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Millwall 1-0 Bournemouth
Martyn Woolford’s first half winner against Bournemouth ensured Millwall will play Championship football again next season.
The Lions went into the game on the back of a seven-match unbeaten run knowing three points against the Cherries would ensure the Great Escape was on.
And Woolford emerged as the hero, heading home Owen Garvan’s cross to remove any final day nerves at a packed Den.
There was one enforced change for the Lions with Lee Martin ruled out injured and Steve Morison was the beneficiary.
Ryan Fredericks was back in the matchday squad with a place on the bench, while former Lions striker Lewis Grabban wasn’t involved at all for the Cherries.
Woolford saw an early volley flash off target and moments later was denied by visiting keeper Lee Camp.
Morison dragged a low effort well wide from 30 yards and then Ryan Fraser was tripped just outside the box by Mark Beevers, an offence which produced a yellow card for the Millwall defender.
That gave Bournemouth a free-kick in a very dangerous position and David Forde did well to tip behind Yann Kermorgant’s set piece at the expense of a corner.
Maierhofer glanced a header off target and then Garvan’s follow up shot was blocked before Morison blazed over from six-yards, although he appealed in vein to the referee a Bournemouth played had got the final touch and it should have been a corner.
Morison was only denied by the crossbar on 22 minutes after Maierhofer had cleverly headed the ball into his path.
Beevers made a crucial header to put behind a dangerous looking Charlie Daniels cross and then Shaun Williams tried his luck from 30 yards forcing Camp to push the ball away.
Forde was called into action to put behind Tokelo Rantie’s low drive and Adam Smith wasn’t far away with a long range shot from the corner.
But Millwall were infront moments later as Garvan’s delivery was met by a deft Woolford header which beat Camp to send the home fans into ecstasy.
Beevers was forced off by injury five minutes later and replaced by Paul Robinson before the gigantic Maierhofer looped a header over.
Robinson headed straight at Camp from a free-kick in first half stoppage time but the Lions went in at the break knowing they were 45 minutes away from guaranteeing Championship football next season.
Andrew Surman saw an early second half volley deflected behind but the corner came to nothing.
Maierhofer broke clear but his first touch was poor and he could only pass to Woolford, who was denied a shot on goal by a timely tackle.
News came through that Birmingham had fallen behind at Bolton, a goal which lifted the crowd no end.
The job wasn’t done yet, though, and Forde pulled off an excellent save to put behind half-time substitute Shaun MacDonald’s 61st minute header.
Another Cherries substitute saw his cross landed on the roof of Forde’s net before Simeon Jackson, on for Maierhofer, wasted a glorious chance to make it 2-0 by placing his shot wide when one-on-one with Camp.
Malone saw a stunning well-struck volley 76th minute from the edge of the box tipped over by the visiting keeper.
Jackson was unlucky when he kept going after evading a Bournemouth tackle and placed a shot inches wide.
Forde denied Surman with his legs after he had met Brett Pitman’s flick on while Garvan’s free-kick beat everyone in the Bourmeouth box moments later except the post.
The lively Rantie did well to set up a shooting chance for himself only for player of the year Forde to come to Millwall’s rescue again with another fine stop.
But there was to be no equaliser and the party got underway as soon as the final whistle blew.
The players did a lap of honour at the end, question is how many of them will survive the expected end of season clear out?
Big summer coming up for Ian Holloway and this football club.
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Millwall: Forde, Edwards, Dunne, Beevers (Robinson 34), Malone (Fredericks 86), Bailey, Williams, Morison, Garvan, Woolford, Maierhofer (Jackson 64). Subs not used: Bywater, Easter, Abdou, McDonald.
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