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Millwall 0-2 Cardiff
MILLWALL’S impressive first half display counted for nothing as they were beaten by two goals in as many second half minutes from visitors Cardiff City.
The Lions controlled the opening 45 minutes but had nothing to show for their endeavours as they drew a blank up front.
Cardiff emerged a different side after the interval and were rewarded by a 53rd minute opener from Peter Whittingham before Criag Noone doubled the advantage two minutes later.
Captain Paul Robinson, who made his long awaited seasonal return in Saturday’s 4-1 defeat at Hull, was ruled out with an ankle injury sustained at the KC Stadium.
However, he is expected to be available to face Brighton on Saturday.
Alan Dunne came into the starting XI and new signing Chris Wood was named on the bench, where there was also a place for youngster Jake Goodman.
The main news from the visitors was the absence of Craig Bellamy from their squad.
Andy Keogh had an eighth minute shot after being picked out inside the box by Liam Trotter but the Irish international placed his effort straight at David Marshall in the Cardiff goal.
Darius Henderson unselfishly passed to James Henry whose shot was blocked by Andrew Taylor before Jimmy Abdou had a crack from long range saved by Marshall.
Trotter fired over in the 19th minute after Abdou had set up the opportunity with a clever pass as Millwall continued to dominate.
But it was Cardiff who had the ball in the back of the net after they were awarded a free-kick just outside of the area for a foul by Trotter on Tommy Smith.
Whittingham’s set piece was perfect and flew into the top corner of the net beyond Maik Taylor.
But fortunately for the Lions it was adjudged Scott Malone had been pushed while the kick was taken and the visitors were denied what would have been an undeserved opener based on the balance of play up to that point.
Jordan Mutch glanced a header just wide after rising unmarked to meet Kevin McNaughton’s 27th minute delivery.
Scott Malone capitalised on a mistake by Nicky Maynard, ran half the length of the field and unleashed a stinging drive that wasn’t a million miles away.
Karleigh Osborne's volley came within inches of giving Millwall the lead and Marshall had to be alert to push away Henry’s 38th minute free-kick as the Lions again went close.
But despite largely bossing the opening period, the Lions were forced to go in all square at the break having not made the breakthrough their efforts deserved.
Still, at least it was a bit different from Saturday when they found themselves 4-0 down at half-time.
Cardiff gave Millwall an early warning in the second half not to expect things to be so easy for the remainder of the game when a free-kick was whipped into the box from wide on the right and Noone blazed wide when it looked easier to hit the target.
But there was no such escape for the Lions on 53 minutes when the visitors edged in front as Noone burst forward and teed the ball up for Whittingham, who smashed a shot past Maik Taylor from 20 yards.
And the advantage was quickly doubled three minutes later, Noone the scorer this time by finishing coolly from inside the box after being set up by Smith.
Kenny Jackett made a double change moments later by throwing on debutants Wood and Chris Taylor for Henderson and Josh Wright.
Henry dragged a shot wide from the edge of the area before the winger was replaced by Shaun Batt with 10 minutes remaining.
A frustrating second half was summed up when Chris Taylor’s shot was blocked by a Milwall plater inside the six-yard box.
Next up are Brighton here on Saturday.
The Lions will need to more ruthless when in control against the Seagulls than they were this evening in the first half.
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Millwall: M Taylor, Dunne, Osborne, Lowry, Malone, Abdou, Wright (C Taylor 57), Trotter, Henry (Batt 80), Keogh, Henderson (Wood 57). Subs not used: Forde, Shittu, Racon, Goodman. Att: 9,295.