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Match Report

 

Posted Tue 09 Nov 10 at 23:52 PM

Millwall 1 Norwich City 1

John Marquis bundled home a dramatic injury-time leveller as Millwall battled back to secure a share of the spoils in an entertaining Den encounter.
Marquis, 18, was handed his full league debut by boss Kenny Jackett, who had been virtually stripped of his striking personnel with Steve Morison, Neil Harris, Theo Robinson, Chris Hackett and Kevin Lisbie all unavailable.
But The Lions, having created a stack of scoring chances, saw Norwich take the lead against the run of play 16 minutes from time courtesy of an unstoppable shot from David Fox.
However with time running out, James Henry whipped in the 11th Millwall corner of the night, Alan Dunne propelled the ball goalwards before Marquis sparked wild celebrations on and off the field, nudging the ball over the line from a matter of inches.
"I thought we passed the ball, we defended solidly, but it was a cracking shot from the edge of the box to give them the lead and you can't stop everything," said Kenny.
"But then for us scoring in the 93rd or 94th minute - it felt like we'd won. We put a lot of effort in and I'm glad that we got a good point in the end."
The Lions showed four changes to the side that started at Doncaster, and in Marquis and Lewis Grabban - recalled from a loan spell at League One Brentford - fielded a new-look front pairing.
It was a huge responsibility for the young duo, who prior to this match had only played just over two hours of first team football for The Lions this year.
But what they may have lacked in experience, the pair more than made up for with effort and determination.
After a quiet opening it was home keeper David Forde called into action first on nine minutes with a sprawling save low to his right to keep out Chris Martin's effort.
The Lions responded and some neat interplay between Danny Schofield and Grabban saw the latter's deep delivery a whisker away from reaching Alan Dunne, who had sprinted through on the overlap in support.
Danny Shittu then produced great control to pick up Scott Barron's raking pass and lash a fierce shot that John Ruddy parried at full stretch.
On 24 minutes The Lions created their clearest chance yet; Dunne and Grabban combined on the right and when Grabban picked out Marquis at the far post, the young striker unfortunately sent a free header straight into the hands of grateful keeper Ruddy.
Grant Holt, who incredibly only received a yellow card for consistent fouling three minutes from time, was lucky that his 35th-minute elbow on Shittu went unsighted, and thus unpunished, by the officials.
A foul by Elliott Ward, brother of Millwall defender Darren, did get noticed on 39 minutes and the punishment could have been far worse for Norwich had James Henry's resultant free-kick been deflected in, and not wide, of the goal.
Henry then skied over from close range following delightful play on the left from Barron and Schofield, and another Marquis header was saved by Ruddy as The Lions finished the half strongly.
Millwall picked up where they left off after the break with Marquis and Henry having efforts dealt with by Ruddy in the Norwich goal.
The Lions were denied a penalty just before the hour mark when Grabban's delivery appeared to strike the hand of Simon Lappin, but referee Mark Haywood waved play on despite three sides of the ground shouting 'HANDBALL' in unison.
A tactical switch seconds later saw Darren Ward replace Grabban, and man mountain of a centre half Shittu push forward alongside Marquis.
The move, which sparked a range of emotions from amazement amongst the home fans to sheer panic in the Norwich defence, proved a matserstroke.
Shittu may not have the mobility and skillful attributes of a striker, but his sheer physical presence caused disruption to the Canaries - they simply did not know how to handle him.
Visiting boss Paul Lambert responded by bringing on Matthew Gill and Simeon Jackson. Within seconds of entering the duo entering fray it took a supremely timed tackle by Lions skipper Paul Robinson to nick the ball off the toes of Holt.
A crisp drive by Korey Smith was well held by keeper Forde as The Canaries started to ask questions of the home defence, and when sub Gill's throw was only half-cleared, there was Fox to rifle an 18-yard rocket into the top corner for an explosive opening goal.
But credit to Millwall who dug in and simply refused to give up.
Dunne had already seen his fizzer held by keeper Ruddy and with time ticking away, it looked as if The Lions' efforts were going to be in vain.
But when Marquis won a corner deep into injury-time, everyone went forward in a last-gasp attempt to salvage something from the game.
Henry swung over a corner from the left, Dunne turned the ball goalwards, but it was Marquis who made sure the ball finally crossed the line from a matter of inches to grab the leveller.
That looked to have been that, but there was so nearly a last twist in the tail when Norwich then won a corner seconds after the restart.
Thankfully an immense defensive header from Shittu ensured that justice was done, with the fans celebrating at the final whistle as if it were a victory.

Millwall: Forde, Dunne, Barron, Mkandawire, Robinson, Shittu, Schofield, Trotter, Marquis, Grabban (Ward, 60mins), Henry. Subs not used: Mildenhall, Craig, Carter, Laird, Hughes-Mason, Abdou.
Bookings: Marquis (63mins) Robinson (87mins)
Scorer: Marquis (90+4mins)

Norwich City: Ruddy, R.Martin, Holt, Hoolahan (Jackson, 64mins), Fox, C.Martin, Smith, Lappin, Barnett, E.Ward, McNamee (Gill, 64mins). Subs not used: Rudd, Johnson, Daley, Dawkin, Askou.
Booking: Holt (80mins)
Scorer: Fox (74mins)

Ref: M Haywood
Att: 10,211 (away 1,376)

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