Football: Mitchell to rescue

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The Independent Online
Barnsley. . .0

Millwall. . .1

MICK McCARTHY spent some of the best days of his playing career at Barnsley, so it was appropriate that Oakwell should be the scene of the best night of his managerial career.

Victory took his side to the First Division play-offs they narrowly missed last season, thanks to a late goal from Dave Mitchell. The globe-trotting striker who has played in Scotland, Germany and the Netherlands and who was last heard of in Turkey, turned up where he was least expected again to head home Alex Rae's corner.

Millwall's anxiety about their faltering pursuit of Premiership status was evident when they began with a five-man rearguard, which indicated that avoiding defeat was their main priority.

Barnsley, who assured their own First Division survival on Saturday by beating Wolves, were free to indulge themselves, and occasionally played football worthy of what must be the best surface in the League at this late stage in the season.

Brendan O'Connell and Owen Archdeacon both squandered good chances before Millwall, with the second-half wind at their backs, threw caution to it and began to look like promotion challengers themselves.

Lee Butler saved Jamie Moralee's fierce drive at the second attempt, turned Rae's 20-yarder round a post and scurried off his line to smother at Clive Allen's feet.

But Kasey Keller still had to make the best save of the night to scoop Andy Rammell's powerful header off the line before Mitchell gave Millwall their first away win since December.

McCarthy said: 'This is the best moment of my managerial career and I couldn't have picked a better place for it to happen.'

Barnsley (4-4-2): Butler; Bishop, Fleming, Taggart, Archdeacon; Eaden, O'Connell, Wilson, Redfearn; Williams, Rammell. Substitutes not used: Liddell, Snodin, Watson (gk).

Millwall (5-3-2): Keller; Cunningham, Stevens, Horlock, Emblen, Huxford; Roberts, Allen, Rae; Moralee, Mitchell. Substitutes not used: Kirk, Berry, Carter (gk).

Referee: E Lomas (Manchester).