Millwall 1-0 Doncaster ~ Match Report

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Another Dockers’ day at the Den with Doncaster down from northern lands to try and spoil the party. I quite like Doncaster, they are a harmless set of souls who would fit perfectly into the role of Amos from Chicago (you know, Mr Cellophane) as they are definitely in our league but you just don’t really see them on your radar. Yes, granted, they are in South Yorkshire, but they don’t act like they are (the usual prerequisite for any Yorkshire man is a shrunken brain and an enlarged mouth) and they seem to amble in and out without too many issues. No silly soccer AM songs and no daft actions (like doing the Poznan), just regular football fans on an away day outing.

But enough of the visitors how about Dockers day? It is always a jolly old time on these occasions and this was proven yet again with a smattering of old timers given the VIP treatment out on the pitch before the game began.

These old fellers looked sprightly enough but time had clearly taken its toll on a few of them but the gamely took their applause from a buoyant home crowd who were pleased to welcome them back to the fold.

Oh and there were some docker’s there as well as the class of ’88...

But seriously, it was good to see some of the faces from the most successful (so far) Millwall side I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching and it was a pleasant episode that had just the right amount of time spent on it without it becoming to syrupy.

So with the pre match celebrations over, me and MrsB settled down in our “new” home in the Dockers Stand. The air was charged with a sense of expectations and after the painful defeat midweek at Norwich the emphasis was clearly on not losing as Mr Jackett plumped for a 4-5-1 formation and with no Steve Morison available it was left to Robinson T to play the lone striker’s role. So the team lined up as follows;
Forde, Dunne, Mkandawire, Purse, Barron, Henry, Trotter, Eastmond, Abdou, Schofield and the aforementioned Robinson T.

Referee Stroud got the game going (and then proceeded to stop it at every fucking opportunity thereafter) and I have to say it was a bit of a tractor pull of a game. Not pretty to watch and not very inspiring.

James Henry fired in a free kick that had ‘keeper Woods scrambling across his goal and Trotter had the ball in the net but was ruled off side and I am now struggling to think of anything more exciting than those two incidents to note down.

There were plenty of endeavours and effort but no real synergy going on.

It really was a dour affair and the stop/start refereeing did nothing to enhance the game at all. Hard going, dull and maybe even turgid would best describe the first 45.

The half time whistle finally relieved us of the tediousness in front of us and we were beginning to wonder if Mr Jackett might bring on Cascarino and Sheringham for the second half....

The second half ambled on almost apologetically but the tempo finally started to move stealthily up as we became a bit more accomplished in our efforts. Doncaster were adopted a more robust style of play and they were getting away with it as well.

Robinson T had the ball in the net but in all fairness he did look well offside so no real complaints about that particular decision and on the hour mark after much huffing and puffing Mr Jackett made his changes.

Hmmmm, I know we do not doubt Mr Jackett’s decisions anymore but by the Gods of football we came close when the subs were made. He took off Robinson T and Eastmond and brought on Lisbie and Harris thus reverting to a familiar 4-4-2 and all of three minutes later he took off Mkandawire and brought on Robbo.

We laboured. We toiled. We rolled our proverbial sleeves up and we pushed on. We made little progress and but for an outstanding save from Forde we might’ve have gone a goal down.

We then had pantomime villain Billy Sharp showing his cowardly streak by attempting to clobber Robbo on the blind side of the ref. The crowd all saw it but none of the three officials managed to catch a glimpse and the failed striker got away with it.

We had plenty of the ball but we really didn’t threaten them at all and as the early leavers made their usual exit and the fourth official began to get the board up, we struck gold.

James Henry picked the ball up wide on the right and pushed on down the line. He looked up and fired a delicious cross into the box where Lisbie was there challenging with O’ Conner.

No one who was there that day could tell who touched that ball as it flew across the box but what we did all know was that it flew into the back of the net and we had won the bloody game!

Relief mixed with euphoria is a strange feeling but a most welcome one to have. We have and will play a lot better than this and end up with nothing (see Norwich earlier in the week) so when results like this happen they must be taken with gratitude with a swift tug of the forelock towards the deities above and firm belief that true endeavour brings its own rewards.

So three welcome points in the proverbial bag and we are sitting quite smugly in seventh place. Should we be even contemplating whispering the fact that with 16 games to go, we are actually allowed to be mentioned as genuine play off candidates?

The games will be rolling in thick and fast now and with Sheff Utd away next on the agenda who’s to say we can’t start shouting instead of whispering...

See you all there?
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