Richard Sadlier capitalised on a chaotic moment in the Portsmouth defence to give Millwall a narrow victory in this First Division match at the New Den last night.
Portsmouth's Japanese goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi was left stranded when he came to clear a free-kick lobbed into the Portsmouth penalty area 11 minutes from time only for Carl Tiler to beat him to the ball and head it straight up into the air. Kawaguchi failed with his second attempt to punch clear and the ball fell perfectly for the in-form Sadlier to thrash in his 11th goal of the season.
It was a costly error for Portsmouth in an even game in which neither side created many chances. It left them stuck in mid-table and their manager, Graham Rix, under pressure, while Millwall moved up to sixth.
To make matters worse for Pompey they had their striker Lee Bradbury carried off in the closing stages with an injury that may force Rix to sign a replacement.
The game got off to a lively start, with Kawaguchi forced to parry an early effort by Sean Dyche and in the ninth minute Tim Cahill should have done better with a free header, both those chances stemming from corners by Steven Reid.
Then it was the woodwork that kept the game goalless in at half-time. After 20 minutes Millwall's Steve Claridge was denied a goal against his old club when his lob came back off the crossbar. The Lions were then almost punished for wasting long periods of possession when Portmouth's Kevin Harper hit the post in injury-time.
Millwall: Warner; Ryan, Nethercott, Livermore, Cahill, Dyche, Ifill (Harris, 73), Reid, Green, Sadlier, Claridge. Substitutes not used: Gueret, Tuttle, Bircham, Bull.
Portsmouth: Kawaguchi; Buxton, Primus, Tiler, Harper, O'Neil, Barrett, Prosinecki, Pitt (Vincent 77), Crouch, Bradbury (Lovell 83). Substitutes not used: Tardif, Curtis, Thogersen.
Referee: E Wolstenholme (Blackburn).Reuse content