Millwall 1-5 Peterborough ~ Match Musings

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Well, this is not going to be easy to do, I know over the years you and I have seen some complete and utter cack down at the Den but this game against rock bottom opposition really beggared belief.

Clearly wallowing in some sort of FA Cup blindness syndrome, I was expecting us to turn up and roll over relegation fodder to kick start our poxy league form for 2013 and what the meagre crowd of just over 8,500 witnessed along with my poor disillusioned self was a debacle that ranks as possibly one of the lowest of low lights in a glittering career of watching the Lions play.

I have had more fun listening to four hours of “Gloomy Sunday” by Billie Holliday on a continuous loop while having my knackers chewed by carnivorous plants. And, yes, before you ask, it is my own fucking business what I do in private.

Now I wasn’t really expecting a walkover but by Christ and all that is holy, I had hoped for some semblance of a game which would demonstrate that we are not on a slippery slope to the fiery bowels of the bottom three and that perhaps the so called ‘blip’ we are in is merely a hiccough in the grand scheme of making season 2012~ 2013 a reasonably memorable one for all the right reasons.

Peterborough United arrived at the Den boasting a piss poor haul of 30 points from 30 games and looking for all the world like a team preparing for life back in division 1 and nobody, not even the most diehard Posh fan would have predicted the outcome of this game before a ball had been kicked.

Maybe the stay away Lions fans knew something that us poor saps who turned up didn’t and as we took our places in the vastly under populated stands in freezing cold conditions.

The team sheet brought quizzical looks and some were even heard to mutter that “it looks like Mark McGhee has picked this side”. It was a strange looking set up made all the more confusing when Deano last man Standing read the names out in the order they were lining up.

Forde in goal P, Lowry, Beevers, Osborne and Smith A at the back P so far not too bad but then we went off on a bit of a tangent. Henry on the left wing, Afobe on the right wing with Trotter and Abdou in the middle leaving Hulse and Keogh up front.

Well, we’ve seen worse, I’ll give you that, but the signs were all there to see but as usual, we were mostly oblivious to the problems we were about to face.
When referee Bond got the game started we seemed to have a modicum of control over things but the most obvious tactic that the visitors were going to adopt seemed to baffle our lo. The plan seemed to be to play the ball around the back and encourage us to go and get the ball and then break away rapidly.

It seemed so obvious to layman but our boys didn’t twig it all. To them it seemed like we were dominating the game and this led to a complete meltdown after seven minutes when the visitors managed to make a straight forward forage into our half while our midfield just stood and watched and when Boyd tapped a simple pass across the face of our area our midfield still just looked on in complete indifference as we looked on in abject misery as Tomlin gleefully thumped the ball into the back of our net. 0-1. Fucking marvellous.

Still, never mind, plenty of time to get back in it and sure enough we did get back into soon after as James Henry, the one bright spot in an otherwise dank and dreary evening, raced through and expertly lifted the ball over the advancing Olejnik in the United goal for a quick equaliser. 1-1. Relief all round and now to press on and give these whipping boys a damn good thrashing…

I am not spoiling the plot by telling you that we crumbled after this like a digestive biscuit in a hot cup of tea but the way it happened was tantamount to us bending over after removing our trousers and asking them to kick us squarely up the arse before paddling our buttocks with a bat.

We flattered to deceive, Afobe, looking like a fish out of water on the wing, was not proving to be the missing link we so desperately need up front, instead wasting his time and effort trying to be a right winger, did have a shot at goal and this was followed by Trotter’s shot which was blocked comfortably and we forced a couple of corners which came to nothing but still we kept letting their ‘keeper feed his goal kicks out to his right or left back and still we just kept backing off them and letting them have the ball.

On the half hour mark disaster struck as they almost replicated the original move that brought them their first goal. This time Boyd fed Rowe and he lashed the ball into the net. 1-2.

By now the home fans were getting increasingly restless and the cat calls were beginning to emanate from around the ground as we laboured against a team that seemed to have got the measure of us quite easily and it was painful to watch. We made no headway at all really and as the half finished the booing has started in some areas of the ground as the fans frustrations were vented.

