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Millwall 0-0 Blackburn Rovers
MILLWALL played out a goaless draw with Blackburn Rovers in a dour FA Cup quarter final at the Den.
The Lions had the better of the contest and had chances to win it - most notably from Rob Hulse - but could not find the net.
Both teams hit the post but a pair of thunderous Danny Shittu drives were the most memorable moments of a heated but scrappy cup tie.
Millwall made six changes to the side woefully beaten by Wolves last time out with 2004 finalist Alan Dunne, Jack Smith, Liam Trotter, Danny N'Guessan, Hulse and Andy Keogh all coming in to what looked like an adventurous 4-3-3 formation.
Blackburn manager Michael Appleton brought in Leon Best, Josh King and David Bentley for the cup-tied DJ Campbell, Cameron Stewart and David Jones.
The lack of quality early on was emphasised when Morten Gamst Pedersen sent a free kick from the halfway line soaring high and wide and out for a goal kick as he tried to land the ball in the box.
Liam Trotter’s effort from range minutes later was much closer to goal but still failed to trouble Rovers stopper Jake Kean as it span wide of his left hand post.
With the half hour approaching Millwall won a corner as Rovers skipper Grant Hanley headed Shane Lowry’s long free kick behind.
The Lions had the ball in the net from the resulting centre but Hulse’s point blank header was ruled out for a shove on Kean by NGuessan.
The keeper couldn’t get near Jack Smith’s cross five minutes before halftime as Millwall hit the woodwork through Andy Keogh.
The Irishman stole in at the back post to head Smith’s pinpoint ball against the foot of the upright with Kean beaten.
Blackburn finally had a decent look at goal just after halftime but top scorer Jordan Rhodes’ left foot half volley from inside the area flew high and wide from a difficult angle.
David Bentley had been on the receiving end of verbal abuse from the home support all game and he took some of the physical kind from Shane Lowry as the left back was booked for poleaxing the former England man with a heavy challenge.
Pedersen then hoofed a laid off corner into the roof of the stand to which the Lions responded as Shittu marched forward and lashed a shot from fully 40 yards which Kean had to turn over.
Moments later Hulse should have scored but he could only sidefoot over Keogh’s volleyed centre from six yards out for Millwall's best chance of the game.
With a quarter of an hour to go Rhodes was looking threatening for the visitors and he won a corner after seeing his powerful effort blocked.
From Pedersen’s centre Scott Dann headed back across goal and the ball fell to Josh King but his looping header rebounded off the far post.
The defender survived a handball shout in the box with 10 minutes to go as Millwall pushed hard for a winner; Danny Shittu hitting another stinging effort from range which Kean could only punch away.
The ball fell to Hulse but ricocheted wide for a goal kick before he had a chance to get a shot away.
N’Guessan worked space in the area for a shot from Trotter’s pass but he missed the target as the quality on the final effort was again missing.
In time added on David Dunn’s drifted centre was just too long for Rhodes to head goalwards.
Both sides now head to Ewood Park for a replay and Millwall will take heart from an improved display after their dreadful recent league form.
But they could already have booked themselves a place in a Wembley semi-final if they had been more clinical this afternoon, as they continue to struggle in front of goal in 2013.
Millwall: Forde, Dunne, Shittu, Beevers, Lowry, J.Smith, Trotter, C.Taylor, N'Guessan, Keogh, Hulse. Subs not used: M.Taylor, A.Smith, Osborne, Abdou, Saville, Feeney, Marquis. Att: 14,885.
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