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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 12 Apr 14 at 17:41 PM

Martyn Woolford scored a last-gasp leveller as Millwall continue to fight tooth and nail to preserve their Championship status with a battling 2-2 draw against Play-Off hopefuls Watford.

Ian Holloway's bravehearts twice fought back from a goal deficit for a point that moves The Lions within one point of fourth from bottom Charlton.

Lewis McGugan fired the visitors ahead on 17 minutes but sub Steve Morison hauled Millwall level after 64 minutes but Almen Abdi looked to have won it for The Hornets with a sickening second goal just four minutes from time.

But Ollie's Lions, roared on by magnificent support from The Den faithful, picked themselves up one last time and the team responded with Woolford's injury-time strike fumbled over the line by Watford keeper Manuel Almunia.

There was no doubting that Millwall deserved at least a point from an entertaining end-to-end game played at a frantic pace for long spells.

Holloway's team, showing just one change to the side that started at Wigan with Shaun Williams in for the suspended Ed Upson, drove forward from the opening whistle and Carlos Edwards drove narrowly over from 20 yards with just 55 seconds on the clock.

McGugan carved out Watford’s first chance six minutes later, crashing a half volley narrowly wide of David Forde’s right-hand post after Ikechi Anya cleverly nodded into his path.

The teams traded scoring opportunities as Williams nodded wide via a deflection for a corner and then Gabriele Angella steered his header off target from another McGugan delivery.

It was the visitors who made the all important breakthrough after 17 minutes when McGugan took full advantage after being awarded time and space 20 yards out, drilling past David Forde into the bottom corner.

McGugan tried his luck again a couple of minutes later from a similar position, this time thankfully lashing his shot wide and then Troy Deeney forced Forde into a smart save as the keeper reacted smartly at his near post to keep the striker's angled drive out.

Millwall responded looking to find a way back before the break, but found keeper Almunia alert to everything thrown his way. Left-back Scott Malone saw his 27th minute fierce drive beaten away and Owen Garvan's shot was also blocked.

The Lions had their best chance to pull themselves level 12 minutes before the break when Lee Martin robbed Joel Ekstrand and fed Woolford, who in turn cut the ball back for Garvan, the latter of whom was denied by Almunia from a central position.

Holloway brought on Morison for Garvan at the break and the striker had Millwall's first noteworthy attempto soon after the restart, flicking Edwards’ throw-on comfortably into the palms of Almunia.

Austrian frontman Stefan Maierhofer should have levelled matters up on 55 minutes, but sent a free header from Martin's free-kick high over the bar from six yards.

However The Lions were not to be thwarted for much longer and finally got the goal their patience and persistence deserved in the 64th-minute. Martin swung over a corner from the left, the ball was flicked into his path by a Watford player and Morison kept his composure, controlling the ball before crashing a half-volley past Almunia from eight yards.

The Lions had Forde to thank for keeping them in it just six minutes later; Hornets substitute Fernando Forestieri raced onto a ball from fellow sub Daniel Pudil and struck a crisp left-footed drive that the keeper did well to block. Abdi's follow-up was blocked again as Millwall's defence held firm.

As the game headed towards to the final 10 minutes it was the home side, encouraged all the way by some tremendous vocal support, who looked most likely to grab a second goal. Skipper Alan Dunne thought he had done just that after 85 minutes with a 20-yard piledriver that Almunia somehow got his fingers to tip round for a corner.

In the space of 25 seconds that hope had turned to despair as Watford broke almost immediately from the resulting corner, with Abdi eventually steering the ball home via a deflection.

To all intents and purposes that should have been that for the deflated Lions - but then this set of players have rediscovered their self-belief and refused to throw in the towel.

Almunia again did well to deny The Lions in the 90th minute, getting down low to his left to push Woolford’s firmly struck effort around the post for a corner.

As the game entered five minutes of injury-time Millwall threw caution to the wind with Forde charging upfield for a last-gasp corner. The ball was played to short to Carlos Edwards, but the mere presence of the keeper distracted the visitors and that lapse of concentration proved crucial as Woolford's left-foot shot squirmed past Almunia at the near-post to earn what could be a priceless point. 

Millwall: Forde, Edwards, Malone, Dunne, Beevers, Bailey, Williams, Martin (Jackson, 62mins), Garvan (Morison, 46mins), Maierhofer (Easter, 74mins), Woolford. Subs not used: Bywater, Robinson, Abdou, Fredericks, Jackson.
Booking: Martin (25mins) 
Scorers: Morison (64mins), Woolford (90+4mins) 

Watford: Almunia, Angella, Ekstrand, Deeney, McGugan (Murray, 83mins), Riera (Pudil, 67mins), Faraoni, Anya (Forestieri, 45+2mins), Abdi, Tozser, Hoban. Subs not used: Belkalem, Merkel, Ranegie, Bond. 
Bookings: Riera (3mins), McGugan (36mins), Murray (84mins) 
Scorers: McGugan (17mins), Abdi (86mins)

Ref: K.Stroud
Att: 10,851 (away 1,369)

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