Millwall 2 Birmingham City 2: Lazaridis has last word as Birmingham escape from Den fright

Aet; Birmingham win 4-3 on pens
Click to follow
The Independent Online

A new dawn at the New Den and Millwall will just hope that it is not a false one after they twice dragged themselves level against Premiership Birmingham City, forcing this committed Carling Cup tie into extra time.

That is as far as it went. Both of the Championship strugglers strikers' - Barry Hayles and Ben May - missed in the penalty shoot-out and, although Birmingham's Jermaine Pennant was also wasteful, his team-mates, finally, did enough to reach the quarter-finals, Stan Lazaridis converting the decisive spot-kick.

The drama, provoked as much by Birmingham's complacency when ahead as their opponents' drive, unfolded in front of Peter De Savary, the new Millwall chairman. "He spoke to everyone before the game and it's the first time since I've been here that we've had a leader," the Millwall manager Colin Lee said.

His position, nevertheless, is under threat, but also feeling the pressure, despite the undeniable support from the board, is Steve Bruce. "When they got the goal they made a hell of a cup tie out of it," the Birmingham manager said.

Indeed they did. Not that it seemed, for an hour, that it would be the case on an evening where there was always an edge, given the events and subsequent riots, when the sides met in the First Division play-offs three years ago. Last night there were five arrests.

But Birmingham swept ahead after just 10 minutes when Julian Gray lashed in left-footed across the debutant Lenny Pidgeley, Millwall's sixth goalkeeper of the season, who has been loaned by Chelsea for a week. Millwall then quickly lost two players to injury.

But the home side fashioned an equaliser with Alan Dunne squeezing through Jamie Clapham's challenge, and curling the ball over a static Nico Vaesen.

In the first-half of extra time Heskey stabbed home from close-range, but then Marvin Elliott cleanly from 18 yards for Millwall.

Millwall (4-4-2): Pidgeley; Ifil (Fangueiro, 29), Livermore, Robinson, Craig; Dunne, Morris (Simpson, 98), Elliott, Wright; Asaba (May, 11), Hayles. Substitutes not used: Vincent, Braniff.

Birmingham City (4-4-2): Vaesen; Melchiot, Martin Taylor, Upson, Clapham; Pennant, Butt, Clemence (Jarosik, 91), Gray (Lazaridis, 105); Pandiani (Dunn, 62), Heskey. Substitutes not used: Maik Taylor (gk), Tebily.

Referee: G Poll (Hertfordshire).

Comments