Football: Millwall's dream ends

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The Independent Online
Wolverhampton Wanderers. .3

Millwall. . . . . . . . . 1

GRAHAM TAYLOR'S recent rendition of 'Raining In My Heart' has prompted several musically inclined hacks to thumb through the Buddy Holly catalogue in search of other apposite song titles. For Millwall's manager, Mick McCarthy, only one will do: 'It Doesn't Matter Any More'.

The Londoners went into yesterday's match at Molineux knowing that only a win would give them any realistic chance of staying in contention for a place in the First Division promotion play- offs. They never even got close.

The Lions were as unhappy in the Wolves' lair as the alligators which, earlier in the week, refused to be convinced that there was a life to be had in the less-than- tropical waters around the Belfry.

Millwall have built their season on sound pass-and-move principles. The other side of Christmas, the machine was purring smoothly, but it has developed a nasty stutter in recent weeks. Promotion can sometimes come too early for a young side and, with Millwall moving to their new ground next season, McCarthy privately may be grateful for the chance to build sounder foundations before joining the elite.

A tendency to over-elaborate was at the heart of the Lions' defeat. Wolves, particularly in the shape of Paul Cook and Robbie Dennison, also have the talent to stroke it around, but they can mix it too, and they were largely Anglo-Saxon virtues which saw the home team seize a three-goal lead in the first half.

Shaun Bradbury, in his League debut, thumped home a glorious 20-yarder on 20 minutes and repeated the dose nine minutes later after Andy Mutch's best pass had split open Millwall's flat defence. When Mark Burke added a third goal on the stroke of half-time, Millwall knew it was over.

Malcolm Allen capped a spirited second-half display by the visitors with a neat volley, but it did little to interrupt Wolves' end-of- season party. With the new look Molineux taking impressive shape and Bradbury a promising successor to Steve Bull, they have much to look forward to.

Wolverhampton Wanderers: P Jones; D Simkin, P Edwards, M Burke, P Blades, M Venus, S Bradbury (D Roberts, 63 min), P Cook, A Thompson, A Mutch, R Dennison. Sub not used: T Steel. Manager: G Turner.

Millwall: K Keller; K Cunningham (T Dolby, 52 min), I Dawes, A Roberts, C Cooper, G Maguire, A Rae (A May, h-t), J Moralee, M Allen, J Goodman, P Barber. Player-Manager: M McCarthy.

Referee: K Cooper (Mid-Glamorgan).

Goals: Bradbury (1-0, 20 min); Bradbury (2-0, 29 min); Burke (3-0, 45 min); Allen (3-1, 68 min).

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