Millwall v Scunthorpe United

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Football League Championship

Millwall3(1)Scunthorpe United0(0)

Henry 23, Morison 81, 86

Millwall :
Forde, Dunne, Robinson, Barron, Mkandawire, Shittu, Puncheon (Schofield 88), Henry, Abdou, Morison, Andrew (McQuoid 46).
Subs not used:
Mildenhall, Craig, Ward, Hackett, Harris.

Scunthorpe United :
Murphy, Jones, Byrne, Nolan, A.Wright, Togwell, Woolford, O'Connor (Forte 60), J.Wright (McDonald 79), Dagnall, Sears (Thompson 60).
Subs not used:
Slocombe, McClenahan, N'Guessan, Godden.


by Caroline Hall at The New Den

NEARLY 200 hardy Iron fans overcame the wintery conditions and made the journey to the New Den in hope of a display that would warm the spirits of the United faithful. No such luck!

The game had a scrappy start, with neither team managing to maintain possession. However it was Scunnie who threatened first as Freddie Sears showed some good movement down the right hand channel to collect a well weighted Dagnall pass. Unfortunately Sears was unable to get a shot away and O'Connor's resulting corner failed to clear the first man.

Scunthorpe's first scare came just before the 15-minute mark when Steve Morison (sign him up please Wharton!) beat Murphy from a tight angle, only to see his effort drift across the goal (NB Joe Murphy: Morison likes to try and shoot with the outside of his right foot from a tight angle, so watch out for that one later in the game!).

United had set up with an ambitious 4-3-3, and the Millwall midfield seemed to be finding a worrying amount of time and space in the centre of the park. These thoughts became reality as James Henry was able to carry the ball, unchallenged, from within his own half before unleashing a well struck drive to beat Murphy low to his right. Cue another four letter tirade from the angered Murphy; goalkeeper rage, what a fantastic spectator sport!

With Murphy's soothing Irish tones still ringing in their ears, the Iron responded well to the setback and Nolan found space down the left and crossed to give Rob Jones the Iron's best chance of the match, but he headed wide. O'Connor then had another chance to impress with the deadball, but his shot drifted over the Millwall goal.

The game continued to be a relatively open affair, and it was Millwall who had the next sight of goal when a well measured cross found Robinson, whose header looped over the bar.

Scunthorpe struggled to clear their lines and Rob Jones was again called into action to defend a low driven James Henry cross from wide on the left. The Iron then faced more pressure as Togwell was unable to close Morison down, who crossed for Calvin Andrew who headed over.

The first-half did, however, finish with United on the front foot as a Wright cross caused problems in the home side's box. Abdu lost his footing, however neither Togwell nor Sears could profit from the slip. The resulting corner was comfortably collected by the Lions' 'keeper.

The second-half began in a similar style to the first, with the Iron struggling to link up with the front three and Dagnall often looking isolated up top (something you would think is hard to achieve in a 4-3-3, but that is what it looked like to me!).

Minutes 50-52 are probably ones that Scunthorpe players and fans would like to forget. The on-loan West Ham player Sears attempted to cross the ball, which unfortunately ended in an air shot and a nose dive into the snow by the advertising hoardings, much to the amusement of the 53 South Londoners who had bothered to come and watch their team.

The Christmas spirit was then epitomised by Togwell and O'Connor who, generously, both left the ball for one another, and in doing so facilitated the beginning of another Millwall counter-attack.

The game was still end-to-end, although Millwall seemed to be much more accurate in the final third. On 55 minutes Millwall headed wide before O'Connor got in a good position to deliver a slightly over-hit cross at the other end. Scunnie then had another let-off as Puncheon found time and space to measure a cross and the unmarked McQuay failed to capitalise.

60 minutes saw the introduction of Forte and Thompson, which led to some improved movement up front and Thompson looked to have got in behind the Millwall defence before being muscled off the ball by Danny 'the Incredible Hulk' Shittu.

As the clock ticked on, United started to look a little ragged and Murphy was forced to parry a well struck effort before Jones was booked for taking Puncheon out so as to relieve the immediate danger.

Baraclough then brought on MacDonald at the 75 minute mark and must have been mystified by his contribution of conceding two free kicks and getting booked for kicking the ball away whilst his side were chasing the game. He looks like a real 'keeper!

On 80 minutes, Millwall struck again. Morison found himself with a tight angle from the left hand side of the goal, and guess what? He tried to beat Murphy at his near post with the outside of his right foot! This time he was successful, following his sighter earlier in the game. Cue internal rage from Murphy - not such a great spectator sport as the external variety.

Again the Iron defence backed off and allowed Henry to strike another well hit drive just over. Morison then doubled his tally and sealed the game as a long ball was flicked on and Morrison obliged with the finish.

The 89th minute saw Scunthorpe have their first shot on target, which was celebrated like a winner at the Champions League final (although, deep down, we all had suspicions that the ball may not have had the pace to cross the goal line even if left alone by Forde, the Millwall 'keeper).

By the end of the 90 (plus three long minutes) the SULSESC contingent could be seen shivering in one corner of the stand, whilst the native Scunthorpe folk had adopted holiday mode and were starting to enjoy the balmy six degree temperatures of South London.

So, whilst Bara may have reached 40 years of age, the 50 points needed by United to secure safety are still looking some way off.