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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 22 Nov 14 at 16:47 PM

Full-time from The Valley

All good things come to an end - but for now, Millwall's proud 18-year unbeaten record against Charlton remains intact following an absorbing south London derby at The Valley.

Led by skipper Alan Dunne, who was outstanding throughout, it proved to be yet another afternoon of frustration for The Addicks, who last beat Millwall in March 1996 - and have failed to score against The Lions in the last six meetings.

Lions boss Ian Holloway shuffled his playing pack in a bid to find the right balance as his side looked to improve on a run that had reaped just one Championship win in 12 games.

Left-back Scott Malone was one of five changes made, returning to the team along with Byron Webster, Scott McDonald, Martin Woolford and Ed Upson. Matthew Briggs, Danny Shittu, Richard Chaplow, Magaye Gueye and Ricardo Fuller were the quintet to make way. 

Lee Gregory, starting up front in a central striking role, proved to be a real handful for the home defence throughout and in the opening couple of minutes used his strength and control to good use. The game was barely 48 seconds in when Gregory held off Morgan Fox but couldn't get enough purchase on the ball and his scuffed effort was comfortably cleared by Nick Pope in the Charlton goal. 

Gregory was involved again on four minutes with a deft touch that picked out the roaming Woolford in the penalty area. Unfortunately Woolford was unable to make a clean contact as he appeared to get his studs caught in the ground as he prepared to shoot. 

Charlton created their first chance of the game in the 11th minute when top-scorer Igor Vetokele met Jordan Cousins' deep cross from the left only to direct his header well wide of the post. Vetokele, who had bagged eight goals in 15 games going into this match, was frustrated by Mark Beevers just past the quarter-hour mark as The Lions defender first swept the ball off the striker's toes and then averted the danger, clearing his lines under pressure with a crisp clearance. 

Whilst both teams produced some nice passages of play, that incisive final delivery was missing in an evenly fought opening half high on effort, but lacking in much significant goalmouth action. 

Upson directed a header straight into keeper Pope's hands following neat interplay between Lee Martin and Gregory with David Forde producing a near-identical save at the other end from Charlton's Andre Bikey as he rose to meet Johann Gudmundsson's corner on the stroke of half-time. 

Charlton came flying out of the traps at the start of the second-half and it took the cool, calm head of Dunne to organise, cajole and direct the defence, taking the full force of a fierce shot by Harriott with a superbly timed block three minutes after the restart. 

Forde did well to gather Gudmundsson's shot after it took a wicked deflection before combining well with Shaun Williams to clear with the dangerous Harriott lurking at the back post. 

Millwall boss Holloway made a couple of subs in quick succession, bringing on Jermaine Easter and then Fuller, and the duo's introduction sparked an immediate response with Fuller slicing wide with his first touch from 16 yards out and then McDonald sending a low grubber wide after a delightful piece of control. 

Charlton's Bikey was booked for a cynical foul on Martin as he sprinted through on goal and from the resulting free-kick, Williams picked up McDonald's lay-off but saw his low 25-yard drive held by Pope. 

Keeper Pope found himself increasingly busier as the game wore on and he was called into action 11 minutes from time, diving low to his left to thwart Malone after the left-back had worked his way into the penalty area with a mazy run. 

Sub Easter was then denied by a super save from Pope with his goal-bound angled drive tipped around the post at full stretch for a corner. Roared on by 3,141 fans packed in the Jimmy Seed Stand, The Lions tried their hardest to produce a grandstand finish. 

Fuller so nearly returned to haunt his former club with a goal that The Lions second-half display deserved, getting a touch on McDonald's shot but once again seeing that man Pope proving an unbeatable last line of defence for the home side. 

Infact it could have been Charlton who nicked all three points right at the death but Webster, and then Captain Fantastic Dunne, with a clearance virtually off his own goal-line, somehow denied George Tucudean a late, late winner as Millwalll's spirited, controlled display was rewarded with a valuable away point. 

Charlton Athletic: Pope, Solly, Fox, Bikey, Ben Haim, Gudmundsson (Wilson, 87mins), Coquelin, Buyens (Harriott, 27mins), Jackson Tucudean, 82mins), Cousins, Vetokele. Subs not used: Phillips, Gomez, Onyewu, Bulot. 
Booking: Bikey (73mins)

Millwall: Forde, Dunne, Malone, Beevers, Webster, Williams, Upson (Easter, 62mins), McDonald, Martin, Gregory (Fuller, 66mins), Woolford (Gueye, 85mins). Subs not used: King, Shittu, Angel, Chaplow. 
Bookings: Gregory (45+2mins), Beevers (90+3mins) 

Ref: G. Scott

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