The idea is that when teams from the same division meet in the Cup you ignore the reality of League performances. Defensively, First Division Millwall consistently pull down the heavy shutters at home while their colleagues from the same division, Burnley, concede an average of two goals a game away. Reality said: Millwall to win. And they did, but what a struggle, mainly because of a superb goalkeeping display by Burnley's Brian Jensen.
Millwall had not exactly shown great confidence that they could reach this far in the Cup when they made strenuous attempts to persuade Telford to forfeit home advantage for their delayed fourth- round fixture, which was eventually played last Wednesday. In the event, they had no need to fret, because their player-manager, Dennis Wise, who won Cup winners' medals with Wimbledon and Chelsea, battled in typical fashion and scored a win-confirming second goal in a solid Millwall performance.
Solidity is what you expect from them, and Millwall fully anticipated a rugged game yesterday. The referee chose to be lenient when Burnley's Ian Moore rammed into the back of Matt Lawrence, but took the yellow card to Tony Grant, who had acted similarly to Wise. The potential for angry repercussions was laid, but when Paul Ifill forced Jensen, in the Burnley goal, to ease a rasping 18-yard shot over the bar, minds were concentrated.
While Millwall secured the greater attacking momentum and ought to have lead when Danny Dichio headed Kevin Muscat's inswinging cross over the bar, Burnley were culpable when Robbie Ryan failed to intercept a long ball, leaving Moore to run through. However, Willie Gueret moved swiftly out of goal to save the ensuing shot with his feet.
Cahill and Ifill were by far the most constructive players on the field, but as Millwall's domination grew and their raids on goal increased so Jensen rose to the task, blocking or holding several testing shots. It seemed inevitable that Millwall would break through, and it happened after 70 minutes when Muscat's long centre was muscularly headed in by Dichio from inside the penalty area.
Burnley then worsened their situation when substitute Paul Weller clattered into Wise, who surprisingly but chivalrously appealed against a red card. Referee Howard Webb ignored him and Burnley were left to play with 10 men. Millwall's assistant manager Ray Wilkins also seemed sympathetic, saying later: "Too much physical contact has been taken out of the game.'' Burnley's Stan Ternent agreed: "It's a contact sport but if it was a push it was irresponsible and I'll deal with that, but a push is not a red card offence.''
But for the continuing diligence of Jensen, Burnley would surely have been in a more hopeless situation. Perhaps the highlight of his exceptional performance was a remarkable diving diversion of a goal-destined shot from Millwall's substitute Kevin Braniff who had already found the goalkeeper his match with earlier attempts.
Jensen, if not Burnley as a whole, deserved to see an equaliser, and in the 90th minute one should have come about when Ian Moore headed across goal to substitute Alan Moore, who missed his header and an open goal.Reuse content