LIAM Feeney’s first half strike was enough for Millwall to edge past League One Preston in a tense FA Cup third round tie.
The Lions winger latched onto Adam Smith’s cross in the 31st minute to fire the Championship outfit into the fourth round after a close encounter at The Den.
Centre-back Danny Shittu didn’t feature for Millwall, despite captaining the side recently in the absence of regular skipper Paul Robinson, which meant Jimmy Abdou wore the skipper’s armband.
It was an otherwise strong team for the Lions.
Millwall made a bright start as Shane Lowry tested Steve Simonsen in the fourth minute.
James Henry’s free-kick was half cleared by Preston and left-back Lowry shot from the edge of the area but Simonsen tipped his effort wide.
Darius Henderson then went close twice in quick succession as first his header forced a low save from Simonsen in the 20th minute.
From the resulting corner, the striker was free at the far post and unleashed a venomous shot at goal which deflected onto the bar and away.
Preston had a good chance of their own four minutes later but Huntington smashed his volley over from a free-kick before the home side took the lead.
Feeney started the move with a run down the left before switching to opposite winger Henry, who then back-heeled the ball to Adam Smith.
The right-back whipped in a low cross which found Feeney unmarked at the far post and he made no mistake to put Millwall ahead after half an hour.
It could have been two before half-time but Henry’s 41st minute shot which cannoned off Dany N’Guessan was cleared off the line.
The visitors had a half-chance just before the break but Nicky Wroe blazed over from Jack King’s knockdown at the end of a dominant first half for Millwall.
Feeney was then replaced by Shaun Batt at half-time but the home side picked up where they left off before the break as Henderson’s low strike across goal in the 52nd minute forced a fingertip save from Simonsen.
The Den then started to get edgy as Preston enjoyed large periods of possession and pinned the Lions back into their own half.
Batt had a chance to ease the anxiety in the 65th minute but for some reason he tried to pass back across goal after Henry played him in on a swift counter-attack.
Substitute David Amoo had an opportunity to equalise 10 minutes later but he headed Stuart Beavon’s corner over as Preston piled on the pressure.
In one final throw of the dice, captain John Mousinho was replaced by striker Graham Cummins but it was Beavon who went closest as his late effort shaved the post with keeper David Forde a spectator.
In the end, Millwall’s resilience couldn’t be broken and they held out for a hard-fought win.
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Millwall: Forde, Adam Smith, Beevers, Osborne, Lowry, Henry, Abdou, Wright, Feeney (Batt 46), Henderson (Jack Smith 86), N’Guessan. Subs not used: Taylor, Dunne, Racon, Marquis, Wilkinson. Att: 5,364.