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Match Report


Posted Sat 20 Oct 12 at 15:06 PM

Full-time from Selhurst Park

Millwall battled back from a 2-0 deficit to secure a share of the spoils against 10-man Crystal Palace in a pulsating south London derby at Selhurst Park.
Two goals in a four minute spell from Mile Jedinak (35mins) and Damien Delaney (39mins) looked to have put Dougie Freedman's in-form Eagles into pole position to plunder all three points.
But then Palace left-back Dean Moxey gave The Lions a huge helping hand back into the game, inexplicably punching Darius Henderson's header off the line four minutes before the break.
Referee Phil Dowd brandished a red card and Liam Trotter sent Palace keeper Julian Speroni the wrong way to reduce the arrears and spark a fine fightback.
The Lions were a whisker away from levelling moments later when Chris Taylor's header crashed against the woodwork, but were not to be denied an equaliser 13 minutes from time courtesy of Mark Beevers' close-range effort from a Josh Wright corner.
This proved to be a classic game of two halves; Palace dominating the first and Millwall enjoying an overwhelming majority of second-half possession.
"I was proud of the players today," said Lions boss Kenny Jackett. "We were 2-0 down away from home and we've come back to get a 2-2 draw and finish the dominant side.
That's a very good achievement and it keeps our run going which is now four games unbeaten."
It was The Eagles who created the first chance of an entertaining game when, with barely 40 seconds on the clock, Wilfred Zaha cut into the danger zone and teed up Glenn Murray, who lifted his shot high over the goal.
Good play by Chris Taylor, starting in place of the injured James Henry, created an opening shortly after but his path into the penalty area was brought to a halt by a cynical foul from Moxey, who was the first of 10 names to end up in referee Phil Dowd's book.
Lions striker Chris Wood tested Julian Speroni in the home goal and then Zaha lashed over the bar from distance as the sides traded chances in front of goal.
The Lions were incensed in the 20th-minute when Darius Henderson broke clear just past the halfway line only to be sent sprawling by Peter Ramage, who was the last line of a square defence. 
Instead of awarding a foul and red card, which it arguably should have been, play was waved on and seconds later when play had switched to the other end, Palace were awarded a contentious free-kick of their own when Zaha appeared to stumble over the ball on the byline rather be fouled.
Thankfully justice was done and the resulting free-kick was duly cleared by the Millwall defence.
Jackett's men carved out a glorious opportunity to break the deadlock just before the half-hour mark when the impressive Taylor, who gave Moxey and then Jonathan Parr a torrid afternoon, jinked his way into the box and picked out Henderson at the back post, but unfortunately the big striker guided his header the wrong side of the post from three yards.
It was Palace, however, who edged ahead with 35 minutes on the clock when Millwall half-cleared a ball into the box and skipper Jedinak picked it up, took a couple of strides forward before hitting a fierce shot from 30 yards that appeared to take a slight deflection off the side of Henderson's head on its way into the bottom right corner beyond the reach of keeper Forde.
Just moments later Palace doubled their tally with a soft goal; The Lions defence failing to deal with a routine free-kick that enabled the unmarked Delaney to plant a firm header past a flat-footed Forde.
However Palace, or rather Moxey, then pressed the self-destruct button with his rush of blood to handle Henderson's goalbound header, and from that moment on, the whole complexion of the game changed.
The business-like way in which Trotter despatched the resulting spot-kick was matched by The Lions performance thereafter as they dominated proceedings for the remaining 50 minutes.
Millwall visibly grew in confidence and self-belief and could so easily have gone in on level terms at half-time, but Taylor's powerful header from a delightful cross-field pass from Trotter, smacked the crossbar.
Palace's appealed for a penalty early in the second when Murray fell somewhat easily to the floor under pressure from Danny Shittu. However referee Dowd was having none of it and waved play on.
Jackett's men stuck to their task throughout the second period, having no need to push forward in a gung-ho fashion and patiently building up their attacks as they prised and probed the Palace rearguard in search of that second goal.
Substitute Josh Wright was nearly an instant hero when, with his first touch of the ball, he picked out Alan Dunne
with a corner, but the full-back planted his header a yard wide of the target.
However the Lions were not to be denied, and their patience finally paid off on 77 minutes with Beevers bundling the ball over the line from another Wright corner to saprk wild celebrations from the 2,600 travelling fans.
Millwall had a chance to win it right at the death only for keeper Speroni to smother the ball at the feet of Henderson as he prepared to pull the trigger as the 10-men of Palace held on, somewhat gratefully in the end, for a point.

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