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Match Report


Posted Tue 18 Oct 11 at 23:10 PM

Millwall 1 Brighton & HA 1

Millwall's recovery took another step in the right direction as they came from behind to earn a point against Brighton at The Den.
After squandering a host of first half chances, The Lions found themselves a goal down on the hour when Craig Noone guided home Craig Mackail-Smith's inswinging cross.
Earlier in the first half, David Forde had saved a Ryan Harley penalty after Mackail-Smith had been bundled over by Darren Ward, as Brighton looked to return to winning ways themselves after a stuttering run of form.
It looked like they had ended that sequence but, with just nine minutes remaining, Jay Simpson took aim from 30 yards and his powerful drive fizzed into the net to send the home support into delirium.
In a frantic closing five minutes, Brian Howard's deflected free-kick whistled narrowly wide then Noone followed suit with another dangerous ball into the box that had Forde worried.
But despite some late, late pressure, it ended a draw and another point to the tally as Kenny Jackett's men look to escape the bottom half of the Championship.
Jackett made just one change to his starting line-up, giving on-loan Simpson a start as Patrick Agyemang dropped to the bench.
It was Millwall who started the brighter. An early Liam Feeney cross was knocked back across goal by Darius Henderson and the loose ball had Ankergren nervous enough to beat clear. If the Danish custodian was worried about that, he was increasingly concerned when Henderson was left completely unmarked at the back post as Howard picked him out. Henderson, however, steered his header wide, much to the frustration of the home crowd.
Back came Brighton and the lively Noone was picked out by a fantastic pass from Lewis Dunk from the back and when he wriggled into space past Scott Barron, his cross was fumbled by Forde who so nearly palmed the ball into his own net.
However, on 17 minutes, The Seagulls were presented with a much more straightforward chance to open the scoring.
Noone played in Mackail-Smith who was seemingly tripped by Ward, but Harley's tame penalty was stopped by Forde who smothered the loose ball as Harley tried to pounce on the rebound.
The Lions looked to reclaim the advantage and Feeney, who was outstanding throughout both in attack and defence, was fouled for Howard to sting the palms of Ankergren with the resultant free-kick, and then his shot on-the-turn flew wide.
Very much in the thick of it, the ex-Bournemouth man provided another two dangerous balls into the box for first Paul Robinson to nod wide then Simpson to power an instinctive volley agonisingly wide.
Millwall then had two brilliant chances to go in front. On 32 minutes, Howard had a second bite at a corner and clipped in a good-looking ball into the box where the advancing Robbo managed to get on the end of.
However, Ankergren somehow managed to block but the loose ball fell to Tam Mkandawire. Unfortunately for Millwall, The Lions' right-back steered the ball over the bar with the goal gaping.
Minutes later, another Howard free-kick was flicked on by Simpson for Liam Trotter but the midfielder could only nod the ball wide from close range, leaving the home crowd wondering if Lady Luck had once again deserted The Lions.
Former loanee Will Hoskins and Noone both had efforts saved by Forde and fly wide respectively as an eventful first half drew to a close.
It was the visitors who threatened first after the break. Matt Sparrow drew a fine save out of Forde but Brighton made their early pressure count as Noone pounced on hesitant Millwall defending to thump Mackail-Smith's cross into the roof of the net.
The goal sparked a change in Albion tactics and they proceeded to frustrate both The Lions and the home crowd with some meticulous possession football.
However, all that went out the window as Simpson chose the right moment to score his first goal since returning to south London.
And what a cracker it was as he retained the ball following an intercepted pass to Alan Dunne, shaped to shoot and rifled a thunderous drive that proved too hot to handle for Ankergren, the Albion keeper not able to stop the ball flying past him.
The goal lifted the roof off The Den and Millwall poured forward in search of a winner but ultimately, had to settle for point.Millwall: Forde, Mkandawire, Barron (Dunne, 46mins), Trotter, Robinson, Ward, Howard, Abdou, Henderson Agyemang, 61mins), Simpson, Feeney. Subs not used: Mildenhall, Henry, N'Guessan.
Bookings: Howard (12mins), Barron (25mins)
Scorer: Simpson (80mins)

Brighton & HA: Ankergren, Greer, Dunk, Hoskins (Barnes, 77mins), Sparrow, Noone, Makail-Smith, Calderon, Harley (Lua Lua, 86mins), Painter, Bridcutt. Subs not used: Brezovon, Dicker, Vincelot.
Bookings: Sparrow (45+2mins), Dunk (86mins)
Scorer: Noone (60mins)

Ref: N. Swarbrick
Att: 11,688 (away 1,820)

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