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Millwall 3-1 Blackpool
MILLWALL bounced back in style from Saturday’s debacle against Derby with a home win over high-flying Blackpool this evening.
Blackpool topped the Championship going into the game, a table which the Lions propped up after a disastrous start to the campaign which had put new manager Steve Lomas under serious early pressure.
The game looked to be going to form when Blackpool took a 16th minute lead through star player Tom Ince.
But Liam Trotter’s penalty restored parity on the stroke of half-time before two goals in the space of a minute after the break from Nicky Bailey and substitute Steve Morison wrapped up an impressive and much needed three points.
As expected, there were big changes from the side hammered 5-1 by Derby County here at the weekend.
Danny Shittu, Shaun Derry and Andy Keogh were dropped from the squad, while Paul Connolly and Richard Chaplow were forced to make do with a place on the bench.
Shane Lowry began his suspension after being red carded in the Rams humiliation.
The six players drafted into the XI were Alan Dunne, Paul Robinson (who was back as skipper), Scott Malone, Trotter, Jimmy Abdou and Martyn Waghorn.
Matt Gilks had to tip behind Waghorn’s sixth minute long range drive and the on-loan striker was denied again by the visiting keeper who reacted instinctively to gather his low shot eight minutes later.
Just like they had against Derby, Millwall began brightly but they suffered a familiar bad feeling when Blackpool took a 16th minute lead.
Mark Beevers’ poor headed clearance landed straight at the feet of Ince just outside of the box and the highly-rated youngster smashed his shot past David Forde.
The Lions were almost back on terms when Martyn Woolford rose high to meet Waghorn’s delivery but his header hit the post and Blackpool survived.
Ince had a chance to add a second as the visitors launched a quick counter attack, although this time his effort curled harmlessly wide as Forde looked on.
Millwall were awarded a penalty on the stroke of half time after Trotter’s shot was handled by Isaiah Osbourne.
There were huge protests from Blackpool players against the decision and Osbourne was yellow carded as Trotter waited patiently to take the spot-kick, eventually burying his effort past Gilks when finally permitted to do so.
Beevers headed over from Woolford’s delivery three minutes after the break while Ince had another curling shot go harmlessly behind at the other end.
Millwall made their first change on the hour as Scott McDonald made way for Morison seconds after Blackpool had replaced Osbourne with Nathan Delfouneso.
Morison did well to win a corner which picked out an unmarked Trotter at the far post, but the ball hit his face instead of his head and went behind.
Millwall were in front when Woolford’s corner picked out an unmarked Bailey, who smashed the ball past Gilks from 10 yards.
And it was 3-1 within a minute as Morison latched on to Richard Chaplow’s long through ball and gave the Blackpool no chance with a powerful finish.
A timely tackle by a Blackpool defender inside the area prevented substitute Chaplow getting in a shot.
There were six minutes of added time, during which Forde denied Neal Bishop twice as the Lions ran down the clock to collect their first Championship win under Lomas.
The perceived wisdom around these parts beforehand was the rookie new boss would be finished had his side lost tonight.
He lives to fight another day and if Millwall continue their excellent record against Charlton this weekend then the Ulsterman will all of a sudden be in a very strong position with owner John Berylson here tonight and at The Valley on Saturday.
A week really is a long time in football.
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Millwall: Forde, Dunne, Robinson, Beevers, Malone, Abdou, Trotter (Chaplow 73), Bailey, McDonald (Morison 60), Waghorn, Woolford (Martin 82). Subs not used: Bywater, Henry, Connolly, Osborne. Att: 8,415.
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