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So the first noticeable effect that our "saviour" has is to knock 10,000 off the attendance. With saviors like this who needs the administrators?
Fantastic - but still eh, at least Lucas the Kop Cat has his own page, as does Butler, in which he can tell us how eating the "famous Beeston Blueberry" has changed the colour of his spots (Lucas not Butler). And of the fried chicken is reportedly better - well I had a Balti pie and it was OK - but couldn't get a beer for love nor money ...
We did enough to deserve a victory over a very poor Millwall team who showed absolutely nothing in the first half and a little more in the second when we sat back for 15 minutes when Hutchinson and Morris (surely the most vile pairing since Burke and Hare) took control.
It was possible to see what the management are requiring of the team - they look to be trying to encourage a more thoughtful retention of the ball - there was plenty of passing it around along the back 4 - up to midfield and back again - which although sometimes frustrating, is on the whole a good thing. There was also a lot more of the square ball or cross-field ball - usually pretty well played - this is a new string to Gary Kelly's bow (making 2) presumably somebody was in the dug-out yelling "pass it to Harry, pass it to Harry" as he launched it across to the left wing.
Kelly was the only threat down the right - until Richardson came on - Wright being mainly in the way of other players. Whereas Lewis - who the fuck chants "USA. USA" at an English League game by the way? - linked up well with both Harding (in the first half at least) and Healy. It will be interesting to see how much of that Lennon-shaped hole Steve Stone plugs when he is fit. To be honest we looked fairly rusty going forward - crosses were flung in without much effect, a few balls were threaded through by the midfield that briefly threatened until that linesman put his flag up again. Healy looked interested playing through the middle and was definitely our biggest (only) threat. Looking forward to him teaming up with Hulse.
Thought Derry had a good game in the middle being generally much more mobile than our midfield last year and much more composed on the ball as well. He tidied up well, broke up some of Millwall's more promising play, urged us forward and between him and Bakke made a lot of ground covering across our back 4. Bakke proved the value of a midfielder breaking forward into the box at speed when he was upended for the penalty - it was just about his only contribution going forward but we won't complain too much - it was the only way we were going to score in the half.
Other highlights included our well rehearsed free-kick in the first half when Lewis, Wright and Blake all stood five yards off it - ran at it simultaneously - all arriving at the same time and stood there all of them on the ball but no-one actually kicking the bloody thing...marvellous. Our traditional flirtation with the ever popular short corner routine made a welcome return.
1-0 Corner from the left - flicked backwards by a defender into the 6 yard box where Healy - poaching in the tried and trusted style - swiveled and belted it over his head into the roof of the net from 2 yards - nicely taken.
1-1 Ball drifts out towards our left hand corner flag where Harding looked to be the favourite to beat the winger to the ball, but the challenge was light-weight and their bloke rode it, came into the box and angled it back to the completely unmarked Hutchinson who belted it into the top corner without hesitation or deviation. Sullivan no chance. Gregan nowhere near his man.
2-1 Bakke runs into the box ball at feet - is felled - Healy steps up - job done.
Apart from one other save by Sullivan and a couple of scrambles either end keepers both had quiet games.
Major problem for me was at Chalf - TOO SLOW - the current game plan seems to be to rely on Sullivan being 5 yards further off his line for the ball over the top or for Bakke/Derry to cover back from midfield - this worked most of the time against weak opponents - but even then either Gregan or Butler was exposed once or twice to guys running at them on the edge of the box and they were either skinned or looked to foul the player - a couple of times leading to free kicks. This will be trouble if we persist in it.
SULLIVAN - very quiet game - nothing to be done about the goal - horrible orange outfit - maybe next year we will have "Olly the Orang-Utang" as mascot
KELLY - like a metro(g)nome this guy is the same year in year out...make of that what you will
HARDING - started OK - faded - let's hope he wasn't scared by the "crowd"
BUTLER - saw little of him actually - won a few headers
GREGAN - when you see the fat arse jogging away from me I'm just waiting for the hunter's tranquiliser dart to down him...too much Tarzan when I was a kid I guess...
WRIGHT - wrong
BAKKE - you can truly see the international class oozing as he arrived late for challenges - fired header's off at bizzare angles - and generally ran around like Walton's older brother...
DERRY - MOTM - when we get someone decent alongside him (Spring?) we should have a good midfield - 70's hair and 70's tackling - great stuff
LEWIS - pretty decent first match - put the effort in - got some crosses in - should have got a shot on target after 20 minutes when he was through...
HEALY - good start to the season - who'd have thought he was a CForward eh?
BLAKE - v quiet
RICKETTS - or who ate all of his pies? - best 15 minutes since he arrived
RICHARDSON - did more in 10 minutes than ...you get the picture
All in all a slow unspectacular but steady start. Got to build a foundation before you can get the conservatory up.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 08/08/2005.
In front of a league crowd smaller in number than any here since 1989 - and 10,000 down on the opening day of last season - Leeds at least found consolation in victory. However, few of the 20,000 present will take further home wins for granted.
Millwall are a club and team in flux and yet it required a badly timed tackle from the enthusiastic Marvin Elliott on Eirik Bakke with 17 minutes left to allow David Healy to drill in the winner from the penalty spot. Otherwise this would have been a draw, humdrum and deserved.
It was Healy's second goal of the afternoon and a sweet way for the Irishman to mark his 26th birthday last Friday - the same day that Don Hutchison signed a six-month contract with Millwall. Yesterday the 34-year-old quickly introduced himself to his new club with an equaliser.