Skip to main content

Match Report

 

Posted Sat 01 Jan 11 at 16:27 PM

Millwall 3 Crystal Palace 0

Jason Puncheon stunned struggling Crystal Palace with a textbook treble as Millwall kicked off 2011 in perfect fashion on an afternoon that also saw George Burley sacked as The Eagles manager after the game.
Puncheon sunk The Eagles with clinical strikes on eight, 65 and 71 minutes as George Burley's sorry side never really got going to become the first Millwall player since Barry Hayles in December 2004 to score a hat-trick in the Championship.
In fact if the officials' eyesight had been a tad sharper in the first-half, it could have been even worse for Palace with another Puncheon effort appearing to cross the line, only for the officials to wave play on.
"The players thought that it was over the line, but in the end it didn't matter, " said Lions boss Kenny Jackett.
"However we did score a crucial second goal and were then very professional seeing out the game.
It was a very good performance. We started the game very well as we usually do, but my challenge to the players was to keep it going and I'm pleased to say that we did."
Jackett was forced to reshuffle his playing pack with top scorer Steve Morison absent through illness and right-back Alan Dunne starting a three match ban following his red card against Leicester City.
In came Josh McQuoid for Morison, with Jack Smith making only his second appearance of the season filling in the vacant defensive slot.
The opening 45 minutes was quite literally a half of two goals - one scored, one controversially not.
Liam Trotter had already tested Julian Speroni with a low shot that the keeper gathered at his near post before Millwall took the lead on eight minutes.
Smith headed a half clearance back into the danger zone, McQuoid won a ball he had no right to and there was Puncheon to smash home the knockdown with a sizzling left-foot drive to nothc his third goal in a Lions shirt.
Millwall looked to have doubled their lead seven minutes before half-time when Schofield's corner was met by Puncheon, his shot cannoned off a body of players and looked to have gone over the line. But after Neil Danns dribbled the ball away referee Neil Swarbrick deemed the ball still in play much to the fury of the home support.
In between those incidents Millwall had enjoyed the better of the chances with Scott Barron blazing over and Trotter heading onto the roof of the net.
Then with two minutes of the half remaining Smith and Puncheon combined superbly on the right, the former squaring to an unmarked Trotter in a central position, but on this occasion he swept the ball over the bar.
Palace responded to the half-time talking to from manager Burley and it took a perfectly timed interception by Smith to prevent Darren Ambrose a clear run on goal following Pablo Counago's quickly taken free-kick.
David Forde was then called into action with his first real save of the match, flying across to his left to tip Sean Scannell's fierce rising drive over for a corner.
However The Lions responded and seconds after John Marquis replaced McQuoid, Millwall had doubled their tally.
Trotter and Barron created the opening on 64 minutes, but there was still plenty for Puncheon to do as he bamboozled the Palace rearguard with some nifty footwork before producing a clinical finish that gave Speroni no chance.
The visiting supporters started trickling out of the ground at this stage, but they left in their droves once Puncheon had completed his hat-trick 17 minutes from time with another excellent angled finish into the bottom right hand corner.
Palace tried, and failed to make any impact against The Lions, and on the one occasion they did deep into injury-time, Neil Danns' effort was brilliantly blocked by Forde. Although the ball spun up invitingly for Danns, the Eagles midfielder was unable to direct his follow-up header into the back of the net and it flew over the bar.

Millwall: Forde, Smith, Barron, Abdou, Ward, Craig, Puncheon (Henry, 83mins), Mkandawire, Trotter (Harris, 88mins), McQuoid (Marquis, 62mins), *Schofield. Subs not used: Mildenhall, Carter, Hackett, Laird.
Bookings: Puncheon (71mins), Mkandawire (87mins)
Scorer: Puncheon (8, 65, 71mins)

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Clyne, McCarthy, Barrett, Ambrose (Andrew, 80mins), Danns, Garvan, Scannell, Bennett, Marrow (Zaha, 57mins), Counago (Cadagon, 71mins). Subs not used: Price, Doorman, N'Diaye, Gardner.
Bookings: Marrow, (36mins), McCarthy (42mins), Danns (72mins)

Ref:
Neil Swarbrick
Att: 16,170 (away 2,129)

    Latest Match Reports