Football: Lawrence springs to directors' defence: Boro dash Millwall hopes

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The Independent Online
Middlesbrough. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

Millwall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

LENNIE LAWRENCE'S delight after seeing his Middlesbrough side recover from 2-1 down after an hour to beat Millwall yesterday was tempered by some banners on display at Ayresome Park calling for the removal of two of the club's directors.

'I don't mind if fans put up banners against me,' Lawrence said. 'They are entitled to slag me off, that's part of a manager's life. But to put something up about two directors was scandalous.

'I don't know whether the idiots were thrown out but I would ban them from the ground for life.'

Late goals by Steve Vickers and Paul Wilkinson earned Middlesbrough their three points from a game of fluctuating fortunes. In the process, Millwall's hopes of moving up to second place in the First Division were dashed.

Middlesbrough, with Tommy Wright back after a lengthy absence because of a knee injury, went ahead after 33 minutes through Craig Hignett's 20-yard free-kick, his first goal since October.

Alex Rae equalised for Millwall from the penalty spot after Andy Peake had brought down Etienne Verveer, and it was the Dutchman who supplied the cross for Jamie Moralee to put the men from The Den ahead.

Hignett made it 2-2 in the 60th minute, putting the ball into an empty net after a tussle outside the penalty area between Kasey Keller, Millwall's goalkeeper, and Alan Moore.

Vickers put Middlesbrough ahead after 84 minutes with a diving header and Wilkinson sealed it three minutes later.

Middlesbrough: Pears; Fleming, Liburd, Peake, Vickers, Whyte, Hignett, Mustoe, Wilkinson, Moore, Wright. Substitutes not used: Kavanagh, Mohan, Collett (gk).

Millwall: Keller; Huxford, Thatcher, Roberts, Cunningham, Stevens, Rae, Verveer, Moralee, Kerr (Murray, 65), Barber. Substitutes not used: Beard, Carter (gk).

Referee: D Allison (Lancaster).