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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 06 Apr 13 at 17:17 PM

Blues 1 Millwall 1

Blues and Millwall claimed a point apiece on Saturday afternoon at St. Andrew’s.

Wes Thomas fired his side into the lead just after half-time, but Chris Taylor struck back for the visitors on 70 minutes.

Lee Clark was forced to make one change to his to starting XI. Shane Ferguson missed out because of illness and his place was taken by Jonathan Spector, following the American midfielder's recovery from an ankle injury.

The match kicked off with the pitch bathed in sunshine. Following a scrappy opening, Wes Thomas went close to breaking the deadlock after just four minutes.

The striker cut inside before curling a left-footed shot towards the far corner, but Millwall keeper David Forde was equal to it and produced a diving save to push the ball away.
 
Forde was in action again just two minutes later when he tipped Nathan Redmond’s well-struck free kick over the bar.

A great piece of individual skill by Redmond saw the young winger beat three players before firing a teasing cross into the box. Nikola Zigic headed the ball back across the goalmouth to Ravel Morrison, but the midfielder was unable to keep his volleyed effort down and it flew just over the bar.

The game was subject to major controversy on 18 minutes after Chris Taylor bundled the ball into the back of the Blues net. The assistant referee rightly flagged for offside but the referee initially overruled him before changing his mind following several minutes of dialogue between the pair of them.

With 35 minutes gone, Thomas met Paul Caddis’s cross with a powerful volley. The forward’s thumping attempt looked to be heading into the back of the net, before Forde managed to get his left fist to it and turn it away.

Millwall were making the odd foray forward, but were struggling to find a decent final ball with which to really test the Blues defence.

With the break approaching Spector’s afternoon was brought to a premature end after he injured his ankle in a challenge and he was stretchered off the pitch. Teenager Callum Reilly was sent on as his replacement.

Half-time: Blues 0 Millwall 0

Just 38 seconds after the restart Morrison broke through the Millwall back-line and tested Forde with a stinging effort, which the Millwall stopper did well to push the ball away.

Blues finally got the goal their earlier play had deserved when they took the lead on 49 minutes. Morrison slid the ball into Thomas, who then swivelled past his marker before sliding a low ball past Forde and into the corner of the net.

Clark’s men were not content to just sit on their lead and were continuing to press on in search of a second goal

Just before the hour mark Millwall lost Richard Chaplow through injury, with Martyn Woolford introduced in his place.

With the match entering its final quarter, Millwall began to press Blues back on a regular basis and with 70 minutes on the clock they were rewarded with an equaliser.

Rob Hulse crossed the ball from the left into the Blues penalty area, where Taylor found himself in plenty of space before lashing the ball past Jack Butland.

The visitors’ went desperately close to taking the lead minutes later when Sean St. Ledger saw his fierce header rebound back off Butland’s bar, with the Blues keeper beaten.

Millwall were really in the ascendancy now and the Blues defence were looking extremely shaky.

Blues boss Clark made his first tactical change of the afternoon when he introduced 17-year-old Koby Arthur for Wade Elliott after 78 minutes.

Unfortunately it was not enough to turn the tide back in Blues favour and they had to settle for the draw.

Full-time: Blues 1 Millwall 1

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