Southampton will have to pay for their rotation policy with what they wanted least: an FA Cup replay against Millwall next Tuesday. Nigel Adkins made seven changes from his last league game – this Tuesday Saints host Cardiff City in a match that could be vital to their Championship title challenge.
Adkins admitted that the cup was below the league in his "pecking order", but now he will have another game against a spirited Millwall side. Rickie Lambert, returning from suspension, headed Southampton ahead before Darius Henderson volleyed Millwall level with four minutes left.
"In the second half it was like forwards against defence," said the Millwall manager, Kenny Jackett. "It was wave after wave. The team has spirit and at times played some quality football."
Millwall started far brighter. In the second minute Liam Feeney cracked a volley against the post, after Henderson had headed down James Henry's cross. Three seasons ago Feeney was playing in the Conference for Salisbury City but he was the best player of this all-Championship tie, fast and brave enough to make chances. A corner that he forced fell to Harry Kane at the far post, but the 18-year-old stabbed the ball over.
It took nearly half an hour for Southampton to threaten, when Lambert curled a free-kick inches wide. Three minutes later, Lambert (pictured) scored. Ben Reeves played in left-back Dan Harding and his cross to the near post was well met.
"Take the responsibility," Jackett told his players at the break. "Go for it in the second half, we're not out of the game by any means."
Millwall responded – their movement was excellent and only determined defending delayed an equaliser. Aaron Martin, who threw himself around all afternoon, blocked a Henderson shot and Liam Trotter smartly started a move and was just about to finish it with a volley before he ran into a defender.
The introduction of Chris Hackett, eager to impress, made a difference. "He put some excellent crosses in, two or three top-class corners, a lot of very, very good balls into the box," said Jackett.
Hackett's first corner was headed wide by Tony Craig, another was headed away and two shots fizzed off target.
Southampton could have won the tie when the substitute Lee Holmes forced a save from David Forde and headed a second chance just wide. Four minutes from the end, Millwall were justly rewarded when Scott Barron's left-wing cross was perfectly cushioned by Henderson, who let the ball bounce before volleying it with his left foot over his right shoulder and into the bottom corner.
Millwall (4-4-1-1): Forde; Smith, Wall, Craig, Barron; Henry (Hackett 67), Trotter, Abdou, Feeney; Kane (N'Guessan 67); Henderson.
Southampton (4-4-2): Bialkowski; Richardson, Martin, Fox, Harding; Puncheon (Shaw 78), Hammond, Reeves, De Ridder (Holmes 61); Lambert, Barnard (Lee 63).
Referee: Roger East
Man of the match: Feeney (Millwall)
Match rating: 7/10
Millwall 1 (Henderson) Southampton 1 (Lambert)