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Malone: We can handle the pressure

28 April 2014

Media round-up from the weekend

Daily Star

Scott Malone reckons he can handle the pressure of a tense final day in the Championship with Millwall - 12 months after sweating about survival on his sofa!

The Lions left-back was the unlikely hero on Saturday as his 91st minute sliced effort caught out QPR keeper Rob Green and cancelled Charlie Austin's penalty.

The valuable draw gives Ian Holloway's men a two-point cushion above the drop zone ahead of their last game of the season against Bournemouth at The Den next weekend.

But Malone is just happy that Millwall have their destiny in their own hands and he can contribute to avoiding relegation this time around.

Malone said: "It's deja vu isn't it? It happened last year at Derby - I wasn't there, I was watching on TV down in Bournemouth with James Henry.

"I think I was more nervous than the people that were there. Literally it was out of my hands and it wasn't nice. We sat there looking at each other - sweating I think!

"It'll be nice to be able to do something about it next Saturday, that's the main thing. I was at home and it really wasn't nice but I can do something about it.

"Beating Bournemouth would be lovely. We've just got to win - if we win we're safe so it's in our hands."

Millwall have come good at just the right time of the campaign after extending their unbeaten run under Holloway to seven matches.

And while the draw was a superb result for the visitors, it meant little for QPR, who have already booked their play-off spot.

But goal-scorer Austin, who joined from promoted Burnley last summer, is desperate for Harry Redknapp's side to finish the job.

Austin said: "Getting into the Premier League is the aim for QPR. If you asked anyone it was the aim at the start of the season and if you ask anyone now then it's where we want to be.

"I spoke to a couple of the lads at Burnley and just said, 'Congratulations'. But I'm a QPR player now.

"Of course there is more pressure on us, but what a way to go up.

"If you can't go up as champions then what better way than playing in a £120m game at Wembley?

"It's what we are aiming to have and hopefully we can get through the play-offs.

"The play-offs are an absolute lottery so who knows what will happen? We need to put in good performances for 90 minutes and not get sloppy like we did against Millwall.

"It doesn't matter whether you play home or away. You just have to put in two big performances to try and get to Wembley. That's what we have to do."


Rob Green’s late error handed Millwall a point in QPR’s final home game of the season on Saturday.
Green palmed Scott Malone’s injury-time shot into his own net, giving the Lions a share of the spoils after Charlie Austin had put QPR ahead.

Austin scored from the spot with 12 minutes remaining after a handball in the area by Millwall’s Simeon Jackson.

The point ensures that Rangers are now certain to finish fourth in the Championship. That will give them home advantage in the second leg of their play-off semi-final, against either Reading or Wigan Athletic later this month.

Millwall almost took the lead with the first attacking move of the game, as Owen Garvan broke away down the left and crossed for Stefan Maierhofer who was unmarked at the far post. Maierhofer, however, sent his downward header wide from three yards out.

The visitors settled the quicker of the two sides, as midfielder Lee Martin met another dangerous cross into the penalty area with a volley that flew wide. Scott Malone also tried his luck with a fierce volley from 25 yards that arrowed over Rob Green’s crossbar.

Rangers were struggling to seriously test Millwall keeper David Forde. Ravel Morrison led one quick break upfield, but chose to shoot instead of play in Charlie Austin, and the midfielder’s effort was blocked on the edge of the area. Austin had a sight of goal shortly afterwards after good work by Morrison, but his shot was blocked for a corner.

Forde was finally called into action on 31 minutes, as Niko Kranjcar drove into the area from wide on the left and fired in a shot which the keeper pushed out. Austin poked the rebound towards goal but Forde recovered well to smother the loose ball.

The game opened up towards half-time as both sides went close. Maierhofer drilled in a low shot which Rob Green saved with his legs at the near post. At the other end, Benayoun crossed for Morrison who seemed certain to score, but Forde tipped his header over the bar.

Martyn Woolford then found himself clear on Green’s goal, but dragged his shot wide.

Barton volleyed wide, while Tom Carroll and Morrison both shot over the bar from long range as QPR began the second half with a period of pressure. Again, though, Redknapp’s side were failing to match promising build-up with efforts on target.

Austin cut a frustrated figure up front at times, but the striker had a golden chance to score his second goal in two games when he met Simpson’s high, hanging cross. He missed the target, however, heading wide at the far post. Millwall were a threat on the break, substitute Simeon Jackson running the length of the pitch before wasting the chance with a shot into the stand.

Jackson was the culpable as QPR opened the scoring. The Millwall forward handled inside the area, and Austin stepped up to send Forde the wrong way from the penalty spot.

Austin was then substituted for Kevin Doyle, leaving the pitch to a standing ovation. Moments later, Millwall almost drew level as Williams curled a free-kick against the bar.

And the Lions did draw level in stoppage time, as Malone tried his luck with a shot that Green mis-judged, pushing the ball into the corner of the net.

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