JOHN Marquis’ 89th minute winner booked Millwall a place in Sunday’s fifth round FA Cup draw as the Lions dumped Premier League Aston Villa out of the competition 2-1 tonight at The Den.
The visitors had taken a 22nd minute lead through Darren bent but that was cancelled out by captain Danny Shittu’s header six minutes later.
A replay appeared to be the most likely outcome as the clock ticked down until Marquis struck at the death to cap a miserable week for Villa following their League cup humiliation at the hands of Bradford.
Darius Henderson’s shock departure to Nottingham Forest meant a first start of the season for Marquis up front, who partnered Andy Keogh.
Liam Feeney was back in the starting XI, while Karleigh Osborne started in central defence alongside Shittu as Mark Beevers moved to left-back.
Charles N’Zogbia’s opening minute effort flew off target, while Keogh’s tame 25 yard attempt was easily gathered by Shay Given.
James Henry’s 13th minute volley went harmlessly over the bar and David Forde comfortably caught Andreas Weimann’s flicked header from N’Zogbia’s free-kick seven minutes later.
But Aston Villa didn’t have long to wait to get their noses in front as they broke the deadlock midway through the first half.
Feeney gave possession away and Weimann’s initial attempt was pushed out by Forde but only into the path of Bent, whose poorly struck reaction shot ended up in the back of the net.
Millwall responded brightly with Feeney unleashing a long range low volley straight at Given and Shittu heading over from a corner.
But Villa’s defensive frailties from set pieces were exposed again in the 28th minute by the head of Shittu, who rose high to meet Henry’s next corner and this time it found the target.
Given had to punch clear to deny Beevers’ effort and then Marquis glanced a header wide as Millwall looked to quickly capitalise on their equaliser.
Adam Smith’s ambitious 30 yard drive went straight at Given before Villa were forced into an early 39th minute substitution as Fabian Delph made way for Barry Bannan.
Henry’s dipping 25 yard volley proved to be the last action of an entertaining first half which ended with the Lions firmly in the ascendancy.
Feeney saw an early second half volley go wide and there was a pause in play 10 minutes after the restart as the linesman came under attack with plastic bottles being thrown from the home fans in the Dockers Stand.
Henry’s attempt to lob Given failed to come off as the Villa keeper was able to catch the ball quite comfortably.
Shittu made a crucial block on N’Zogbia’s powerful 75th minute drive, while Forde had to parry out Bann’s well-struck 30-yard effort three minutes later.
Adam Smith’s 80th minute shot was never going to trouble Given too much before Millwall made their first change as Dany N’Guessan came on for Keogh.
Forde caught Bent’s 88th minute header but it was Marquis who proved more efficient with his head at the opposite end one minute later.
His initial header beat Given but cannoned back into play off the bar and the young striker reacted quickly to nod the loose ball home from six yards.
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Millwall: Forde, A. Smith, Shittu, Osborne, Beevers, Henry, Trotter, Abdou, Feeney, Keogh (N’Guessan 82), Marquis (J Smith 90). Subs not used: M Taylor, Dunne, Wright, Batt, Wilkinson. Att: 15,007.