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Burnley 3-1 Millwall
11:47am Monday 10th February 2014 in Sport
By Sam Brown, Lions Live presenter
MILLWALL are still searching for a first away win under new manager Ian Holloway after Saturday’s reverse at Burnley.
A Danny Ings brace and solitary effort from Dean Marney ensured Martyn Woolford’s opener in the end was a mere a consolation for the Lions as they recorded a fourth defeat in six games.
In-form Burnley had not been beaten at home in 19 league matches since a 1-0 defeat against Hull in March 2013, so Holloway’s side knew already they faced a tough task.
However, the visitors began the game brightly after making four changes from the 3-0 defeat to Reading, with Holloway handing a start to new signing Ed Upson in the midfield alongside the returning Jimmy Abdou.
Captain Paul Robinson was recalled at the back in an unfamiliar pairing alongside Shaun Willimas in place of Danny Shittu and Mark Beevers.
Lee Martin also got the nod, with Simeon Jackson named among the substitutes.
Millwall opened the scoring after 27 minutes as Martin’s free-kick was headed out of the box and Woolford was positioned perfectly at the edge of the area to fire a half volley into Clarets keeper Tom Heaton’s bottom right corner.
But the lead lasted for just two minutes as Ings curled in an equaliser to instantly peg back the Lions.
Holloway said: “To get yourselves in front here is no easy feat but we did that with a decent free-kick into the box, it dropped down and we put it in.
“What we are not doing at the moment is holding onto anything.”
The game then turned in favour of the home side as Ings was fouled by Abdou inside the area and the referee pointed to the spot.
However, Lions keeper Stephen Bywater made amends for his error against Reading the previous weekend with a great save to parry Ings’ effort away.
Holloway said: “I’d like to ask what on earth the penalty was for? Anybody got an idea?
“I didn’t see any one of their players appeal for it, it was a ridiculous decision.
“When Bywater saved it I thought our luck had changed, but it didn't last long, did it?
“That sums up the feeling in our dressing room, and we’ve got to take that off.”
The feeling of relief did indeed not last for long, as moments later deep into first half stoppage time Burnley went in front when Marney smashed home a stunning strike.
Holloway lamented: “I am very disappointed for the lads.
“Some important things need to start happening for us and I’m sure they will do against other teams given how we played.
“We had a game plan to stop Ings and Sam Vokes, and for the first few minutes you could see Burnley weren’t quite at it. We started the better team.
“Given the season both teams are having, it was a big ask for us to carry on how we started for 90 minutes.”
Holloway handed Jackson his Millwall debut in the 55th minute by introducing the striker in place of Martin to try and get back in the game.
But the Clarets increased their advantage seven minutes later when Kieran Trippier’s long ball forward which was met by Ings, who slotted home with his second touch in emphathic style.
Holloway said: “From my point of view we lost our game plan for the first goal.
“The ball went wide and their man was able to play it straight into Ings’ feet in the box.
“I had two midfielders shielding the back four, and for the first time in the game they were not there.
“He’s spun, smashed it and it has gone in.
“Five minutes before half-time all of a sudden we dropped deep, so deep that their midfielder was able to pick a pass from the edge of our box.
“A lot of our performance was not bad at all, against arguably the best Championship team I have seen this year.”
Millwall now face Yeovil away tomorrow night and with the Glovers positioned in the relegation zone, it’s a must-win for Holloway’s men.
And the manager Holloway is confident the Lions will turn things around.
He said: “We’ve added some new players and we’ve got to get some breaks really quickly, because that dressing room is pretty low at the moment.
“We can learn from the structure of Burnley - they know where they’re passing it, they don’t take any risks and on top of that they’ve got great individuals.
“The third goal was the killer.
“We’ve given somebody too much time with the ball, one long ball over the defence and Ings gets onto it and scores.”
Holloway added: “I’m enjoying working with this lot.
“I don’t enjoy losing but I can hold my hands up to a better team, and today Burnley were better than us.
“In the end it was too comfortable.
“That’s as good a Burnley side I’ve ever seen.
“If there’s anybody with a stronger chin than them, with a better group mentality, then I’d like to see them - hopefully not too soon.”
And on Millwall’s survival prospects, the boss said: “We’ve got to be better than three other teams between now and the end of the season, and I believe if we can build on some of our play we’ve got a chance of doing that.
“But we need results right now.”
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