booking: Dunne (49mins)
Scorer: Price (6mins)

Brighton & HA: Kuipers, Whing, El-Abd, Cox (Wright, 86mins), Navarro (Dicker, 46mins), Forster (Hart, 76mins), Dickinson, Tunnicliffe, Croft, Virgo, Bennett. Subs not used: Smith, Livermore, Thornhill, Davies.
Bookings: Whing (12mins), Virgo (90mins), Hart (90+1mins)
Scorer: Forster (67mins)

Ref: A.M Penn
Att: 10,138 (away 1,170)

* Late replacement for Harris

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