Millwall 2-0 Barnsley ~ Match Report

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A Friday night game at the Den is always a good start to any weekend and me and MrsB wrapped up against the chilly winds and gave the Bonemobile a rare outing to the back streets of Bermondsey after collecting our Grandson, Jack for his first night game.

We arrived in good time and got our copy of NOLU from the Archbishop and watched as a couple of coaches limped into the away end carrying the most forlorn looking set of fans Iíve seen in a long time.

Barnsley people are, by default, professional northerners, and by the Gods of football they make sure they live up to this ideal. Industrial, is an apt description of these despicable people, You can easily picture them still bathing in a tin bath in front of a coal fire, hawking great clods of phlegm into the fire as the coal dust ebbs out of every pore of their sorry frames. And thatís just the women...

Think of toothless, greasy haired, acne riddled brass band members and you can tick the box for a Barnsley-ite. If you havenít read the book (or seen the film) ďKesĒ then please do so if you want to see what it is still like in Barnsley...truly awful people with no redeeming features at all.

Once the coaches had passed us by we grabbed some grub from the Millwall cafe and made our way to our seats and I must say the crowd looked very sparse as the teams came out (official figures say just over 10,000 but it seemed much less to me?) but there was enough of a buzz about the place to keep the cold night air at bay.

Mr Jackett had made changes from the Leicester game and also had raided the market again as we welcomed former Millwall schoolboy Craig Eastmond back into the fold from Arsenal via a season long loan and he slotted into the team as follows;

Forde, Dunne, Purse, Mkandawire, Barron, Henry, Abdou, Eastmond, Schofield, Trotter and Morison.

It was good to see the injured players slowly returning and Mkandawire and Trotter both looked back to normal as referee Scott got us under way. Trotter was playing up front with Morison and Mkandawire slotted into the back four as a centre back partner for Purse.

We started well and we soon had the visitors under control as the game was played virtually in their half. Morison was looking very busy, back to his old self, as it were, and the new boy was at ease in the middle of the park. Henry was already causing problems down the right hand side and we certainly had no problems at the back.

Trotter and Barron combined well to carve out the first real chance for Morison but the final ball was rescued just in time by the Barnsley defender as was the next move created by Eastmond and Schofield but you had the feeling that the breakthrough wasnít too far away.

And as if on cue, after about fifteen minutes of domination, the goal came. A bit of pressure on the right hand side of their area saw Eastmond put Henry into space and the winger moved threateningly into the box and picked out Morison unmarked at the far post and as the ball was expertly delivered, the big front man slotted home as casually as a Ray Ban wearing cucumber. 1-0! Morison is back and we were deservedly in front.

Barnsley looked like a team going for damage limitation and we didnít hold back but despite our total supremacy we frustratingly failed to get that oh so important second goal. The fear is always there when you are one up and cruising but with about ten minutes of the half left to play we got our just rewards. The busy James Henry picked the ball up on his favoured right wing and moved menacingly towards their area. There was only one thing on his mind and that was to shoot and he let fly with a corker that admittedly took a deflection off of a Barnsley defender but the ball rocketed into the back of the net. 2-0!! Effectively game over and much E-I-Oing ensued,

Two should really have become three soon after as Trotter made a superb slide rule pass through their defence to an eager Steve Morison who latched onto the ball and headed goal ward. We all held our collective breath in anticipation but the curse of Morisonís one on oneís continued as their Ďkeeper blocked the shot.

We still had more chances and it was due to Morisonís hard work and endeavour that the next chance came along. Not for the first time in his Millwall career he chased down a back pass and managed to block the Ďkeeperís clearance. The ball ricocheted into the air and Trotter made a great effort to collect the loose ball but he just dwelled on it a fraction too long and the defender blocked his goal bound effort and sent the ball out for a corner.

Even from the resulting corner we mightíve got the third goal as Henry swung it over, the ball was only half cleared to Purse, who hit a first time volley that just went the wrong side of the bar.

It was all promising stuff and as the half time whistle blew the lads trotted off with their heads held high and the applause ringing in their ears.

As with all games of this type, the second half was not as interesting as the first as we were content with the two goal cushion and they didnít really have the nous to break us down but at least they had a bit more of a go than they did in the first half which gave us a chance to practice our defending...and give resident East Upper angryman a chance to vent his spleen on proceedings...by Christ he is a hard man to please at times...

Ex Millwall loanie Danny Haynes hit a shot on the turn that fizzed past the post and then they had a free header that really should have gone in but they just werenít good enough.

We sort of lost our rhythm and Mr Jackett decided to make a change with twenty minutes to go, bringing on Harris for Eastmond (who received a decent round of well deserved applause from an appreciative crowd) which moved Trotter back into a midfield position but in truth it didnít make any real difference at all to the outcome.

Morison did well in the closing stages, popping up on the left wing and cutting in after motoring past his marker. He managed to get the ball across the face of the goal to Henry but again the finish was missing.

Harris had the last chance for the Lions attempting an exquisite chip that beat Steele in the Barnsley goal but drifted just over the bar, landing in the top netting above the goal.

The whistle went soon after and all in all it was a good nightís work for the Lions. A clean sheet and three valuable points in the bag and we are sitting pretty in eighth place.

It was a gritty performance from Millwall but one that was needed to put to bed the defeat at Leicester and cement our credentials as a top ten team in this division.

A tough away game coming up mid week with a trip to Norwich and unfortunately I will not be able to make this one so I wonít see any of you there!
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