When you travel as well as Millwall have this season, even a two-goal deficit away to a Premiership club need not be too disturbing, and the First Division side shrugged off the inconvenience to eliminate Everton from the Coca-Cola Cup with goals and class to spare.
Millwall found a makeshift hero in Scott Taylor, a 19-year-old more than paying off his pounds 15,000 fee to non-League club Staines with an inspired evening's work.
Everton can claim, with justification, that Earl Barrett's challenge on Taylor, midway through the second half of normal time, scarcely merited the penalty which presented Millwall with their equaliser, but they can have no complaints about their fate. Taylor's enterprise, mobility and potency characterised Millwall's play. He was brought on just before half- time, for the injured Ben Thatcher, scored his team's first goal and, 10 minutes from the end of extra time, dispatched the decisive third.
Everton, bereft of key personnel because of injury, had neither the wit not resilience to constrain a side strutting with the confidence born of an unbeaten away record this season. Their crisp, precise exchanges destabilised the home defence. If they were surprised not to be ahead by half-time, then they must have been mystified to find themselves two down within 10 minutes of the restart.
Tony Witter lost his concentration at a throw-in and Jason Van Blerk, withdrawn to full-back following Thatcher's departure, was hurried into a tackle that sent Anders Limpar sprawling. Andy Hinchcliffe converted the penalty. Graham Stuart scuffed a shot as a second beckoned but made amends, calmly beating Kasey Keller from Paul Rideout's flicked header.
Millwall declined to accept the seemingly inevitable. Taylor punished Everton's uncertainty in the 64th minute. Then in the 67th he made the run that produced the controversial penalty decision by the referee, Mike Reed, and Alex Rae equalised.
Taylor's turn and strike put Millwall ahead for the first time and Dave Savage's mazy run and shot, in time added on, compounded Everton's dismay. The home side trudged to the dressing-room pursued by the derision of the crowd but their manager, Joe Royle, said: "One decision has costs us a fortune and put us under more pressure. Only one man thought it was a penalty, unfortunately the wrong man."
Millwall's manager, Mick McCarthy, said: "If that penalty decision had been given against me I would have been very disappointed. But there were one or two strange happenings tonight."
Everton (4-4-2): Southall; Jackson (Unsworth, 87), Short, Barrett, Ablett; Limpar, Horne, Grant, Hinchcliffe; Stuart (Barlow, 78), Rideout. Substitute not used: Kearton (gk).
Millwall (4-4-2): Keller; Newman, Witter, Stevens, Thatcher (Taylor, 41); Savage, Bowry, Rae, Van Blerk; Fuchs (Dixon, 98), Malkin (Webber, 94).
Referee: M Reed (Birmingham).
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