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Millwall 0-1 Brighton
David Lopez’s controversial 39th minute penalty was enough for Brighton to collect all three points at Millwall today.
The spot-kick was awarded after Lions skipper Danny Shittu was adjudged to have fouled Jesse Lingard in the box, although televised replays showed any contact had been minimal.
There were two changes from the starting XI from last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Barnsley.
Loan capture from Crystal Palace Owen Garvan came straight in along with Jermaine Easter, as Steve Morison and Scott McDonald dropped to the bench.
Ed Upson almost have Millwall the perfect start with an early 20-yard free-kick which landed on the roof of Tomasz Kuszczak’s net as opposed to the back of it.
The Brighton keeper was able to make a simple catch with another free-kick from Shaun Williams struck from similar distance from the opposite side of the area.
Former Addick dale Stephens tried his luck from 35 yards but David Forde was in relaxed mood as the audacious attempt flew about a foot wide.
The Lions had to be slightly more on his toes in the 25th minute when Leonardo Ulloa headed straight at him from all of four yards.
Ed Upson saw a stinging 25-yard effort saved by Kuszczak but Brighton were gifted a spot-kick six minutes before the break as, from a throw in, Lingard tumbled very dramatically to the ground under a challenge from Shittu and Lopez made no mistake with the penalty.
Shittu was incredulous at the decision and his protests earned the Lions skipper a yellow card, with the home fans left feeling equally bewildered.
Brighton almost added a second on the stroke of half-time as Ulloa broke clear and picked out Lingard, whose goal-bound effort was excellently blocked by Ryan Frdereicks.
Shittu almost had the Lions immediately back on terms within seconds of the restart but his close range header went straight at Kuszczak after he met Garvan’s free-kick.
Lopez beat the offside trap only to over hit his cross well beyond the reach of Andrea Orlandi, while seconds later Martyn Woolford had a crack from 20 yards which was just off target.
Easter was only denied by the bar after his 53rd minute close range shot had beaten Kuszczak as Millwall were cruelly denied an equaliser.
Substitute Scott McDonald saw a 66th minute low drive easily gathered by the Albion stopper, while Simeon Jackson headed over after connecting with Garvan’s shot moments before he made way for Liam Feeney.
Garvan almost rescued a point in spectacular style as four minutes of added time signalled, the debutant’s well-struck 30 yard shot flying just over the bar.
There was even an appearance from Forde in the opposing box for a Millwall corner which came to nothing, but there was to be no dramatic injury time leveller as the Seagulls held on comfortably.
Millwall remain in serious trouble.
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Millwall: Forde, Fredericks, Shittu, Lowry (McDonald 61), Malone, Upson, Williams, Easter (Morison 59), Garvan, Woolford, Jackson (Feeney 74). Subs not used: Bywater, Dunne, Beevers, Abdou. Att: 12,149.
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