Rovers v Millwall – Fans Eye View
August 24, 2005
Carling Cup Round 1
Millwall 2 Rovers 0
[image1]The Carling Cup first round match pitting Championship strugglers Millwall against League Two Bristol Rovers was an often cagey and even game for the majority of the match.
The first incident of note came after 5 minutes, when Millwall hit the ball forward into the Rovers box. Craig Hinton expected Shearer to come to collect, but the keeper kept still until having to rush out late to smother the shot. The home side had the next chance as well with a long-range low drive pushed away by Shearer, and cleared by the defence for a corner to the Lions.
Rovers, wearing their new yellow away kit for the first time this season, survived the early pressure and their first real chance came some 20 minutes in when Hinton supplied a curling cross only for a Jefferson Louis header to fly wide. Not long after, the big striker knocked the ball down to an advancing James Hunt, though his left foot strike rose harmlessly over the bar.
Robbie Ryan got forward down the left and provided a good cross for Louis but nothing came from it as
Millwall goalkeeper Paul Jones, on loan from Wolves, managed to block his header and the loose ball ran to Aaron Lescott who’s shot was deflected behind.
Millwall continued to press and managed to squander a good chance with their striker heading over after making room for himself from one of their corners around a half hour in.
Rovers were soon on the attack again and made a quick couple of efforts with Louis wasting a cross from strike partner Agogo, before Craig Disley headed over from a cross from the left. Louis, who was getting increasingly involved, wasn’t far off target with a 25 yard strike that whistled past the Millwall post. [image2]
Rovers had given a good account of themselves in the first half against the Championship team, matching anything thrown at them, but it was the away side that decided to make their first change around 10 minutes in when Louis was replaced by Richard Walker upfront.
Not long after, Millwall grabbed the first goal of the game when Scott Shearer let a cross pass over his head and the unmarked Millwall player headed back across goal, and the ball was put into the back of the net. It appeared Craig Hinton got the final touch, but the goal was given to ex-Rovers striker Barry Hayles as his attempt was going in anyway.
At 1-0 down Rovers introduced Ryan Williams in place of Stuart Campbell in an attempt to try something different to get back in a game they had contested so admirably in.
After Junior Agogo was fouled around the Millwall area, Steve Elliot tried to conjure up something akin to his goal against Peterborough but his effort was poor and well wide.
Millwall had a shot from former West Ham player Don Hutchinson cleared off the line from Rovers skipper Anderson and moments later Shearer reacted well to smother and save from an advancing Millwall player. The home side began to gain confidence and looked more like the Championship team they are after the goal, and Rovers began to lose their cool a little and started to rush passes and lose possession.
Millwall made a substitution with Barry Hayles going off to a standing ovation from the away supporters, in respect of one of their ex-players and heroes, which I’m sure was really appreciated.
[image3]With time running out Richard Walker almost equalised after some good link play by Rovers beating the offside trap, but Walkers turn and shot was well saved by Jones in the Millwall goal, with all his experience showing. A cross from the Millwall left allowed substitute Carlos Fangueiro to kill the game off with a good headed finish into the top corner, after evading the Rovers defenders.
A good battling performance for Rovers who were rightly applauded off for their efforts with them matching the higher division team for most of the game, but Millwall ran out deserved winners after their extra class shone through in the end.