Match report: Millwall claw back lead to draw at Crystal Palace in the battle of south London
Crystal Palace 2 Millwall 2
Saturday 20 October 2012
For what more could you ask from a derby? This game had four goals, 10 bookings, tension, passion and precisely the right amount of unpleasantness.
Crystal Palace and Millwall will probably compete for different prizes this season but they were fighting for same thing here. Both teams played as if the pride of south London was at stake, matching each other for character if not for quality.
For 40 minutes the hosts were far superior and went 2-0 ahead. But Dean Moxey was sent off before half-time, Liam Trotter scored the penalty and the game changed. The second half was an exhibition in competitive courage from both Palace and Millwall. The home team, one goal up, one man down, with tiring legs, fought to hang onto their lead. Millwall’s task – from behind, against a better team, away from home – was not easy either, but they went about it with just as much spirit.
With 13 minutes left it appeared as if Millwall would not have quite enough, that Palace would hold on for their seventh win from eight games. But Josh Wright’s corner was turned in, not entirely advertently, at the far post by Mark Beevers. Darius Henderson even had a chance to win the game with three minutes left but Kenny Jackett was delighted with how his players, initially outclassed, had fought back.
“I was very pleased with my players for coming back from 2-0 own away from home, it’s a good achievement,” Jackett said afterwards. “We played well, we showed plenty of heart and courage and no little quality. I am pleased to say we persevered against a very resilient Palace side. It is never easy against 10 men, or when 2-0 down away from home.”
Despite that late equaliser, Dougie Freedman was just as proud of his own players. “We had to stick together,” he said. “It is another derby that we are unbeaten in. We refused to be beat today. It is as simple as that. We are happy with the point.”
The game turned five minutes before the break. Henderson’s header was instinctively handled off the line by Dean Moxey. Phil Dowd sent him off, Trotter scored the penalty and Millwall had the advantage. Freedman knew that had Moxey left the ball, the game would have gone differently. “I’m sure if he had time over again he’d let the ball go into the net. With 11 men we were going to win the game.”
It is hard to disagree with his analysis. Palace were excellent until then, playing brisk, imaginative attacking football, the best of it coming through Wilfried Zaha. His imagination and technique are remarkable, and he set up early chances for Glenny Murray and Kagisho Dikgacoi. Millwall’s defence only knew one way to stop him, and Zaha took understandable exception to some of his treatment.
“People try and put young Wilfried off his game,” Freedman said. “The referees have got to understand that that is part of their game plan, and part of the plan is to try to upset him. It is something he has got to learn to deal with. His performance today was fantastic. His effort and his skill and his ability to go past people are second to none.”
Zaha seemed to tire Millwall out single-handedly, so much so that there was no pressure at all on Mile Jedinak when he had the ball 30 yards out after 35 minutes. The Palace captain accepted the invitation to shoot and put his team ahead. Four minutes later, a free-kick from Owen Garvan was headed in by Damien Delaney at the near post.
“For 40 minutes we were excellent,” Freedman said. “We had real control of game, good passing through midfield and creating opportunities from wide. To be 2-0 up was the correct result.” It was, but it only lasted for two minutes.
Crystal Palace (4-2-3-1) Speroni; Blake (Ward, 66), Ramage, Delaney, Moxey; Dikgacoi, Jedinak; Zaha, Garvan (Parr, 43), Bolasie (Williams, 82); Murray
Millwall (4-4-2) Forde; Dunne, Shittu, Beevers, Smith; Taylor, Abdou (Wright, 67), Trotter, Malone (Feeney, 55); Wood (Batt, 84), Henderson.
Match rating: 9
Man of the Match: Zaha
Latest in Sport
Kevin De Bruyne to Manchester City: £58m deal hits the rocks as Wolfsburg admits they're 'in no rush' to sell former Chelsea midfielder
Pogba to Chelsea: Blues set to smash British spending record with £70m midfielder and £34m John Stones
Usain Bolt taken out by clumsy photographer on Segway during victory lap after World Championships 200m win over Justin Gatlin
Club Brugge 0 Manchester United 4 player ratings: Wayne Rooney scores hat-trick, but who impressed in Champions League tie?
Javier Hernandez: Great night for Manchester United, terrible night for Chicharito
- 1 Video of Irish 'professional boxer' fighting Istanbul neighbourhood goes viral in Turkey
- 3 A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
- 4 Russia 'accidentally reveals' number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine
Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out'
France train shooting: US soldiers speak of the moment they stopped gunman and 'beat him until he was unconscious'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs