Wise proves inspiration as Burnley lose their cool

Millwall 1 Burnley 0
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The Independent Football

"Why Did he kick it there?" asked a bemused young lady making her first ever trip to a football match on Valentine's Day. She was referring to a horrendous miskick by Burnley's Glen Little, which sent the ball squirting wide in the fourth minute and set the agenda on a day of frustration and disappointment for Burnley.

In a fractious second half Burnley had a player sent off and missed a late chance that had both managers shaking their heads in disbelief. The clock showed 90 minutes when the visitors broke away down the right wing and an inviting cross was headed back across goal by Ian Moore into the path of Alan Moore. But from point-blank range he allowed the ball to shoot into touch.

"I think even I would have scored it," the Burnley manager, Stan Ternent, said. "We should have been going back to Turf Moor," added Millwall's assistant manager, Ray Wilkins.

An often bad-tempered game would have produced more than four bookings under a stricter referee than Howard Webb. The agitator-in-chief was Millwall's player-manager, Dennis Wise, who went down like the Titanic when fouled in the first half, and seemed to inspire several of his players to do likewise. Wise's 53rd-minute challenge on Tony Grant brought swift retribution when Neil Wood fouled Wise and was duly booked.

Then, amid a torrent of loose passes, Millwall's new signing Danny Dichio atoned for a bad first-half miss by heading home a Kevin Muscat cross. It proved all too much for Burnley. When Paul Weller tangled with Wise, shoving a hand angrily into his face, he was rightly sent off.

Ternent, who worked with Wise at Chelsea, said: "Dennis is a good friend and a fantastic footballer. I think the world of him. The referee let a lot go. He did his best, but it wasn't an easy game.''

Millwall poured forward against the 10 men but were thrice denied by Brian Jensen, which kept Burnley's hopes alive until the bitter end.

Goal: Dichio (69) 0-1.

Millwall (4-4-2): Gueret; Muscat, Lawrence, Ward, Ryan; Ifill, Wise, Cahill, Livermore (Sweeney, 70); Dichio, Harris (Braniff, 62). Substitutes not used: Marshall (gk), McCammon, Roberts.

Burnley (4-4-2): Jensen; Roche (Chadwick, 77), McGregor (A Moore, 85), May, Camara; Little, Chaplow, Grant, Wood; I Moore, Blake (Weller, 62). Substitutes not used: Rachubka (gk), Orr.

Referee: H Webb (S Yorks).

Bookings: Millwall: Dichio, Wise. Burnley: Grant, Wood. Sending off: Burnley: Weller.

Man of the match: Jensen.

Attendance: 10,420.