Millwall 0-0 Barnsley ~ Match Report

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Bear with me loyal reader, this wont take up too much of your time.

After the entertaining win against Morecombe in the league cup we were back to the league campaign and the visit of the Tetley tea folk from Barnsley.

Me and MrsB took our time getting down the Den safe in the knowledge that this wasn’t going to be a huge draw for the Millwall faithful and sure enough the usual parking slot was vacant, so amid the typical English summer torrential rain fall we made our way into the Den and as we took our seats the sunshine finally arrived.

And that was as bright as it got…

Mr Jackett clearly was making changes from the mid week line up and the starting eleven was as follows: Forde back in goal, Dunne, Ward, Robbo and Stewart across the back, Bouazza, Abdou, Mkandawire and Henry in the middle and Henderson and McQuoid as the striking partnership.

The 10,000 odd crowd wasn’t really boosted by the travelling contingent as only about 300 made the journey down There is, apparently, a valid reason for this rather poor showing. Up north, believe it or not, they still have industrial holidays. What, I hear you ask, are industrial holidays? Well, I shall tell you.

The industrial holiday is where a company closes for three to four weeks during the summer months and all employees take annual leave. This was, in general, thought to have been eliminated a long time ago once the working classes finally broke free of oppressive mill owners but, of course, up north, this is still the way these unfortunate cretins still carry out their miserable existence.

Can you imagine having to take your summer holiday at the same time as all your work colleagues (who are also your neighbours and friends) and then spending the two precious weeks in the same hotels as them, all going on the same bloody excursions to see monks making wine and if you're not at your Hotel table spot on seven you miss the bowl of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup, the first item on the menu of International Cuisine, and every Thursday night the hotel has a bloody cabaret in the bar, featuring a tiny emaciated dago with nine-inch hips and some bloated fat tart with her hair brylcreemed down and a big arse presenting Flamenco for Foreigners…

Sorry, I went all Monty Python there….

But…this is what these norvern monkees still do hence the poor turn out, these 300 were either unemployed or are the fucking mill owners…

Anyway, let’s get cracking, as I say, this won’t take too long, so referee Coote got us underway and you got the immediate impression that Barnsley were going to park the proverbial bus. Ten men behind the ball, come and get past us, seemed to be the tactic and historically, regardless who we’ve had up front, Mr Jackett’s selections never seem to have the nous to break these type of teams apart.

We were playing some tidy football, it was progressive and it was purposeful but it wasn’t getting the job the done. Barnsley were very good at playing ‘keep ball’ and although that is very frustrating it is our boys job to get in and get it back but we seemed content to let them fuck about with it in their own half for long periods of time.

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The one glorious chance we had came after about a quarter of an hour and it was one of those moments that could define a whole season for the player in question. The unfortunate man was poor old Josh McQuoid; already the underlying currents of fan abuse are undulating out from various parts of the Den and this episode won’t help his cause. A long clearance by Forde saw the ball knocked out to the left where Henderson dutifully collected and sent a perfect low level ball across the face of the goal to the waiting McQuoid who must’ve took his eye of the ball for a split second and instead of opening the scoring he opened up a cacophony of groans as he managed to guide the ball wide of the goal from about four yards out.

That was the shape of things to come regarding our luck as we continued to do our best to break down the visitors stoic defences but just before half time we were on our feet as Abdou hit a daisy cutter of a shot that had ‘keeper Steele flinging himself fully across the goal to pull off an outstanding save.

Half time followed soon after and the lads trudged off to a muted response from the crowd.

The second half was dour but trust me, even if you don’t think so at the moment, there has been a lot worse games you have seen at the Den than this one, but not many, granted.

It lacked entertainment. It seemed laborious and arduous at times and even when we did have a gasp or two (for example, James Henry’s dipping shot from distance) but I think deep down we knew that we weren’t going to score if we played until midnight.

McQuoid did his best to make amends but it just weren’t happening. When the substitution came along the whole place, I believe, thought Marquis who was stripped and ready to go would replace McQuoid but in fact it was Henry who went off, slightly limping, so it was actually a forced swap by Mr Jackett.

This, we believed, meant we were going as a 4-3-3 but it stayed as a 4-4-2 with McQuoid drifting out to the right to compound his already fragile stature as a striker but Marquis certainly made a stake for first choice as he ran his socks off for the rest of the game.

Bouazza clipped in a now almost trade mark free kick that saw Marquis get his head to it but even though the flick of a header went right into the heart of the Barnsley and in the ensuing melee the crowd behind the goal screamed for a hand ball but the ball went out of play and incredulously, we didn’t even get a corner even though the ball clearly came of the Barnsley defender (arm or other part).

It was from another Bouazza free kick that saw our next chance go begging as he flighted another beautiful ball into the box and we had three players queuing up for it but it was Robbo who went for it and missed it and was left sprawled on the floor hammering his fist into the grass in frustration.

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Marquis had a shot that was deflected for yet another seemingly endless procession of corners but we gained no advantage from these set pieces at all. This time Bouazza’s reliable boot sent the ball curving out for a goal kick before it made its way into the six-yard area.

The final whistle brought out the inevitable boo boys and the word of the day from where I was sitting was “lack lustre” and that, I guess, is a fair comment.

It is not all doom and glom though, Stewart looked handy at left back and we were missing the influential Trotter and don’t forget N’Guessen will be returning soon as well so I for one am not prepared to write off the season just yet.

So we have the international break coming up and then we have a very tough month ahead of us where we are mainly on the road but we do have one home game that some of you maybe attending so I expect to see some of you there…
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    They call that works holiday "Barnsley Feast Week"!