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Match Report


Posted Sat 26 Feb 11 at 18:16 PM

Millwall 0 Nottingham Forest 0

Millwall kept alive their outside chance of reaching the Play-Offs with a battling goalless draw against promotion-chasing Nottingham Forest.
Lions boss Kenny Jackett had demanded a positive response from his players following Tuesday night's lack-lustre display in a 2-1 defeat at Reading, and he certainly got just that with a hard-working performance to earn a deserved share of the spoils.
Although enjoying parity in terms of possession, Millwall just lacked that final little bit of inspiration or magic where it mattered most, in the final third of the field.
"The game was a stalemate and we couldn't really get going and put a series of passes together going forward, but as a team we were very resilient," said boss Kenny Jackett.
"After two defeats we ground it out today and kept an excellent clean sheet which we can hopefully build on now."
The Lions showed three changes to the side beaten at the Madejski Stadium in midweek with Darren Purse and Tony Craig returning to the back four and Neil Harris starting up front alongside Steve Morison.
It was Jackett's men who fashioned the first opening of the game on six minutes courtesy of Hameur Bouazza's sparkling run on the left. The Algerian international ghosted past four Forest players, but on this occasion his final pass to James Henry was hacked clear on the edge of the area.
Three minutes later Bouazza, arguably Millwall's most potent attacker during the first 45 minutes, was a whisker away from breaking the deadlock with a rasping left-foot effort that flew narrowly over.
Bouazza was again involved after quarter of an hour, picking up Craig's quick throw on the left and despatching a deep delivery that Liam Trotter headed over.
Forest's first really penetrative attack came after 17 minutes when the lively Lewis McGugan broken quickly on the counter and let fly with a 20-yard fizzer that was clawed away by keeper David Forde for a corner.
Forde was then at the start of another Lions move, his huge throw picking out Harris on the right, he played a neat one-two with Henry and although the latter's final delivery was overhit, Bouazza was there to pick up the ball, feinted to cross but instead hit a low angled shot that Forest keeper Lee Camp held at the second attempt at his near post.
Chris Cohen had Forest's best chance of the half midway through the first period when he chested down and lashed the ball across the face of the goal just beyond the outstretched foot of David McGoldrick.
Morison then sent a looping header from Alan Dunne's cross over the bar with the last real goalmouth action of the first 45 minutes.
Whereas Millwall had shaded the opening half, it was Billy Davies' Forest who looked more potent after the break.
A superb tackle by the outstanding Robinson saved the blushes of his otherwise impeccable defensive partner Purse, whose poor clearance was picked up by McGugan on the edge of the 18 yard box.
McGugan worked an opening for himself on 52 minutes, with Forde parrying his effort for another corner and the increasingly busy Lions keeper again came to the rescue, averting the danger following a goalmouth scramble.
Jackett introduced Kevin Lisbie and Danny Schofield for Harris and the tiring Bouazza in a bid to find that one piece of magic to unlock an unpenetrable Reds rearguard.
And but for the sly use of a hand by Wes Morgan to palm Schofield's incisive through ball to Morison, the Lions striker would have been clean through on goal.
Unfortunately neither referee Keith nor his assistants spotted the infringement and play continued.
Forest boss Davies left it until the final third of the game to add real pace to his side with Gareth McCleary and then Robert Earnshaw joining Marcus Tudgay as he went for broke.
And the move nearly paid off with both McCleary and Tudgay forcing sprawling saves from Forde.
Then deep into injury-time Joel Lynch won possession on the edge of the Millwall box, McGugan fired a cross into the centre, and Earnshaw almost connected at full stretch.
Defeat would have been tough on Jackett's men who will be hoping that March proves more fruitful points-wise than a frugal February.

Millwall: Forde, Dunne, Craig, Trotter, Robinson, Purse, Bouazza (Schofield, 72mins), Mkandawire, Harris (Lisbie, 72mins), Morison, Henry. Subs not used: Mildenhall, Eastmond, Barron, Ward, Rowlands.
Bookings: Henry (11mins), Bouazza (19mins), Mkandawire (45+2mins)

Nottingham Forest: Camp, Chambers, Morgan, Anderson (McCleary, 74mins), McGugan, Cohen, Gunter, McGoldrick (Earnshaw, 81mins), McKenna, Majewski (Tudgay, 63mins), Lynch. Subs not used: Adebola, Smith, Moloney, Rodney.
Bookings: McGoldrick (47mins), Tudgay (81mins)

Ref: K. Hill
Att: 14,226 (away 1,970)

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