Full-time score from The Den
Manager-less Millwall were left ruing a hatful of missed chances as table-topping Leicester City edged to a rather flattering New Year's Day victory at The Den.
Caretaker managers Scott Fitzgerald and Neil Harris took charge for the second successive match following the Boxing Day departure of Steve Lomas, and named an unchanged team from the XI that drew at Doncaster Rovers on Sunday.
The temporary managers had demanded a repeat of the pride, passion and purpose they had seen in their first game at the helm, and The Lions certainly gave Championship leaders Leicester a run for their money at a rain-soaked, wind-swept Den.
Having taken an early lead in slightly controversial circumstances through Anthony Knockaert, David Nugent (47mins) looked to have put the game beyind Millwall's reach.
But instead of accepting defeat, Millwall kept right at the job in hand and hauled themslves back into contention thanks to Richard Chaplow's first goal for the club with 23 minutes remaining.
With Millwall pushing hard for a late leveller, Foxes sub Jeff Schlupp raced onto Knockaert's ball and slammed home to finally kill off the battling Lions in the third of six minutes of stoppage time.
It was a cruel blow for Millwall, whose spirited performance really deserved to earn a share of the spoils from this encounter.
Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel was called into action early on when he parried a stinging half-volley from Nicky Bailey wide after three minutes.
But with their first real attack, the visitors took the lead on five minutes when Knockaert appeared to foul Shane Lowry 30 yards out, the ref waved play on and the Leicester man strode forward before hitting a low shot into the far corner.
Chaplow's seventh-minute long range drive was pushed away by the Foxes keeper and moments later Taylor-Fletcher spurned a glorious chance to make it 2-0, when he contrived to fire wide with keeper David Forde on the floor and the goal at his mercy.
The Lions, however, continued to press forward and some super close control by Steve Morison so nearly brought a 16th-minute equaliser, cutting into the danger zone and letting fly with a crisp shot that was again diverted away by Schmeichel.
Left-back Scott Malone's effort was deflected for a throw-in following a slick move involving the impressive Scott McDonald. Morison then headed over from Martyn Woolford's cross in the 25th minute before McDonald's clever shot on the turn forced another save from the increasingly busy Foxes keeper.
McDonald, who showed some tremendous touches and vision throughout, went agonisingly close once more with a fierce shot that Schmeichel did well to save.
The half-time whistle impacted slightly on Millwall's momentum, and within two minutes of the restart Leicester had doubled their tally following another incisive counter-attack.
On this occasion Taylor-Fletcher sprung the offside trap and crossed for strike partner Nugent, who had the simplest of tasks to head home from barely four yards.
That second goal failed to knock the stuffing out of Millwall, and the visitors had the safe handling of Schmeichel to thank for keeping the home side at bay, saving smartly from Chaplow after he had been picked out by a pinpoint crossfield pass from Nicky Bailey.
Chaplow was not to be denied, however, and when McDonald's smart snap-shot was parried by the keeper he reacted first to stab the ball home from close range.
Sub Lee Martin, a 54th-minte replacement for Martyn Woolford, was a fraction away from connecting with Chaplow's inviting delivery that flashed across the face of the Leicester goal.
But it was fellow sub Jermaine Easter, on for Jimmy Abdou, who spurned a glorious opportunity to haul The Lions level with 16 minutes remaining. Racing onto a Morison flick and with the keeper racing forward, Easter over-hit his chipped effort and the ball sailed over the bar to the dismay of The Den faithful.
McDonald fired wide of the upright after he was put through by Morison whilst Chaplow swept wide from 16 yards as Millwall pressed for a late leveller.
There was always a risk that with the team pushing forward in numbers Leicester could take advantage on the break, and that's exactly what happened in the third minute of injury-time.
Knockaert knocked Martin off the ball deep in the Millwall half to break up another promising home attack, slipped the ball forward and it was picked up by Schlupp, who raced forward and despatched a low shot under the body of Forde and into the back of the net for a third, somewhat harsh, Leicester goal.
McDonald (14mins), Dunne (76mins)
Forde, Dunne, Malone (Smith, 63mins), Abdou (Easter, 74mins), Beevers, Lowry, Bailey, Woolford (Martin, 54mins), McDonald, Morison, Chaplow. Subs not used: Bywater, Shittu, Wright, Pavey.
Leicester City: Hammond (28mins), Taylor-Fletcher (41mins)Booking:
Schmeichel, Morgan, Hammond, King, Dyer (De Laet, 55mins), Moore, Taylor-Fletcher (Schlupp, 72mins), Miquel, Knockaert, Wasilewski, Nugent (Drinkwater, 79mins). Subs not used: Logan, Konchesky, James, Waghorn.
Scorers: Knockaert (5mins), Nugent (47mins), Schlupp (90+3mins)
Att: 10,014 (away 1,114)