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Match Report: Millwall 2-2 Crawley Town (1-4 on pens) (Millwall Fan's Perspective)

Wednesday 15th August 2012
Millwall were dumped out of the Capital One Cup on penalties as Crawley Town progressed to the second round. This was the first time that Millwall had been knocked out of the cup by lower league opposition for nine years, but the visitors fully deserved their victory in what was Richie Barker's first competitive game in charge.

The League One new-boys made a bright start with former Lion Gary Alexander teeing up Billy Clarke just inside the area, but his shot drifted wide of the target. Millwall's James Henry then tested Paul Jones from a free-kick which the goalkeeper palmed into the path of Liam Trotter, but a poor touch saw the ball go out of play.

Crawley broke the deadlock after 16 minutes from a corner as Hope Akpan's guided header flew past Maik Taylor in the Millwall goal. Their advantage was short lived however, as the Lions levelled courtesy of a Darren Ward header from Liam Feeney's cross. The latter then had a half-chance as his strike from just outside the box flew wide of the post.

The sides went in at half-time with the scores level, but Millwall started the second period brightly. Henry's lofted ball found Darius Henderson at the far post, he knocked it down towards debutant Chris Taylor who couldn't latch onto the pass.

Crawley soon took the lead for a second time as Millwall were caught on the break. Nicky Adams cut inside and curled the ball into the top corner from 25 yards, leaving Millwall keeper Maik Taylor helpless. The home side then made two changes, bringing on Danny Shittu, who recently re-signed for the club, and Shaun Batt on the hour-mark.

Alexander thought he'd made it 3-1 to the visitors when he drilled the ball straight past Taylor following a squared pass, but fortunately for Millwall he was offside. Batt almost made an immediate impact as his close-range effort was saved and Scott Malone's follow-up was cleared off the line. Henderson then had two gilt-edge opportunites to level the scores, but his diving header from Henry's corner and a left-footed strike just inside the area failed to even test Jones in the Crawley goal.

Crawley couldn't hang on any longer as substitute Batt rifled his shot into the far corner six minutes from time to the delight of the home support, with his first goal in over two years.

The scores remained level after 90 minutes as both sides went into extra-time trying to find a winner. Henderson thought he'd won it for Millwall but his effort was ruled out following a foul on Kyle McFadzean. Arguably Crawley's best chance came from substitute John Akinde in the second period of extra-time. The striker latched onto a long ball and brushed off the challenge of Shittu in the area, only to fire his shot high and wide with just the keeper to beat. Henderson had yet another chance to win it in the dying minutes, but saw his shot fly past the post following Malone's diagonal pass.

The game went into penalties. Millwall missed their first two spot-kicks through Henderson and Jack Smith, both saved easily by Jones. The visitors converted their first three penalties with ease, with Liam Trotter the only scorer for the Lions. After three penalties each, Crawley were 3-1 up. David Hunt thumped his penalty home to make it 4-1, sending Millwall crashing out of the Capital One Cup.

Both teams turn their attentions to their respective league seasons starting on Saturday. Millwall are at home to Blackpool in the Championship, while Crawley play host to Scunthorpe in their first game in League One.
Liam O'Connor
Liam O'Connor is a Millwall fan through thick and thin. Since supporting the Lions he's experienced promotions, relegations, play-off success and heartache, he's even witnessed the club's first ever FA Cup final! His favourite Millwall player of all-time is Tim Cahill, the man who scored the winning goal at Old Trafford in the FA Cup semi-final back in 2004. Aside from football, Liam is in his first year as a sixth-form student at Coopers Technology College in Kent. He has a passion for journalism and has a number of projects on the go such as blogs, match reports and write-ups based on Millwall and football in general. Follow Liam on Twitter @MFC_Liam

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