Mr Jackett made two changes for the second half. He took off Smith and replaced him with Dunne…he also took off Afobe and brought on Woolford so at least Henry got to play as a right winger and Woolford as a left but in truth, it made no difference to the outcome, the whole team looked disjointed and rudderless, cast adrift with no idea what direction to go in, it was only a matter of time before the inevitable happened.

Ten minutes in and the game was truly beyond us. Abdou went down under a challenge and stayed down but United had the ball, no foul was given and the ref waved play on. The ball was played to Boyd who by now seemed to have free reign and he made a simple pass to Tomlin and yet again our defence was split wide open with minimum of fuss and it was now 1-3.

Cries of “take me Lord, I’m ready” were now being uttered by even the most optimistic Lions fans and the utter mess we were in was quite pitiful to watch. We were chasing shadows at times and there was not enough gumption throughout the side to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and shake some life into it.

The mood on the terraces was dark and getting darker, no player was saved from some form of vitriol and call me old fashioned but I have never seen the point of coating off the players if they happen to be shit at what they are doing at any given time. Yes, we get annoyed and frustrated, yes we want to vent our spleens and let them know we are about as happy as General Custer at the little Big Horn but controlled criticism is not all about waiting for a lull in play and then bellowing out loud that you think one of our lads is a useless cunt.

Five minutes after goal number three we shipped in goal number four. I suppose it was, in all fairness, a really well taken goal from Mendez Laing who skipped past Lowry and Beevers as if they were wisps of smoke and fired the ball into the net as Forde looked as helpless as a kitten up a tree.

Cue the mass exodus, no surprise there, our fans are quick to vote with their feet and that is the sort of controlled criticism I am talking about. It was a pitiful sight though, seeing the already majority of blue seats being quickly added to as the ground emptied out and with the Posh fans cheerfully singing “is there a fire drill” just made it all the more galling

We had a brief moment of respite when Keogh slotted home a rebound shot from Abdou but the lino’s flag was already up as the ball left his foot so the goal was ruled out and we went back to our sullen seats and carried on moping.

Could it get any worse for the lack lustre Lions? Of course it could, why wouldn’t it, when we are down and there is no place else to go you can bet your bottom dollar bill that the bastard Gods of football will invent another level for us to drop into and this time it was in the form of a straight red card for Lowry as he got outpaced by Gayle and he took him out just outside the box.

Referee Bond, who himself was not having the best of games, probably got this decision right as the forlorn figure of Lowry was already slinking away, shoulders hunched, before the card was brandished.

That gave Peterborough a full twenty minutes to exploit what was already a thoroughly exploited Millwall team and I suppose we have to try and draw some sort of semblance of good out of this cavalcade of confusion but there was very little to report on the positive side. Trotter got his head to a Henry corner that Olejnik made a meal of by palming it over the bar when in truth he could have caught the bloody thing but that was about all we had to offer.

The ten men held out until the last few minutes when the best player on the park got his reward as Boyd simply meandered past Beevers and Osbourne and toe poked the ball past Forde to make the rout complete at 1-5.

At the final whistle I think there were more people on the pitch than there were watching the fucking game and I have not felt so depressed at a defeat for a very long time. I can handle getting tonked. I can handle getting tonked at home, Gods know it’s not the first time and it won’t be the last. What I found hard to take this time was the wretched, pitiful and downright unacceptable couldn’t care less attitude that our lot seemed to adopt. There was no shouting instructions, no cajoling, no encouragement, no fist clenching never say die attitude that we have come to expect.

Remember, we got stuffed by Birmingham not so long ago and yet the home support almost stayed to a man (and woman) and cheered the lads off for a gutsy display. This time the home crowd left quicker than the rats off the Titanic and who, in fairness can blame us?

It was a very hard pill to swallow, being smacked by, statistically, the worst team in our league and how Kenny Jackett gets them motivated now is something I would dearly love to see. This is no fluke of a result, in truth, it has been coming for a little while now and the cup win over Luton has not really done us much in the way of favours with regards to our league form. You cannot lose five times on the spin and try to make out that there is nothing wrong. Something is clearly wrong and if we don’t put it right soon then prepare to batten down the hatches and dig in for a relegation battle.

Middlesbrough away and on Bastard SKY as well. Saturday is not looking like a whole heap of fun, is it?

"Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown". - (King Henry IV Part 2, Act III, Scene I).
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