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REPORT: Millwall 3 Wolves 3

18 October 2014

Full-time from The Den

It had looked to be curtains for The Lions when Wolves stormed into a 3-0 lead with goals from Danny Batth (23mins), Ethan Ebanks-Landall (61mins) and Bakary Sako (64mins).

A sensational fightback by Millwall saw Ian Holloway's men battle their way back from a 3-0 deficit to secure a share of the spoils against Wolves in a pulsating Den encounter.


If anyone wanted to taste Championship football at its best, then this game produced the type of end-to-end action that at times was breathless, and fantastic entertainment for both sets of fans - especially those in the home crowd!

But Holloway's men responded superbly and picked off that that three goal deficit one by one with an amazing recovery thanks to efforts from Lee Gregory (67mins) and a late brace by sub Ricardo Fuller (82, 87mins).
The Lions dug in one last time, and despite playing the last couple of minutes at a numerical disadvantage, defended resolutely to secure what had at one stage looked to be a most unlikely point.

As the game swung from one end to the other, a quick counter-attack by Wolves saw Williams isolated in a two on one situation and the Millwall man brought down Lee Evans as he raced clear on goal. Referee Drysdale brandished a red card and from Sako's resulting free-kick Lions keeper Forde flung himself across goal to make a tremendous save, somehow turning the ball behind for a corner.

In a rip-roaring finale, including eight minutes of injury-time, both teams went hell for leather in search of a fourth and match-winning goal.

Roared on by a home crowd the two substitutes Martin and Fuller combined to send The Den faithful into raptures. Martin did well to work an opening on the right flank and his low, inviting cross was expertly swept home by Fuller to spark wild scenes of celebration.

It really was game on once Fuller expertly hooked the ball home to bring Millwall within touching distance of Wolves, further reducing the arrears after a great move in which Martin's cross was headed into the sub's path by McDonald.

On came Scott Malone for Chaplow with the third and final roll of the dice by manager Holloway as The Lions reverted to three at the back for the final 22 minutes - and the gamble paid off handsomely.

Striker Gregory pulled a goal back on 67 minutes when he was allowed time and space to control the ball and hit a crisp low finish into the bottom corner.

At 3-0 and seemingly cruising, Wolves lost concentration, shape and eventually the chance of all three points as The Lions dug in and produced an amazing fightback with three goals in the final 23 minutes, including a quick-fire brace from sub Fuller.

Matters went from bad to worse on 64 minutes when Briggs was penalised for a foul on the right flank and Sako hit a fizzer that was destined for the back of the net the moment the ball left his foot.

However The Lions were left facing a mountain to climb when Henry whipped in a 61st-minute free-kick from the left and after an almighty scramble in which Lions keeper Forde ended up in the back - so did the ball after Ebanks-Landell bundled home from no more than a foot.

Millwall made a double change seconds after former Lion Henry came on as a sub for Wolves, with Martin and Fuller replacing O'Brien and Abdou.

McDonald was denied a 51st-minute equaliser with a powerful header that smacked against the woodwork after O'Brien's neat flick enabled Gregory to turn the ball back across the face of goal from a tight angle on the right.

The two teams traded scoring chances straight from the restart; Aiden O'Brien's clean strike well held by Ikeme and Sako then replicating with a near-identical effort at the other end, this time saved by Forde.

Holloway shuffled his playing pack at the start of the second-half, moving skipper Alan Dunne to centre-half, Abdou to right-back and Williams into midfield.

Left-back Matthew Briggs went close seconds before half-time after breaking into the danger zone, only to be thwarted by an excellent defensive block.

However referee Darren Drysdale waved play on to the relief of the travelling Wolves supporters behind the North Stand goal and general disbelief of those in the home crowd.

The home crowd were roaring for a penalty seven minutes before half-time when Woolford's goalbound shot was blocked. The ball fell invitingly for Gregory who went to ground under a challenge from Batth as he prepared to pull the trigger.

Moments later Gregory's dinked ball on the edge of the penalty area picked out Jimmy Abdou, but the midfielder scooped his shot wide of the target.

Chaplow's curling delivery was tipped away from under the bar by Ikeme before the boot of Matt Doherty eventually swept the ball clear.

Millwall came straight back looking for an immediate response and seconds after the restart a long-range drive by Scott McDonald was pushed away at full stretch by Ikeme for a corner.

However it was the visitors who made the breakthrough in the 23rd-minute when The Lions failed to clear Sako's corner and defender Batth produced a crisp volley that flew into the back of the net.

Richard Chaplow's inswinging corner after 19 minutes curled across the face of goal and was a whisker away from the outstretched boot of Lee Gregory as Holloway's men threatened.

Lions keeper David Forde, fresh from helping the Republic of Ireland secure an impressive 1-1 draw midweek with World Champions Germany, showed rapier-like reactions to collect the ball as Nouha Dicko tried to collect a Dave Edwards through ball.

An ambitious free-kick from Millwall defender Shaun Williams was the closest either side came to breaking the deadlock in the opening quarter of an hour with an effort from the halfway line that dropped narrowly over the bar with keeper Carl Ikeme back peddling furiously.

However once the game started, old friendships were put aside for the following 90 minutes as the sides got down to the business of trying to secure three points.

Former Den boss Kenny Jackett received a standing ovation from The Den faithful when the teams came out and an emotional rendition of 'One Kenny Jackett' rang around the stadium.

Lions boss Holloway stuck with the same side that had secured a goal-less draw at Derby County in the last game before the international break, although there was a welcome return to the bench for fit-again winger Lee Martin.

Briggs (63mins)Booking:
Forde, Dunne, Briggs, Webster, Williams, Abdou (Fuller, 57mins), Chaplow (Malone 67mins), McDonald, Woolford, O'Brien (Martin, 56mins), Gregory. Subs not used: King, Shittu, Upson, Beevers. Millwall:
Sending off: Gregory (67mins), Fuller (82, 87mins)Scorers:
Williams (90+6mins)

13,428 (away 2,102)Att:
D. Drysdale Ref:

Batth (23mins), Ebanks-Landell (61mins), Sako (64mins) Scorers:
Sako (35mins), Henry (54mins), Ebanks-Landell (68mins), Batth (70mins), Evans (90+5mins) Bookings:
Ikeme, Doherty, Edwards, Batth, Sako, McDonald, Evans, Rowe, van La Parra (Henry, 53mins), Ebanks-Landell (Stearman, 86mins), Dicko (Sagbo, 81mins). Subs not used: Flatt, Goldbourne, Saville, Jacobs. Wolves:

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