Crystal Palace 0-0 Millwall ~ Match Report

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Derby time again in south London as we take the short journey down the road to the slums of Croydon, the arsehole of the south as it is collectively known throughout the land, to see the Lions take on our twisted and bitter neighbours, Crystal Palace.

There is no easy way to sugar this pill, the Crystal Palace game away is always a complete non event for Millwall fans as we struggle to comprehend the inane mindset that is a composite amalgamation of false pride and an even falser superiority complex that simply beggars belief.

Your average male Palace fan is obviously socially inadequate, that is a given, but they compound this inadequacy by displaying signs of a derisory nature when attempting to discuss football or anything else for that matter.

You will know a Palace fan from the start of a conversation. They will firstly attempt a kind of belittling process, which usually comprises of them telling anyone who will listen that they have read L Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz “so many times” that they simply cannot understand why it isn’t in the world’s top ten all time literary masterpieces and then look all condescending when some poor unsuspecting sap mentions the Judy Garland film, and then issue a withering look as they explain, usually in great detail, how the film is a “travesty” of the great mans tome.

Yes, you got in 1, a complete arsehole.

And what do these buffoons do nowadays? They combine all of the above into a new risible attempt at formulating a kind of false narcissistic view of themselves as some kind of perfect factory assembled football fan.

Ah the blessed Gods of football must piss their proverbial pants when observing these cretins in actions.

Anyway, enough of the neighbours from purgatory lets get on with the game and as we made our way into the decrepit place we couldn’t help but notice how much the place has continued to deteriorate since even our last recent visit. Peeling paint has now turned into mildew encrusted walls, the dull fluorescent lighting, yellowing with age, made more dim by the cobwebs and dust really makes the place feel like a amateur ground that has fallen on hard times.

We settled in and looked at Mr Jackett’s selection, truly a complete re fit from the Bristol game with two new loan signings joining the first eleven and a swap around of existing squad players coupled with enforced injuries saw the Lions line up as follows Mildenhall in goal Smith at right back, Robbo sharing the centre back berth with new loanee Lowry and the left back slot was filled with the second of our newcomers, Baker. The midfield quartet was Feeney, Abdou, Trotter and surprisingly, Barron, which had our strike pairing of Simpson and Marquis leading the line.

A raucous following of (officially) 2,601 lions fans roared the new look Lions on as referee Webb got things going and the somewhat paltry turn out of home fans really added nothing to the atmosphere which is surprising considering this is probably their biggest game of their season. We did our bit, selling out our allocation, nothing unusual there, but for them to only have just over 12,000 home fans in must’ve been disappointing for the Croydon club in what they have been describing as “their cup final”.

We started well enough and Feeney was soon causing their left back all sorts of problems but the emphasis from Mr Jackett was clearly not to make any silly errors so we were not as gung ho as we usually are.

The two loanees looked confident and assured and at last we looked balanced with Baker, clearly a natural left back, making Jack Smith shine in his more natural right back role and Robbo was oozing confidence with the more astute Lowry by his side.

The midfield was working well enough but Barron looked like he was trying too hard and he quickly got the bum’s rush from a lot of the travelling contingent as he tried to complete some silly show boating flicks and kicks that failed miserably.

We had a brief scare when Palace did manage to get beyond our back four as one cross whizzed low across the face of our goal but the Palace strikers were miles away from latching onto the ball and moments later a foul on the edge of the box saw a Palace free kick get fired in but again with no real purpose on the end of it.

Simpson was battling away up front with a rather reticent John Marquis, (possibly rushed back too early from his hernia op?) and had a tame looping header failing to put Speroni, the Palace ‘keeper, under any real pressure but his shot soon after had the desired effect as it stung the palms of the startled stopper.

Feeney was at his most effective running at their hapless full back, Moxey, and he was delivering some decent balls into the box but either he was over hitting or the two front men were mis judging but the end result was the same about three times on the spin.

At the back, Jack Smith was producing a commanding display and it has to be said that this particular back four looked more in tune than the four who started against Bristol last week.

Mildenhall was also quietly going about his business with an air of confidence that bodes well for us and he pulled off a spectacular save from a rather ambitious over head kick from Murray that looked in all the way until the big man saved.

There was no real penetration from either side as the half ticked away but we were looking the more composed and capable of the two sides and just before the half ended we saw Barron head a feeble effort in to Speroni’s arms from a decent Simpson ball into the area.

So no goals at half time but a spirited performance from the Lions none the less.

The second half was not as enjoyable as the first as we seemed to go to much into defence mode almost as if Mr Jackett was settling for a point with 45 minutes to play.

Mildenhall was soon in action again saving brilliantly from the calamitous Zaha and as the half wore on it got very fractious and claims for fouls and penalties seemed to be the order of the day.

On the hour mark we definitely saw Mr Jackett’s tactic’s laid bare as he took off marquis, sent on Henry and changed the formation to a 4-5-1 that quickly became a 4-6-0 for long spells as we bolted the back door and tried to hide the key under the mat

The plan, for that it what we must call it, seemed to be having the desired effect but it all unravelled with twenty minutes still to play. Robbo did his usual holding and pulling tackle ensemble right in front of the ref and right in the middle of the box so referee Webb has no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

Murray stepped up purposefully and did a little dummy and then put the ball wide of the post in the time-honoured fashion of an idiot trying to be clever.

We cheered as if we had scored a goal.

The game laboured on after this and Mr Jackett made another change with about ten minutes left, finally replacing the mostly ineffectual Scott Barron (not his fault, not his fault at all) with Howard who sparked a little bit of life back into the game but it was too little too late really. He had two chances to shine with a couple of free kicks but both went wide off the mark.

Somehow the officials found 5 minutes of stoppage time but I think even 55minutes wouldn’t have produced a goal in this game.

Trotter put through Feeney in the last seconds but his powerful shot also missed the target and that was about it. Honours even, slight bragging rights for the Lions, a draw is a decent result for us considering where we are in the league so we can forget about the nigels for now and concentrate on getting a result on Tuesday night against Doncaster Rovers.

See you all there?

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