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Charlton 4-4 Millwall
THE honours were shared between Charlton and Millwall at The Valley this afternoon in a thrilling derby which produced eight goals.
Millwall raced into a 2-0 lead inside 27 minutes thanks to Steve Morison’s brace.
Charlton were back on terms by the break after Deon Burton struck twice from the penalty spot, with the second offence resulting in a red card for Jimmy Abdou.
Skipper Nicky Bailey’s superbly struck volley gave Charlton the lead within two minutes of the second half, but 10-man Millwall fought back to level through Dave Martin in the 81st minute.
Morison turned from hero to villain for the Lions with five minutes remaining when his own goal gave Charlton a 4-3 lead.
But Millwall were not to be denied and an injury time equaliser from Danny Schofield earned the Lions a deserved share of the spoils.
The Addicks named the same line-up from last week’s 2-1 victory at Stockport, while the Millwall’s only change saw Danny Schofield dropped to the bench in favour of Ali Fuseini.
As is always the way with derby clashes, the opening exchanges were tense with neither side able to create any real openings.
In fact, the first real effort of note didn’t arrive until the ninth minute when Martin’s cross from the left was headed back across the face of goal by Paul Robinson.
Morison and Marc Laird both went for the ball and although the danger was only cleared as far as Fuseini, his shot was easily dealt with by Rob Elliot.
But the visitors didn’t have to wait long to get their noses in front when they took a shock lead three minutes later when a mix-up between Sam Sodje and Scott Wagstaff allowed Morison to capitalise by breaking through before placing a low shot past Elliot.
If Charlton fans were expecting an immediate response from their side, they were to be hugely disappointed.
In fact, the Addicks’ first chance of note (and I use the word chance in the most liberal of terms) came midway through the half when Dave Mooney picked out Burton, but his shot was charged down by Andy Frampton for a corner.
Bailey delivered a free-kick into the area on 24 minutes, but again the Millwall defence dealt comfortably with it and cleared the danger.
Millwall pulled further clear in the 27th minute when Elliot Omozusi made a complete hash of clearing Laird’s corner allowing Robinson to fire in a shot which hit the bar with Elliot beaten.
The ball rebounded out invitingly into the path of Morison, who simply couldn’t miss from four yards out.
Charlton were handed a lifeline four minutes later after Mooney was upended in the box by a clumsy Frampton challenge and Burton stepped up to smash the penalty past David Forde.
Forde played a key role in Charlton’s second penalty of the afternoon on 38 minutes and it is one he will quickly want to forget.
The Lions keeper came out of his area to clear a poor back-pass, but fellow Irishman Mooney beat him to it and fired in a shot from an acute angle that cannoned back off the post.
Lloyd Sam looked certain to fire the rebound home but a crude challenge from Abdou stopped him in his tracks, a foul which earned the Millwall midfield ace a straight red card.
Burton volunteered to do the honours from 12-yards and again made no mistake to get the Addicks back on terms.
The second half had barely started when Charlton turned the game on its head by going in front.
Sam’s cross into the box was headed into the path of Bailey on the edge of the D, who unleashed an unstoppable volley into the top corner.
Millwall had Forde to thank minutes later when the Lions keeper just held on to deny Burton a hat-trick.
At the other end, Martin headed just over from Laird’s free-kick as a clearly stunned Millwall side quickly tried to get themselves back in contention again.
They should have made the most of a good opportunity which came their way on the hour when Fuseini’s long ball sprung the offside trap and Laird flicked on to an unmarked Martin, but he scuffed his shot wide from eight yards out.
Substitute Akpo Sodje failed to make a decent connection with Sam’s cross within minutes of his arrival for Mooney.
But he was slightly unfortunate seconds later when he shook off the attentions of Frampton and fired in a shot which forced Forde to get down low to gather.
Millwall’s growing frustration was summed by Fuseini blasting a 73rd minute shot high into the stand, much to the obvious delight of the Charlton fans sitting there.
The Addicks can consider themselves unlucky not to have been awarded another spot kick when Forde bundled over Sam Sodje as they both chased a loose ball.
But against the odds, it was Millwall who grabbed the next goal in the 81st minute when Alan Dunne broke into the box and sent in a cross to Martin.
His initial header was saved by Elliot but the winger was perfectly placed to fire the rebound home and put his side back on terms.
Morison applied the final touch to Basey’s 85th minute corner for an unfortunate own goal which appeared to have sealed all three points for the hosts.
However, his blushes were spared in stoppage time when he tackled Basey before finding Schofield, who fired past Elliot to make it 4-4.
Schofield may even have won it late on with a shot which went over, but this was a game which will live long in the memory and one neither side really deserved to lose.
Charlton: Elliot, Omozusi, S Sodje, Dailly, Basey, Sam (Spring 89) , Semedo, Bailey, Wagstaff (McKenzie 83), Burton, Mooney (A Sodje 66). Subs not used: Randolph, Llera, Shelvey, McLeod.
Millwall: Forde, Dunne, Frampton (Craig 71), Robinson, Smith, Fuseini, Laird (Bolder 90), Abdou, Grabban (Schofield 71), Martin, Morison. Subs not used: Sullivan, Ward, Grimes, Price. Att: 19,105.