Millwall 4-1 Ipswich ~ Match Report

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As some of you may know we at Bone Towers have been in a melancholic mood recently as we had to endure the sad death of MrsB’s dear old mum from inoperable cancer. I haven’t had the time or, to be honest, the inclinations to jot down my rambling thoughts on the last few Millwall games as there has been too much other stuff going on.
If there is anything to learn at all about death it is simply to understand that despite one life ending, many more continue and everyone deals with this grieving in their own way and sometimes the best way is to try and get some sort of normality back into your life and for me and MrsB one of the most normal things is to get out and watch the lions.
Some better news though is that the previous babybonemobile has been exchanged for a brand new car, so no longer will you spot a little black smart car parked round by the Bramcote as MrsB is the proud new owner of a Fiat 500, hooray! At last I don’t look like Jabba the Hut in a Tonka toy!!
Of course, despite all that has been happening in our private life we have still been avidly following what has been happening with the mighty Lions and the win at Leicester was an unbelievable shot in the arm for all Lions fans and we couldn’t wait for the Ipswich game to come around to get back on an even keel and see for ourselves if this was a flash in the pan or were the proverbial indicators on as Millwall started to turn the corner.
What of the visitors though? A chunky, Scouser at the helm of a club steeped in agricultural history, a smattering of ex premier league players and a set of fans that can comfortably count to thirteen using just their toes, they are a strange mixture indeed.
1600 odd Tractor boys boosted the attendance to a healthy looking twelve and a half thousand and this meant that our annual poppy collection was also boosted to a fabulous level as Bird from the House of Fun has stated that a very impressive £2,003.85 was gathered up from the Den faithful so well done to sellers and buyers alike.
The weather was being kind as well as the sun was shining brightly as the teams came out, Mr Jackett opting, quite sensibly, to keep the winning formula by naming an unchanged side so we had Forde in goal, Smith, Ward, Robbo and Dunne across the back with the midfield comprising of Feeney, Abdou, Trotter and Howard leaving a strike partnership of Henderson and Simpson to see if they could unlock the Ipswich Town rear guard.
We didn’t have to wait too long for the answer to that question. Referee Salisbury had barely got the last peep out of his whistle as we tore into a bewildered looking Ipswich side who frantically rushed around trying to stem a powerful torrent of attacking football by the clearly up for it Millwall team.
Feeney soon had erstwhile Millwall man Kennedy wishing he had stayed at home as he jinked and shimmied his way past him and sent over a text book wingers cross to the waiting Simpson whose effort was well saved by Stockdale in the visitor’s goal but the ball fell straight to Henderson who took it first time but credit where it is due, Stockdale had recovered his composure and pulled off another fine stop but Simpson was still on the scene and he made no mistake with his second attempt, slamming the ball past the stricken Stockdale. 1-0! Five minutes on the clock and we were one up. Fantastic stuff.
Ipswich looked shell shocked, their mumbling, stumbling fans not sure whether to berate their defence or look for some prostitutes to play with, their initial bravado sinking quicker than a pint of Guinness on St Paddy’s day.
Their was clearly no laurel resting by the Lions as we quickly retrieved the ball from Ipswich straight from the restart and we continued the onslaught and it took a mere couple of minutes for us to breach their somewhat battered and bemused defence.
Trotter, clearly working to his own agenda, was already stamping his authority on the midfield and as he collected the ball in the centre of the pitch he motored forward like a man possessed, he picked out Simpson’s run and Simpson hit a wicked effort that Stockdale just couldn’t hold and we watched in absolute joy as the ball was parried straight into the path of Henderson who gleefully walloped home his sixth goal of the season. 2-0!! Ye Gods, what was going on!
When the going gets tough, the tough get going sang Billy Ocean once upon a memory and in this case the ugly ex hammer in the shape of Lee Bowyer took this quite literally and feigned an injury so he could be substituted and therefore form no part of the ritual humiliation that was taken place.
We then, of course, had the usual once a game Fordie shenanigans as we watched in mock horror as he raced out of his goal and attempted to head the ball to safety but luckily for us the ball fell to Jason Scotland so we knew he was never going to hit the target and with the goal gaping at his mercy he proved us right and missed by a fucking mile.
We were absolutely dominating proceedings and Feeney was on fire down the right flank with Howard pulling the strings and Abdou and Trotter dominating the centre is was really all one way traffic. Henderson and Simpson seemed like a perfect pairing as Mr Jackett might have finally got his strikers sorted out and the defence looked at comfortable ease with each other.
The only surprise of the first half was that we didn’t add to the tally but we were so much better than Ipswich that it didn’t seem to matter. It was a thoroughly entertaining first half and the time flew by, as is the case when it is so enjoyable, and the lads got some well-earned applause as the whistle signalled the break.
No changes after the break and why should there have been? The sheer passion and confidence emanating through the team was clear for all to see
as we more or less carried on where we had left off and continued to batter an Ipswich side whose only game plan seemed to be to give the ball to Bullard who would then hold out his left hand, palm upwards, waving frantically before giving the ball back to us.
Simpson came closest to getting a third goal with a fearsome drive from the right hand side that beat Stockdale all ends up but crashed against the post and as the ball bounced straight into the path of Howard we surely thought that goal number three had arrived but the midfielder’s shot was spectacularly saved by the recovering Stockdale but from where we were sitting I am sure the ball was well over the line but referee Salisbury just waved play on and to be fair none of the Millwall players tried to claim a goal.
Totally against the run of play and with about twenty minutes left to play we watched in somewhat strange disbelief as Bullard got the ball inside our half and instead of doing his now familiar left palm waving technique he ambled forward to the edge of our area and slipped the ball past the despairing dive of Forde to give the away side a goal that no one saw coming at all. 2-1.
Oh dear…not another Peterborough or Reading coming up?
No chance at all, dear reader, we have seemingly learned a painful lesson there and we tightened up and ploughed forward, slipping comfortably from fourth to fifth gear with no effort at all and we put them to the sword.
I am not in the business of nominating man of the match awards and this time is no different but if a player deserved an apt reward for a top performance then Feeney was surely in line for this. He got his reward on
just shy of the seventy five minute mark as he got put through by the equally deserving Simpson with a slide rule pass that the effervescent winger gleefully slotted home. 3-1 and game over, thank you very much!
The place was rocking now as the Lions fans finally found their voices and the players responded with some splendid possession football that was greeted with spontaneous applause from all around the ground. It felt good and it felt like we were getting back to last seasons form at last.
The icing on the cake came within two minutes of Feeney’s goal as Simpson capped a fine display by grabbing his second and Millwall’s fourth with a confident and clinical finish, slipping the ball under the over worked Stockdale to cap a fabulous all round performance by the entire Millwall side.
Simpson was on fire and went for his hat trick when in truth he should have passed square to the un marked Howard but we can easily forgive him for that little indiscretion as it was party time now and as the clocked ticked down Mr Jackett made three very late substitutions that saw Mkandawire replace Simpson, N’Guessan replace Feeney and Henry replace Howard who all left to standing ovations.
They hit our cross bar with a speculative shot from distance but I will maintain that had it been on target then Forde would have had it covered.
It was a fantastic day at the Den and from a totally mercenary point of view it was just the tonic MrsB and me needed. A four star performance from a clearly revitalised team that finally look like they know where they are going.
We have Coventry arriving on Tuesday night and no doubt there will be talk of “after the Lord Mayor’s show” performances but I honestly believe that we are now on level footing and the gradual climb up the table is finally becoming a reality.
See you all there!

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