Millwall leave Leicester rueing their profligacy

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The Independent Online
Millwall 1 Leicester City 1

Martin O'Neill's hopes of securing his first win since succeeding Mark McGhee in the Leicester hot-seat ended in cold frustration at the New Den yesterday.

Millwall, despite trailing to a well-taken goal against superior opponents, reorganised themselves and raised their game sufficiently to steal a draw, which did little for either sides' promotion ambitions.

On a chilly, damp and misty afternoon, it was hardly a just outcome and O'Neill had every reason to bemoan the failings of his forwards, who threw away a series of clear openings.

Millwall, searching for their first win in nine games, barely deserved a point, although there was much never-say-die spirit about their second- half offensive. Harry Cripps, the defender who embodied the club's spirit and who died last week, was remembered with a minute's silence before the start and would have had no complaints.

Even when finding their touch deserting them, Millwall played positively and in pursuit of a victory, but a ragged and error-strewn performance punctuated by six bookings left their manager, Mick McCarthy, with little to enjoy.

Leicester controlled the opening period with ease. Mike Whitlow created a good opening after 19 minutes, but both Emile Heskey and Iwan Roberts failed to make contact and this set the tone.

Scott Taylor missed from close range two minutes later and Leicester wobbled for a period as it seemed they could not score. But with only seconds remaining before the interval, the Australian midfielder, Steve Corica, put them ahead with his second goal of the season and the first since returning from a broken leg. It was well conceived and taken, Corica playing a one-two off Whitlow before planting a firm shot beyond the Millwall goalkeeper, Kasey Keller.

Millwall copied Leicester's 5-3-2 system after the break and it paid off as they gained more possession. They drew level after 65 minutes when Chris Malkin headed in powerfully at the far post from a Bobby Bowry cross for his ninth goal of the season. They pressed hard for a winner, but Leicester, exploiting the gaps they left at the back, should really have won comfortably.

Their counter-attacking supplied Roberts, Taylor and substitutes Julian Joachim and David Lowe with easy chances which were wasted. Lowe's miss, from close range, was the worst, but typified Leicester's wanton approach towards their finishing.

Millwall (4-4-2): Keller; Newman, Webber, Witter, Thatcher; Lavin, Berry (Taylor, 66), Rae, Bowry; Malkin, Dixon (Fuchs, 87). Substitute not used: Forbes.

Leicester City (5-3-2): Poole; Grayson, Rolling, Hill, Walsh, Whitlow; Taylor, Parker, Corica (Lowe, 84); Heskey (Joachim, 73), Roberts. Substitute not used: Robins.

Referee: N Barry (Scunthorpe).