Millwall 1 Crystal Palace 1: Millwall steal point to backdrop of bizarre fans' protest

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The Independent Online

A group of Millwall fans, no doubt frustrated by their team's season-long struggle at the foot of the Championship, unfurled two banners at half-time calling for the immediate departure of Theo Paphitis and the rest of the Millwall board.

Strange because Paphitis, in case they had forgotten, stepped down as caretaker chairman last November and gave way to the entrepreneur Peter de Savary. The bizarre protest was not lost on Millwall's enthusiastic manager, David Tuttle. "We've got a new chairman in now and he's the one who is making all the decisions," he said. "People may think Theo is still pulling all the strings but I can honestly say that he's not."

De Savary was apparently willing to free up extra funds during the January transfer window to beef up Tuttle's depleted strike force but none of the manager's targets came to fruition and once again on Saturday Millwall struggled to create much in front of goal. In the end, they were indebted to Ben May's 89th-minute equaliser after it seemed as if Ben Watson's strike in the second half would earn Palace the points.

Tuttle, however, remains optimistic that he can steer his team away from relegation despite only four points from the past seven games. "We're all in this together and we'll get out of it."

The Lions will take anything they can get at present and were a trifle fortunate to share the points against a Palace side who, even without the injured Andy Johnson, did enough to win. Iain Dowie certainly thought so. Although two penalty appeals were rightly waved away, the third, for a foul on Jobi McAnuff, should have been given.

"You cannot change these decisions, you have to move on," said Dowie, the Palace manager. "I don't often say this, but I don't think we got what we deserved and perhaps Millwall got more than they did."

Goals: Watson 67 (0-1); May 89 (1-1).

Millwall (4-4-2): Marshall; Lawrence, Whitbread, Phillips, Craig; Ifil (Williams, 64), Elliott, Livermore, Dyer (Cogan, 65); May, Powel. Substitutes not used: Dunne, Doyle (gk), Braniff.

Crystal Palace (4-4-2): Kiraly; Boyce, Ward, Hall, Borrowdale: McAnuff, Hughes, Watson (Leigertwood, 82), Soares: Freedman (Andrews, 90), Morrison. Substitutes not used: Speroni (gk), Fray, Grabban.

Referee: L Mason (Lancashire).

Booked: Millwall Whitbread, May; Crystal Palace Hughes.

Man of the match: Watson.

Attendance: 12,296.