Woolford and Malone goals enough for Millwall victory...
MILLWALL 2 (Woolford 65, Malone 76), UNITED 0.
Millwall: Forde, Dunne, Shittu, Robinson, Trotter, Easter (Martin 49), Bailey, Woolford, Abdou, Malone, Waghorn (Keogh 81). Subs. Bywater, Connolly, Derry, Chaplow, Osbourne.
United: Kenny, Peltier, Pearce, Wootton, Warnock (Green 80), Austin, Murphy, Mowatt, Tonge (Byram 69), McCormack, Varney (Smith 69). Subs. Cairns, Diouf, Hunt, Poleon.
Referee: C Foy
Booked: Martin (Millwall), Warnock (Leeds)
Att: 13,063 (2,081)
United manager Brian McDermott recalled Lee Peltier to the starting line, after recovering from injury, for the trip to Millwall.
In the midfield there was a return for Luke Murphy and after an impressive display in midweek at Premier League Newcastle United Alex Mowatt was handed his first appearance in the Championship for the club.
During the opening minutes it was clear to see that Brian McDermott was utilising a different attacking system. Luke Varney was playing the lone frontman with Mowatt, Ross McCormack and Michael Tonge supporting him from behind.
United had a chance early on when skipper Rudy Austin latched onto a mistimed a pass in the Millwall midfield. He broke forward at pace and his shot went just wide of the left hand post.
The opening 25 minutes of the clash brought very little goal mouth action with a scrappy encounter the theme. United enjoyed more of the possession playing some nice passing football without never really threatening David Forde in the home goal.
Although United were playing the better football it was the home side that struck the post with the half hour mark approaching. Martyn Waghorn capitalised after a poor clearance gave him an opportunity to strike at goal but the striker could only watch his shot rebound of Paddy Kenny's post.
Great work from Varney on the right hand brought up United's next chance of the game on 37 minutes. The striker played the ball along the edge of the penalty area for the onrushing Murphy who could only watch as his shot went agonisingly over the bar. Moments later Varney went for the spectacular but his overhead kick also went over the crossbar.
United survived a penalty shot from the home support in the dying minutes of the first half when Austin chased back Scott Malone into the area. The midfielder just nicked the ball in front of the defender as Chris Foy waved the appeals away.
There was still time for one final effort on the home goal in injury time. Jason Pearce got on the end of a McCormack cut-back but the defender skied his attempt over the bar while under pressure.
United had a chance to take the lead just only three minutes of the second period played. Mowatt wriggled free of a number of challenges on the left hand side to cross for McCormack whose glanced effort skimmed the outside of the post.
The second half looked like a mirror image of the first with the scrappy affair continuing. On 65 minutes great passing play by Millwall substitute Lee Martin allowed Martyn Woolford time in front of goal. The winger's curling effort beat Kenny and hit the back of the net.
The United manager reacted to going behind by introducing Sam Byram and Matt Smith to proceedings. Tonge and Varney were the men to leave the field for the replacements. The change in personnel meant a role up top for McCormack who joined Smith to make a two man attack. Byram went out to the right side of midfield to provide an attacking threat insteaad of his usual right back position.
The changes did not have the desired effect for United, though, as the home side doubled their lead in the 76th minutes when good play left Malone free in the area, he coolly slotted the ball past Kenny to make it 2-0.
United responded well to Millwall's second of the afternoon when McCormack struck from distance but Forde managed to punch the ball away from the danger zone.
Just moments later a great save from Kenny prevented the home side going even further in ahead. Then less than a minute later United were close to getting one back when good pressure from McCormack and Byram nearly brought an own goal from the home side.
With seven minutes remaining brave goalkeeping from Forde kept United goalless. McCormack opened up his body well to create the space and he then played in the advancing Austin but the Millwall keeper rushed to his feet and blocked the attempt.
Minutes later it was the home side on the attack on the break as United went in search of a foot hold in the game. Woolford was one-on-one with Kenny but after he chose to chip the United keeper, his attempt came back of the post.