Skip to main content

Match Report


Posted Tue 04 Nov 14 at 21:46 PM

Full-time from The Den

Shaun Williams grabbed a dramatic late leveller as 10-man Millwall fought back brilliantly from 2-0 down to secure a share of the points against Blackburn Rovers. 

On a night of high drama at The Den, Lions defender Andy Wilkinson was dismissed in the 63rd-minute for a foul on Ben Marshall with The Lions already trailing to Shane Duffy's 37th-minute opener. 

When Rudy Gestede put Rovers 2-0 ahead four minutes after the red card it looked to be game over and three points in the bag for Gary Bowyer's men. 

Lions boss Ian Holloway and his assistant Marc Bircham were then sent to the stands moments after Lee Martin had reduced the arrears with 18 minutes remaining, but the final twist in the tale came in the 88th-minute when Williams lashed home an equaliser. 

Holloway had made two changes to his starting XI with central defenders Danny Shittu and Mark Beevers replacing Alan Dunne and Byron Webster in the heart of the back four. Strikers Lee Gregory and Mathias Ranegie also returned from injury to take their place on the bench.

Rovers carved out the first chance of the game on 10 minutes when Jordan Rhodes played in Tom Cairney, but the latter's drive from 16 yards crashed into the side netting.

The visitors went even closer to breaking the deadlock midway through the half when Rhodes was picked out by Markus Olsson's deep, hanging cross from the left, but directed a powerful header narrowly over the bar.

After a quiet start to the game, it was The Den faithful who played their part trying to encourage the team and the response was immediate with a persistent piece of play by Ricardo Fuller earning Millwall their first corner on 27 minutes. Williams swung over the delivery and although Beevers got his head to the ball, his knockdown was just beyond the reach of any team-mate.

Williams then tested Rovers keeper Jason Steele with a 30-yard piledriver that was pushed round the post for another corner as The Lions started to ask questions of the opposition.

However when Shittu was penalised for a foul in a 50-50 challenge with Rudy Gestede eight minutes before half-time, Marshall's free-kick from the right found its way to Duffy who smashed home at the second attempt to give Blackburn the lead against the run of play. 

The heavens opened - and the visiting defence so nearly did too - when seconds before the break another inviting cross from Williams picked out Martyn Woolford, but the latter's glancing header flashed wide of the far post. 

There were no changes made by either team and the start of the second-half and it was Williams, at the heart of the most promising Millwall moves on the night, who drew a smart save from Steele with a low shot that picked up speed on a greasy playing surface. 

Ed Upson then tried his luck from distance with another long-range effort, but to the frustration of the home fans, his shot whistled wide of the target. 

Fuller then held the ball up well before feeding Lee Martin, whose shot was blocked for a corner, with both Beevers and Fuller seeing shots blocked in a goalmouth scramble following Williams' subsequent delivery.

Millwall were looking good for an equaliser, and the home crowd were howling for a penalty just before the hour-mark when Fuller went to ground, but play was waved on. 

Moments later referee Darren Deadman was reaching for his pocket, brandishing a straight red card to Wilkinson for a foul on Marshall right in front of the Blackburn dug-out. Scott McDonald was sacrificed for Dunne with Millwall's second change of the night, but to make matters worse Rovers doubled their tally just a couple of minutes later when Cairney's cross was met by Gestede, who planted a firm header beyond the reach of David Forde. 

Spurred by a real sense of injustice - and an awful raking challenge on Fuller that went unpunished - The Lions fans and 10-men alike responded magnificently and Holloway's men gave themselves a lifeline with 18 minutes remaining when Fuller laid the ball off for Martin in the penalty area. Martin did well to control the ball on the slippery surface and produced a crisp finish that gave Steele no chance. 

Holloway made his third and final change replacing Fuller with Gueye with quarter of an hour remaining but just two minutes later both the manager and his number two Bircham were sent to the stands by referee Deadman for persistent dissent. 

The disbelief and fury amongst the home supporters turned to sheer ecstasy in the final two minutes of normal time when Gueye held the ball up well, played it to Martin whose cross was headed out to Williams and he rifled home an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner from 25 yards. 

With the home crowd roaring The Lions on, the seven minutes of injury-time saw both teams going all out to clinch a third, match-winning goal. Rovers twice went close to edging this thriller with Ryan Tunnicliffe and then Gestede firing over, but mighty Millwall held firm for a thoroughly deserved share of the spoils.

Millwall: Forde, Wilkinson, Briggs, Shittu, Beevers, Williams, Upson (Gregory, 60mins), Woolford, McDonald (Dunne, 64mins), Martin, Fuller (Gueye, 74mins). Subs not used: King, Webster, Ranegie, Chaplow. 
Bookings: Fuller, (73mins), Williams (87mins) 
Sending off: Wilkinson (63mins) 
Scorers: Martin (72mins), Williams (88mins)  

Blackburn Rovers: Steele, Hanley, Cairney, Rhodes (Varney, 86mins), Marshall (Conway, 81mins), Olsson, Baptiste, Duffy, Tunnicliffe, Evans, Gestede. Subs not used: Henley, Kilgallon, Dunn, Eastwood, Taylor. 
Booking: Olsson (83mins) 
Scorers: Duff (37mins), Gestede (65mins)

Ref: D. Deadman
Att: 8,250 (away 486)

    Latest Match Reports