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Match Reports

Match Report : 22/08/2015

22 August 2015

Full-time score from Glanford Park

Paddy Madden missed a 79th-minute penalty for Scunthorpe United as Millwall recorded their first clean sheet away from The Den since 18th April with a gutsy goal-less draw at Glanford Park.

Iron were awarded a spot-kick when, with just 11 minutes remaining, sub Gary McSheffrey went to ground under a challenge from Mark Beevers, but Madden blazed his effort over the bar and out of the ground.

Overall a draw was a fair result in a match that saw the two teams hit the woodwork and both keepers, one of whom was Lions debutant Jordan Archer, producing excellent displays between the sticks.

Archer, 22, was one of three changes made by Lions manager Neil Harris who handed a full debut to 19-year-old Ben Thompson, whilst bringing back Beevers to central defence with Tony Craig shifting sideways to fill the left-back berth made vacant following an injury to Shane Ferguson.

It was arguably a brave move by the boss, but one that he deemed a necessity in a bid to kick-start The Lions' season after a run of three successive home defeats - and one that was vindicated by a welcome clean sheet and awayday point.

The sun was beating down on the Glanford Park pitch as the game kicked-off, but it was the visitors who were feeling hot under the collar after five minutes with the first clear-cut chance of the game falling to Scunthorpe. An incisive pass down the left flank released Madden, who motored into the penalty area, turned Sid Nelson and let fly with an arrowed drive that was heading for the bottom corner until keeper Archer flung himself low and got a strong hand to the ball to turn it away for a corner. 

Millwall began to settle into their stride, and a new 4-3-3 formation in which Fred Onyedinma, scorer of two goals in midweek, played in a more advanced position in a front three alongside Lee Gregory and Steve Morison, started to ask questions of the home defence.

The Lions produced a succession of promising moves, first with a quick counter-attack in which Thompson's rampaging run into the penalty area was brought to a halt by a superbly timed tackle from Kevin van Veen and then when the industrious Thompson again combined well with Morison, but the latter's cross was hacked clear. 

Shaun Williams had a great opportunity to break the deadlock in the 17th-minute following a slick exchange of passes between Thompson and Gregory. Gregory looked to be in on goal but spotted the unmarked Williams in a central position and teed him up perfectly, only for the midfielder's stinging shot to be brilliantly tipped away at point-blank range by Joe Anyson in the home goal. 

The game was really opening up now with The Lions and Iron getting into promising positions, but with both defences in resolute form, there was to be no way through in the opening 45 minutes. Scunthorpe's van Veen did rattle the crossbar five minutes before the break with a swerving 25-yarder, but lady luck was with The Lions on this occasion and when his shot bounced down off the woodwork, Beevers was well positioned to hook the ball away. 

The second-half started brightly and Thompson was a whisker away from marking his debut in spectacular style with a rasping drive from 20 yards that flashed inches wide of the upright with Anyson rooted to the spot.

Scunthorpe responded immediately, and barely 45 seconds later Hakeeb Adelukan wriggled free in the penalty and slipped the ball to former Lion Darius Henderson whose first-time effort was smartly saved by Archer.

Morison twice went close, first with a header narrowly off target from Craig's deep cross and then with a looping volley that landed on the roof of the net.

A defensive mix-up nearly saw  van Veen turn the ball into his own net as The Lions looked to take advantage of a decent spell of sustained pressure approaching the hour-mark.

Scunthorpe did have the ball in the back of the net when Madden headed home after Adelakun's shot had been parried by Archer, but the linesman raised his flag for offside and the 'goal' was ruled out for offside.

The introduction of Byron Webster and then Aiden O'Brien for Nelson and Gregory respectively added fresh legs and also kept the momentum going for Millwall, who were looking the more likely of the two teams to go on and win it.

Onyedinma weaved his way into the danger zone on 67 minutes and saw his snap-shot pushed away by Anyson, who then produced even better saves to tip Morison's header over and then Webster's powerful effort onto the bar.

The Lions bench were off their feet appealing for what looked like a handball in the home penalty area after 75 minutes when Jack King blocked Williams' shot, but it was Scunthorpe who were awarded a spot-kick of their own just four minutes later. McSheffrey and Beevers matched each other stride for stride as the Millwall defender tried to shield the ball out of play in the danger zone. However when they both went to ground, referee Clark paused, then pointed to the spot to the amazement of the visiting camp.

Justice was seen to be done, however, and Madden skied his 79th-minute effort wildly over the bar from 12 yards.

Both teams had opportunities to claim all three points in the final 10 minutes of an entertaining game.

Scunthorpe thought they had stolen the lead in the dying embers of normal time when Madden's header at the back post was flying towards the back of the net, but Archer somehow got a hand to the ball and it bounced down on the goal-line and then away to safety.

At the other end Millwall, who looked lively going forward themselves, nearly snatched victory right at the death only for Morison's fierce drive to smack the outside of post.  

Scunthorpe United: Anyon, Laird, McAllister, Madden, van Veen (McSheffrey, 57mins), Henderson (Hopper, 59mins), Bishop, Adelakun (Wootton, 67mins), King, Goode, Clarke. Subs not used: Daniels, Wiseman, Mirfin, Dawson. 
Bookings: McAllister (61mins) 

Millwall: Archer, Cummings, Craig, Beevers, Nelson (Webster, 61mins), Abdou, Williams, Thompson, Morison, Gregory (O'Brien, 70mins), Onyedinma. Subs not used: Forde, Cowan-Hall, Upson, Martin, Marquis. 
Bookings: Nelson (20mins), Morison (31mins), Craig (44mins) 

Ref: R Clark 

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