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Fixture News

Doncaster R 0 Millwall 0

29 December 2013

Full-time score from the Keepmoat Stadium

Millwall dug in and recorded only their fourth clean sheet of the season - and first away point in five games - to hand caretaker managers Neil Harris and Scott Fitzgerald a solid result in their first game at the helm.

Chopper and Fitz took charge of the team following the dismissal of former manager Steve Lomas four days ago, and although their charges were unable to record a victory to mark the occasion, there were plenty of positives to take from this display.

The caretaker managerial duo made five changes to the team thrashed at Watford and were clearly looking for an instant response in terms of commitment, pride, and passion - and that's what they got.

A reshuffled defensive pack saw Shane Lowry move across to partner Mark Beevers at the heart of the back four, with Alan Dunne and Scott Malone slotting into the right and left-back berths respectively.

Fit-again Nicky Bailey came into midfield for the injured Liam Trotter, joined by Richard Chaplow, whilst Scott McDonald completed the quintet of changes, partnering Steve Morison in a 4-1-3-2 formation.

Both The Lions and Rovers went into action on Sunday in desperate need of points to move away from the bottom three of the table, with just one point and one place seperating the two teams.

However it was The Lions who really took the game to the home side, and went desperately close to breaking the deadlock on 24 minutes when Shane Lowry's header was cleared off the line by David Cotterill. The ball fell invitingly for Bailey, but his fierce snap shot took a deflection and went behind for a goal kick.

Millwall looked far more comfortable defensively, and that in turn bred confidence for the team as a whole going forward, with The Lions peppering Rovers' goal with a number of shots from distance in the opening half.

Martyn Woolford scuffed an effort agonisingly wide on the half-hour mark with the goal gaping, whilst Malone sent a fizzer narrowly off target following an inch-perfect free-kick from David Forde.

Keeper Forde was called into action five minutes before the break with a splendid save at full stretch to thwart Dean Furman, and Liam Wakefield headed over at the back post when he perhaps should have done better just before half-time for the home side.

Millwall came out at the start of the second-half with renewed purpose and a slick move involving McDonald and Chaplow set up Malone, but his header seemed to brush off team-mate Woolford and go behind for a goal-kick.

Chaplow and McDonald combined well again on 56 minutes, but on this occasion the former's rocket flashed a foot over the bar.

Millwall tried their luck a further four times from distance as the half wore on in a bid to grab the all-important opening goal, and with a little more composure and accuracy that would have come.

But it was Rovers who went closest to scoring twice in the final five minutes. Sub Federico Macheda peeled away from a couple of Lions players and curled a sweet shot that looked as if it was heading for the bottom corner, but thankfully smacked the bottom of the post and bounced away to safety.

Then in the dying moments keeper Forde, so often Millwall's saviour this season, pulled off a stupendous save to tip Mark Duffy's arrowed free-kick over for a corner, which was confidently dealt with by the visitors.

It may not have been the winning start that everyone had wanted for Chopper and Fitz, but there is no hiding that this was a significant improvement in terms of recent away displays with some encouraging signs that the team can kick-on now and move away from the relegation zone.

Turnbull, Quinn, Furman, Duffy, Cotterill, McCullough, Wakefield, Woods (Robinson, 66mins), Wellens, Peterson (Macheda, 66mins), Stevens. Subs not used: Maxted, De Val, Bennett, Forrester, Yun.Doncaster Rovers:
Furman (14mins)Booking:

Forde, Dunne, Malone, Abdou, Beevers, Lowry, Bailey, Chaplow (Martin, 74mins), McDonald (Easter, 80mins), Morison, Woolford. Subs not used: Bywater, Hoyte, Smith, Wright, Onyedinma.Millwall:
Bailey (90+1mins)Booking:

 6,454 (away 408)Att:

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