Neill tips balance

Millwall 2 (Newman 70, Neill 79) Burnley 1 (Nogan 75) Att endance: 9,281
Click to follow
You know you are approaching the Lions' Den when you pass under the bridge on which is scrawled "God bless Harry Cripps". The late full- back epitomised the Millwall fans' idea of a macho legend although, against Burnley the man who currently fills 'Arry's No 3 shirt demonstrated the class and skill levels that new manager Jimmy Nicholl seeks to establish as the footballing culture for south-east London.

Eighteen-year-old Australian Lucas Neill electrified the New Den with a second-half performance of what is now known as wing-back play that was climaxed by the winning goal 10 minutes from time.

Burnley edged a first half lit up by both sides' determination to play the ball on the ground. Marlon Beresford in the Burnley goal was seldom troubled while Kurt Nogan, left to play the lone ranger in the visitors' attack, caused enough trouble to force two good saves from Tim Carter.

The Lions lost their midfield engine, Dave Savage, injured after only 15 minutes. His replacement, Maurice Doyle, may have matched him in vision but Savage's running power was sorely missed until Neill stepped into the breach. A minute from half-time he eased past David Eyres only to see Beresford beat out his shot.

Neill began the second half as he had finished the first, forcing Beresford to another good save and soon after Chris Malkin out-jumped the Burnley goalkeeper only to see his header sail wide.

After all the thoughtful football failed to produce a goal, a lucky break in the 70th minute succeeded. Millwall substitute Tony Dolby's shot spun off a Burnley defender straight to Ricky Newman who had crept into the penalty area. His volley flew past Beresford .

Burnley's response was swift. In the 76th minute Nogan headed a simple equaliser after Carter had flapped weakly at Eyres' throw-in. Ten minutes from time Neill strode towards the Burnley box, stepped wide of two tackles and pulled the ball to his left foot to waft the perfect shot wide of the diving goalkeeper.