Bowry brings best out of Millwall

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The Independent Online

Millwall 2 West Bromwich Albion 1

"Sadly, on Wednesday evening during a very good game of football, two of our supporters decided to make fools of themselves by going on to the pitch. All that happened was that, yet again, our good name was dragged through the mud in certain elements of the media."

So said Peter Mead, the Millwall chairman, in his programme message concerning the latest in a long line of disturbances at his club's ground. Sadly, on Wednesday evening during what may well have been a good game of football, much more than Millwall's name was dragged through the mud when a supporter confronted the Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper, Kevin Pressman, and probably frightened the life out of him.

Millwall have a list of previous convictions as long as your arm, so there seems little merit in their chairman's words, but one man cannot be held responsible for such deep-seated problems. Happily, the action on the pitch on Saturday was confined to the match, and if there is a way for Millwall to get the message across to its "mild lunatic fringe", as Mead describes it, then it may be through the style of their football.

Their victory over third-placed West Bromwich Albion took Millwall to the top of the Endsleigh League First Division, and while neither side looked anything like Premiership material, the spirit with which Mick McCarthy's side wrested the initiative from their opponents in the second half was something for their genuine supporters to be proud of.

The player who galvanised them at important moments was Bobby Bowry, a summer signing from Crystal Palace, who has the knack of bringing the best out of players around him. His first significant contribution came after three badly misdirected passes from team-mate Alex Rae in the space of a minute.

Bowry promptly took responsibility and instigated the move which led to Chris Malkin's opening goal. While Rae's attempts had been extravagant, Bowry's pass out wide was plain and simple, and just what Millwall needed.

West Brom's response was immediate, a glancing header by Andy Hunt, perhaps the most skilful player on view, and an equaliser was nothing more than the visitors deserved. Albion then took control and at half-time Millwall looked unlikely to make any further impression. But after 10 minutes of the second half they began a series of attacks that they managed to sustain and, after the inevitable contribution of Bowry - the right pass at the right time - they were eventually rewarded by Uwe Fuchs' winner.

Goals: Malkin (19) 1-0; Hunt (21) 1-1; Fuchs (59) 2-1.

Millwall (4-3-3): Keller; Newman, Witter (Webber, 80), Stevens, Van Blerk; Doyle, Bowry, Rae; Taylor, Fuchs, Malkin. Substitutes not used: Dixon, Black.

West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Naylor; Burgess, Mardon, Raven, Edwards (Smith, 75); Ashcroft (Rees, 75), Hamilton, Caldicott, Gilbert; Hunt, Taylor. Substitute not used: Reece (gk).

Referee: G Pooley (Bishop's Stortford).