Millwall 2-1 Leicester ~ Match Report

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The penultimate home game for this season saw the Lions sitting practically safe and only the ultimate pessimists would be going to this match worrying about the outcome and other results ‘going our way’.

Not me though. I was sure as eggs is eggs that we had done the business at Portsmouth and now we could just enjoy the football for what it is meant to be for, pure unadulterated pleasure.

Leicester City were the visitors and for a supposedly large club I have to say that the support they bring with them is definitely second division. Only about 1400 bothered to make the short journey to the Den which equates to about 50% capacity in the away section, a very dismal and depressing bunch, it is probably not surprising to note that happyclappitis has hit this club hard so much rotating scarf waving ensued as they belted out the now bog standard anthems of the plastic football fan.

Leicester is a nondescript sort of football club. Not famous for anything of note, they have neither notoriety nor prestige in any shape or form, choosing to eke out an existence like a parasitic flea on the back of the championship animal that sort of knows it is there but chooses not to recognise it until it occasionally causes an irritating itch. The itch has been missing for a long time now and on this showing there’ll be not too much scratching for some time.

A bland club with bland fans and a bland set of players governed by an even blander manager, they have little going for them at all. I am not certain but if you look up the word ‘insipid’ in any dictionary it may well have “see “Leicester” as part of the description.

They have a fat fucker who bangs a drum at their home games. How interesting is that? I also know that historically fat fuckers are linked to Leicester. Daniel Lambert, one of the fattest fuckers England has managed to breed, came from Leicester. In truth, he never went anywhere else, the fat fuck couldn’t move very far, but he made it to London and charged people money to visit all 52 stone of him. He may well be related to the infernal drum banger, who knows, but either way, dull with a capital D should prefix the word Leicester at every opportunity.

So onto the football now and as me and MrsB took our seats with Grandson Jack in tow it was no real surprise that Mr Jackett had named an unchanged team from the win at Pompey so the line was Taylor, Smith, Robbo, Lowry, Craig, Henry, Abdou, Wright, Barron, Kane and Keogh. The subs bench had Liam Trotter as a welcome returnee who joined Forde, Feeney, Batt and Dunne watching from the wings.

Referee Gibbs, looking slightly ancient, it has to be said, managed to get the whistle into his mouth and muster enough breath to blow it and start the game.

The boisterous home fans were in a fairly relaxed mood but we were soon reminded that we were actually in a game as Leicester went straight on to the attack. Three chances, one after the other had our back four on their best behaviour and they were more than a match for what Leicester had on offer, led by Robbo, he marshalled them well and with Taylor shielding the goal, defensively we looked solid.

In midfield, the always industrious Abdou was doing what he does but the real football was being played by Wright, a seriously undervalued addition to our team this season, he was in commanding form, demanding the ball, making himself available and no stray passing at all, this was his best performance in a Millwall shirt so far.

Barron and Henry were adequately patrolling the flanks and the special “K” formula was seamless up front as Keogh and Kane enhanced their reputations as Millwall’s preferred striking partnership and it was just on the twenty minute mark when the team’s endeavours were rewarded.

A deep ball into the Leicester box saw Robinson get his head to the ball first and his knock down fell invitingly for Harry Kane who showed composure way beyond his years as he rifled the ball into the back of the net with ‘keeper Schmeichel nowhere near it. 1-0! And well deserved it was too. Much E-I-O-ing echoed around the Den as even the doommongerer’s were conceding that the mathematics was now in our favour and the season was verging on total safety from relegation.

But if we needed to be given a quick reminder of how tenuous the lead was then we certainly got it almost straight away as Leicester managed to work the ball into our area and with the goal seemingly at his mercy Nugent must’ve surely thought he had got the equaliser but he did not count on Maik Taylor’s reflex actions as the Lion’s ‘keeper saved well from point blank range.

Shortly after this we had them panicking again as Kane burst into their half with a clear path to goal from a swift counter attack as Shane Lowry spotted the opening and sent a long ball forward but as Kane was bearing down on the goal he was tackled at the last second by a very swift Bamba.

The half ended with Millwall still in the driving seat and as the players went off they were applauded to a man for a very decent first half performance.

The second half brought with it a feeling of expectation that was a mixture of anticipation and relief and we only had a short ten minute wait for this to turn to total belief that we had finally laid the spectre of relegation to bed.

Harry Kane, again proving his worth, linking up with his partner, Keogh, got into the box and as he pushed the ball past Konchesky he was clearly tripped up by the overworked defender.

All eyes went to referee Gibbs as the shouts for a penalty went up and Mr Gibbs concurred with the decision and pointed to the spot. Keogh had a bit of mission to persuade henry that he was taking the kick but it proved the right decision as Keogh nonchalantly clipped the ball into the net with Schmeichel stranded. 2-0!! Thank you and good night!!

Three Leicester substitutions didn’t really alter the game plan for Mr Jackett as the eleven on the pitch were more than a match for a Leicester side who were actually still in with a shout for the play offs.

We then nearly had a remarkable third goal as Josh Wright, sublime in midfield all afternoon hit a spectacular volley from way out that looked from our position that Schmeichel, diving backwards, palmed it over the bar but it must have beat him and bounced on the bar as a goal kick was awarded instead of a corner.

As the clock was running down we clearly took our foot of the pedal and Leicester did manage to finally breach our otherwise stalwart defence as substitute Drinkwater hit a low scudder of a shot that found its way into our net but in truth it was never going be the iceberg to sink our particular ship.

Trotter came on for a cameo as did Batt but it was captain Robinson who got the biggest cheer in the dying minutes as he superbly tackled Beckford who had the audacity to try and get an equaliser.

Five minutes of stoppage time (Craig had taken one for the team and had his head bandaged) couldn’t dissuade the celebrations breaking out around the ground and as the whistle went the players and fans erupted as one as the final realisation of playing Championship football next season had become a reality and not even Stephen Hawking CH, CBE, FRS, FRSA can mathematize any combination of results that would see us relegated.

Rockin’ all over the world had never sounded as good as the thumping rhythm filled the air and shoulders started bobbing up and down in unison amongst the Millwall fans. It had been a tough old journey to get this far and the pure relief was almost tangible now. Lucky hats were deemed reasonable accessories for helping the lions to get over the line and any manner of other accoutrements, I am sure, took some of the credit.

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The players rightly milked the moment but, I think, they also knew deep down that they really should never have been in this position in the first place.

There are still three games to be played and a trip to relegation haunted Coventry is next on the agenda and we can go there without too much care and play a more natural game of football rather than the tense stuff we have been getting used to.

We still need to finish as high as we can because there is still money to be made and it is up to us to do our best for all the other teams still involved in the relegation battle so if Coventry are expecting an easy ride then hopefully, they are in for a shock.

See you all there!
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