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Report: Millwall 1 Sheffield Wednesday 3

24 February 2015

Full-time from The Den

Millwall's miserable win-less run at The Den stretched to 11 games as three second-half goals from Sheffield Wednesday condemned The Lions to a ninth home defeat of the campaign.

Having looked energetic and confident in the opening 45 minutes, the game turned on its head in the space of 45 second-half seconds when The Lions went desperately close to taking the lead via sub Aiden O'Brien, but a swift counter-attack saw Wednesday's Lewis McGugan fire the visitors ahead.

Further goals from Atdhe Nuhiu (72mins) and sub Stevie May (83mins) knocked the stuffing out of The Lions and although Diego Fabbrini scored his first for Millwall deep into injury-time, his effort was scant consolation on another night of bitter disappointment for the home fans.

It had all started so promisingly for Millwall as Gary Taylor-Fletcher, handed his full debut, combined well with Fabbrini twice in the opening exchanges.

It was following a neat flick by Taylor-Fletcher to Fabbrini that the Watford loanee was sent crashing to the ground in a central position around 25 yards out. Up stepped Michael Tonge to take the resulting free-kick, but his effort curled a yard over the bar.

On 12 minutes Taylor-Fletcher brilliantly controlled the ball following a diagonal pass from skipper Alan Dunne, but his delivery into the danger zone was cleared by the visiting defence.

Kamil Zayatte went into referee James Linington's book six minutes later for a clumsy challenge on Taylor-Fletcher and the striker was again involved in the thick of the action on 21 minutes. Fabbrini's deep cross was met by Lee Gregory who saw his shot superbly blocked by keeper Chris Kirkland. The ball fell to Taylor-Fletcher but his shot was cleared off the line and then left-back Dan Harding's follow-up was blocked as The Owls goal led a charmed life.

Taylor-Fletcher saw his exquisite 24th-minute back-heel hit the side netting from Martyn Woolford's through ball but The Owls gew in stature and confidence as the half progressed and it took a fine save from David Forde to avert the danger seven minutes before the break to deny Nuhiu, before Will Keane followed up but fired his shot over the bar with the keeper stranded.

Claude Dielna had a shot from 20 yards saved by Forde towards the end of the half, but the teams went into the break locked at 0-0.

The Lions went close to breaking the deadlock soon after the restart when Fabbrini slipped the ball through to Gregory. The striker's shot was blocked and a strong punch from Kirkland cleared from Aiden O'Brien as he rose to head home.

Play switched quickly to the other end and a slick, quick counter attack had devastating consequences as McGugan latched on to a long ball down the left and produced a composed, low finish into the far corner past the despairing Forde.

Lions boss Holloway changed his formation and went three at the back, introducing Ricardo Fuller just after the hour mark and pushing Jimmy Abdou and Harding into midfield.

The switch nearly paid off moments later when Abdou's inviting cross from the right flank was nudged narrowly wide by sub O’Brien.

However Wednesday doubled their lead 18 minutes from time with a well-crafted goal. Nuhiu started the move with a neat backheel pass to Jacques Maghoma on the left, then controlled the return pass from his team-mate before despatching a precision finish beyond the reach of Forde.

Worse was to follow in the 82nd-minute when The Owls added a third goal to put the game beyond Millwall's reach courtesy of May, who finished off a four-on-two break to make it 3-0.

The deflated Lions did reduce the arrears in injury-time when Fabbrini fired home from inside the box, but the damage had already been done to leave Holloway's side with 13 games to save their Championship status starting at fourth-from-bottom Rotherham United on Saturday.

Millwall: Forde, Abdou (Gueye, 74mins), Harding, Dunne, Hooiveld, Williams, Tonge, Woolford (O'Brien, 50mins), Fabbrini, Taylor-Fletcher, Gregory (Fuller, 63mins). Subs not used: King, Upson, Beevers, Nelson.
Scorer: Fabbrini (90+3mins)

Sheffield Wednesday: Kirkland, Semedo, Palmer, Nuhiu, Lees, Zayatte, Maghoma (Helan, 90mins), Lee, Dielna, McGugan (Hutchinson, 74mins), Keane (May, 80mins). Subs not used: Wildsmith, Mattock, Maguire, Vermijl.
Bookings: Zayatte (18mins), Dielna (90+4mins)
Scorers: McGugan (52mins), Nuhiu (72mins), May (83mins)

Ref: J. Linington
Att: 8,568 (away 1,001)

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