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Match Report


Posted Sat 23 Apr 11 at 20:45 PM

Millwall 4 Preston North End 0

Millwall's new-look strike force of Josh McQuoid and John Marquis ensured it was Just Magic for Kenny Jackett's side as The Lions kept their Play-Off dream alive with a 4-0 thumping of struggling Preston North End.
On an afternoon of firsts, defender Darren Purse opened the scoring on 42 minutes with his first goal for the club, followed by McQuoid with a spectacular effort two minutes later for his first Millwall goal.
Marquis, making only his second start of the campaign, swept home number three on 54 minutes before James Henry scored the fourth from the penalty spot, taking over from the injured Liam Trotter, to slot home.
Not many teams have dismantled Phil Brown's Preston in recent weeks, but the manner in which Millwall confidently went about their business bodes well with three games remaining and The Lions a tantalising two points off sixth placed Nottingham Forest, but with a superior goal difference.
It is all adding up to an incredibly exciting end to the season, and if this performance is anything to go by, Jackett's men have every reason to feel optimistic that the campaign could yet be extended beyond the final scheduled match at Barnsley on 8th May.
Millwall started with real purpose, and showed their attacking intent in the opening minute when the irrepressible Henry was fouled by Bongani Khumalo.
Andros Townsend swung over the free-kick and although Darren Ward got on the end of it, he was unable to make a clean contact and the Preston defence hacked clear.
Although Darren Carter threatened seconds later, once the former Lions loanee had skied his first-time shot into the Cold Blow Lane Upper, it was Millwall who dominated.
Another Townsend free-kick caused problems for the visitors, picking out the unmarked Trotter at the far post on nine minutes, but he was denied by the quick reactions of keeper Iain Turner.
A short Trotter corner picked out Henry and his whipped delivery looked to be heading in until Turner pushed it over the bar.
Henry was then denied by the woodwork, his low 13th-minute drive being tipped onto the post by Turner. Although McQuoid tried to fire in from the rebound, his effort was blocked by Khumalo before Carter finally cleared.
Millwall continued to press with Marquis twice firing angled drives into the hands of keeper Turner and McQuoid driving into the side netting.
Preston were forced to shuffle their defensive pack on 42 minutes when Khumalo hobbled off to be replaced by Bailey Wright and within seconds a smart move involving Trotter, Marquis and Alan Dunne ended with the latter's tantalising cross tipped over by the busy Turner.
Preston's defence were caught napping - and Turner flapping - as Henry's resulting corner allowed Purse to head home from two yards.
The celebrations had barely died down when Lions fans were jumping for joy again after witnessing a truly great goal from McQuoid. Tamika Mkandawire passed forward, Marquis flicked on and McQuoid took a couple of strides before unleashing a piledriver into the top left hand corner from 25 yards.
Leading 2-0 at the break, and with a testing trip to Scunthorpe United on Monday to come, Jackett replaced Trotter with Jimmy Abdou at the start of the second half - the former sustaining a slight groin strain during the opening 45 minutes.
The visitors needed an early response and within seconds of the restart Iain Hume's cross was headed straight at home keeper David Forde.
Forde made an even easier save from Keith Tracey shortly after, but by the 54th minute it was effectively game over as The Lions struck for a third, crucial time.
McQuoid's cross from the right picked out Townsend on the opposite flank, he in turn found Abdou who diverted the ball into Marquis' path and the 18-year-old striker steered the ball past Turner from close range.
Relegation-threatened Preston looked dejected, and matters went from bad to worse when a bad mistake by by Craig Morgan allowed McQuoid to bear down on goal just past the hour mark.
His run was brought to an abrupt halt by a clumsy challenge from Turner, who earned a yellow card and could then do nothing to stop Henry smashing home the resulting spot-kick.
Hamer Bouazza replaced the impressive McQuoid shortly after and Tony Craig came on for Dunne, who had to have stitches above his eye after being caught by a flailing arm.
Preston really had little to offer and other than a tip-over by Forde from Carter's 18-yarder 13 minutes from time, the visitors posed no real threat at all to a well organised home rearguard that comfortably recorded a superb 19th clean sheet of the season.

Millwall: Forde, Dunne, Barron, Trotter (Abdou, 46mins), Purse, Ward, Townsend, Mkandawire, McQuoid (Bouazza, 67mins), Marquis, Henry. Subs not used: Mildenhall: Hackett, Craig, Robinson, Schofield.
Booking: Dunne (66mins)
Scorers: Purse (42mins), McQuoid (43mins), Marquis (52mins), Henry (64mins, pen)

Preston North End: Turner, Morgan, Khumalo (Wright, 42mins), Brown (Brown, 60mins), Nicholson, Treacy, Hume (Ellington, 60mins), Jones, Ashbee, Johnson, Carter. Subs not used: Lonergan, Barton, Russell, Leather.
Bookings: Johnson (45+1min), Ashbee (60mins), Turner (64mins)

Ref: C Boyeson
Att: 10.426 (away 276)

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