Bottom of the table and still suffering the effects of a midweek home drubbing against Sheffield United, they came out flailing, but every attempted blow seemed to misfire.
Without really threatening themselves, Millwall had been comfortable until, with 18 minutes gone, Jamie Vincent turned blind and rolled a weak backpass towards keeper Andy Marshall. Appropriately, the beneficiary of such a schoolboy error was Theo Walcott, who is only a few months out of schoolboy football himself.
He became Southampton's youngest ever scorer while making his full debut at Leeds on Tuesday, and the 16-year-old confidently racked up his second, taking the ball round Marshall with one touch, and rolling it in with a second. "He's got pace, ability and great close control," said his manager Harry Redknapp. "He's a good kid with a level head." Colin Lee, the Millwall manager, went further, describing him as the best 16-year-old he had ever seen.
Southampton's second arrived seven minutes later, Ricardo Fuller heading Djamel Belmadi's left-wing free-kick inside the near-post. Phil Ifil, booked for the foul that preceded it, was then sent off in first-half injury time after a challenge on Danny Higginbotham, even though the Southampton left-back admitted to referee Chris Foy that there had been no contact.
It was symptomatic of Millwall's day. But after nine League games without a win, though, Southampton were in no position to spurn such charity.Reuse content