Webber has a hand in defeat

QPR 1 Wilson pen 90 Millwall 0 Attendance: 16,457
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The Independent Online
THE sort of bitter disappointment that players dread and some potential troublemakers might have used as an excuse befell Millwall yesterday. An inexplicable handball by Damian Webber in the 90th minute led to QPR's Clive Wilson converting a penalty against the previously unbeatable Kasey Keller.

More than anywhere this week, with the scourge of hooliganism reappearing, Loftus Road had the potential to become a magnet for ironheads seeking trouble. The combination of another visit to west London by Millwall and Chelsea's blank Saturday put everyone on alert, not least the 300 police in and around the ground.

But, despite the last-minute disappointment, there was no trouble in the ground when 20 police on horses appeared on the pitch at the end.

Millwall would have been two down in 15 minutes but for Keller. He stubbornly blocked a near-post drive from Kevin Gallen, then wonderfully deflected a vicious shot from Simon Barker.

The Ferdinand-Gallen understanding is developing into a rare partnership, but Millwall had a range of interesting improvisations of their own, including a free-kick that Ben Thatcher stepped over for Mark Kennedy to hit a shot that Tony Roberts cleverly turned away.

Tony Witter's ability to keep Ferdinand from imposing much authority at the head of the QPR attack probably had something to do with him spending four years at Loftus Road, where he often vied with Ferdinand to be the top sprinter. Yesterday it was Keller who was Millwall's champion. When Ferdinand finally managed to rise above Witter and headed firmly towards the inside of the post, Keller dived across to tip the ball away.

With increasing urgency QPR tried to reach Gallen and Ferdinand, but even when they did, Keller frustrated them. In the 70th minute a quick QPR counter-attack ended with Gallen's instant shot. But the on-rushing Keller dropped on to it as confidently as he had the others. Keller's remarkable performance almost rewarded Millwall in the 82nd minute when Andy Roberts's 20-yard shot through a crowded penalty area slammed against the post.

Though perhaps it would not have been fair for Millwall to have snatched victory, they more than deserved their 88th-minute stroke of luck when, from a perfect Andrew Impey cross, Ferdinand could not get sufficient power on his header.

However in the 90th minute Millwall's good fortune was nullified when, from another Impey cross, Webber almost involuntarily thrust up a hand and Clive Wilson smacked in the penalty.