Match Details: 28/12/2008
Millwall 1-1 Yeovil Town
Coca Cola League One
Yeovil Goals: Luke Rodgers (37)
Yeovil Line-Up: 4. Terry Skiverton, 6. Terrell Forbes, 9. Andy Welsh, 10. Gavin Tomlin, 11. Danny Schofield, 12. Craig Alcock, 13. Josh Wagenaar, 15. Luke Rodgers, 17. Aidan Downes, 27. Lee Peltier, 28. Nathan Smith
Subs: 3. Nathan Jones, 18. Keiran Murtagh, 19. Andre McCollin, 22. Jordan Street, 23. Aaron Brown,
Substitutes Used: Andre McCollin for Gavin Tomlin (90 mins)
Bookings: Lee Peltier (Foul, 34)
Yeovil Town claimed a share of the points today at the New Den with an impressive display against a promotion-chasing Millwall side. Despite the worst possible start, that saw David Martin's corner flicked home by Paul Robinson with just three minutes gone, the Glovers gradually worked their way back from a difficult opening period. By the time Luke Rodgers produced an outstanding finish eight minutes from the break, Yeovil were well on top, with Rodgers having landed the ball in the net earlier only to be denied by a linesman's flag. After the break Yeovil were just as impressive, but couldn't quite come home with the three points they so richly deserved.
The Glovers went into the match suffering a pre-match blow in that not only had Paul Warne not recovered from his Christmas illness, midfielder Gary Roberts had come down with the same, and with Darren Way and Marc Bircham representing long term midfield absentees, the Glovers overloaded their midfield with a trio of attacking players, with the notion that Lee Peltier would provide the sole anchor position.
The start was not what they needed though. Millwall forced a series of early corners, and from a third consecutive attempt, David Martin's ball into the box was met by the faintest of flicks by Paul Robinson, with Glovers keeper Josh Wagenaar having over-committed himself for the ball.
The first 20 minutes were difficult to say the least, with Millwall attacking in waves, and the Glovers looking tentative and with a tendency to stand off the ball and let the Lions come at them. A difficult afternoon seemed inevitable with shots from Nadjim Abdou, Neil Harris and Gary Alexander all keeping Yeovil on the back foot, with Alexander's shot producing an excellent save from Wagenaar.
Yeovil took until almost the midway point of the first half to have their first shot, and even that was a wild off-target effort from Aidan Downes. But it served to settle the players down and the pendulum gradually swung the other way. A sublime passing move involving Danny Schofield, saw Gavin Tomlin put through on goal, and as his shot squeezed under keeper David Forde, it looked like an equalising goal, particularly when Luke Rodgers bundled the ball over the line as a Millwall defender charged in to try and hack the ball clear. Unfortunately a linesman's flag went up at the far end to the travelling Yeovil contingent, silencing the celebrations. Rodgers got the ball in the net a second time within five minutes, lobbing Forde on this occasion, although in fairness to the Millwall keeper, he seemed to be as aware as Rodgers was that another offside flag would chalk it off.
With eight minutes before the break though, there was absolutely no doubt about Yeovil's equalising goal. A throw-in from the right-flank was taken by Craig Alcock into the path of Lee Peltier. His near post pass to Luke Rodgers produced an emphatic finish - a turn-and-shoot move that cut across the face of Forde's goal and into the bottom far corner for an outstanding goal.
The second period saw Millwall briefly threaten when Adam Bolder's effort clipped the top of Yeovil's crossbar. But the Glovers were matching them, with Gavin Tomlin producing an angled cross-cum-shot that deceived Forde in the Millwall goal, as it struck the back post, struck a Millwall defender and narrowly ricocheted back just wide of the goal post.
Millwall were finding it increasingly difficult to cope with Yeovil's passing and movement, with the front five players all interchanging fluently, occasionally joined by Terry Skiverton at set pieces, and by surges from left-back Nathan Smith. The former Potters Bar left-back's positional sense whilst defending may often look raw, but his forward surges are Arsenalesque at times, and at one point the only way they could stop him was through a dreadful tackle by Paul Robinson - deservedly one of four Lions bookings on the day.
Andy Welsh's looping header landed on top of the goal frame, Luke Rodgers had a shot blocked by Forde's legs as he twisted between two Millwall defenders. As the game reached its conclusion, Gavin Tomlin's stretching header almost won it, but if anything the direction was too good, landing in the grateful arms of David Forde. The Glovers deserved all three points, but they couldn't quite get them.
Millwall's occasional surges made for some jangled nerves in injury time, but if they had grabbed a late winner it would have been daylight robbery. This was Yeovil at their spirited best, with some great passing and movement once they had shrugged off the nightmarish start and the opening pressure from the home side. The lack of a target man meant Yeovil still looked a little lightweight up front, but Gavin Tomlin's best game for several weeks ensured that Gifton Noel-Williams wasn't missed too much, and the overall effort and endeavour of the side shows how much the players want to climb clear of the relegation slots. More performances like this afternoon, and they need not fear visits from Scunthorpe and Leicester that are coming their way in January.
Final Score: Millwall 1 Yeovil Town 1.
Scorers: Paul Robinson (3 mins, 1-0), Luke Rodgers (37 mins, 1-1)
1. David Forde
7. Alan Dunne 6. Zak Whitbread 5. Paul Robinson 26. Nadjim Abdou
12. Chris Hackett 8. Gary Alexander 32. Adam Bolder 21. David Martin
9. Neil Harris 16. Scott Barron
40. Lenny Pidgeley (GK) 17. Tresor Kandol (70 mins for Neil Harris) 19. Ashley Grimes (53 mins for Chris Hackett) 22. Ali Fuseini 24. Marc Laird (82 mins for David Martin)
Yeovil Town: (4-1-3-2)
13. Josh Wagenaar
12. Craig Alcock 6. Terrell Forbes 4. Terry Skiverton 28. Nathan Smith
27. Lee Peltier
17. Aidan Downes 11. Danny Schofield 9. Andrew Welsh
15. Luke Rodgers 10. Gavin Tomlin
3. Nathan Jones 18. Kieran Murtagh 19. Andre McCollin (90 mins for Gavin Tomlin) 22. Jordan Street 23. Aaron Brown
Millwall Bookings: Adam Bolder (57 mins, foul), Scott Barron (66 mins, dissent), David Forde (74 mins, dissent), Paul Robinson (74 mins, foul)
Yeovil Bookings: Lee Peltier (34 mins, foul)
Referee: James Linington (Isle of Wight). Assistants: John Busby (Oxfordshire) and Mike George (Norfolk). Fourth Official: Ian Bentley (Kent).
Attendance: 9,042 (including approx 350 Yeovil fans)