Hard earned point ‘gainst the ‘Wall

Strange match last Saturday. Looking back at the highlights backed up my memory of the first half – ie. what actually happened? According to the extended highlights – nothing at all. I seem to remember a lot of time wasting, starting from the 3rd minute. Oh well, after a poor start, Millwall came to do a stifling job and with 90 minutes approaching, it looked like they would achieve the added bonus of all 3 points.

I will ignore the first half, although I suspect Garcia won’t. It must be a concern that his team could not shake off the shackles of Millwall’s heavy-handed approach to the game. Tiredness was evident and we certainly struggled, although we did look to be the stronger side and the more likely to score.

But of course that means nothing in football and Millwall scored a very nice goal following their best period of the match following the half time break. In a move that swept from back to front and right to left, finishing with a sweet finish to the far corner by Martin Woolford with Greer’s desperate slide just a fraction of a second too late to make what would have been a fantastic block.

This was the catalyst to shake things up a bit and the rather lack-lustre Spanish Dave made way for Kazenga Lua Lua who straight from the off looked well up for it. His first touch led to a trademark shimmy and blasted shot. Millwall knew they had something new to think about.

Rohan Ince who has performed admirably in the absence of Bridcutt made way for Kevin Andrews and  this sparked another comeback star, Orlandi, to produce some of his best form. Suddenly we were more creative and creating more chances. An incredible piece of skill from Orlandi led to Alan Dunne bringing him down and this added to an earlier yellow for pulling up an armchair and checking the racing results before taking a throw-in meant he had to go.

Ulloa saw a headed goal from an Orlandi free kick scratched off. Who would be a ref? Ulloa’s look of utter incomprehension at the decision and almost childlike innocence of any wrong-doing. Meanwhile, the millwall defender he had shoved just before he got to the ball was removing himself from the lap of a Southstander!

The crowd were now right up for this in a way that usually only Burnley can manage. Chance after chance was squandered, the closest of which included a drive from Crofts that just crept wide and an air kick from Buckley that seemed a certain goal. But a corner in the 89th minute from Orlandi, which was cleared at the near post was worked back round to Kaz who did what Kaz does and burst past the full back and drove a low hard cross that went through everyone until it was met by Ulloa who finished expertly through several bodies from 8 yards. He made the finish look so easy – true class.

The last 5 minutes of injury time were frantic, with a shot cleared off the Millwall line and a curling effort from Orlandi just drifting wide. Another home draw with Millwall.

A match that ended with such excitement, most forgot the turgidity of the first half. This work in progress that is Albion under Garcia is a great prospect. The international break is a welcome opportunity for the walking wounded to get back into contention. Roll on Reading!



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