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Nationwide League Division Two Millwall v WYCOMBE
Saturday 8th January
Division Two
It was a tale of two strikers on Saturday as Wycombe picked up their first ever point at The New Den with a 1-1 draw against promotion chasing Millwall. Wycombe's top scorer Sean Devine opened the scoring on 13 minutes when he was first to react to a knock down from Dave Carroll's left wing corner but Millwall's hotshot Neil Harris levelled the scores on the stroke of half-time with an almost mirror image goal. Wycombe played the last third of the match with ten men after Jason Cousins was shown his second yellow card for a trip on Harris but a resilient Wyombe defence held firm and there were chances for substitute Jermaine McSporran and the cavalier Matt Lawrence to steal all three points.
Before the game Lawrie Sanchez had the luxury of an almost fully fit and suspension free squad. Andy Baird and Steve Brown returned into the starting line-up after their one match bans for the 3-0 victory over Chesterfield. It was, however, too early for the return of Paul McCarthy who played a full ninety minutes for the reserves in the midweek B&B victory against Chesham United.
Urged on by their third highest League gate of the season, Millwall begun the stronger side with Harris, Paul Ifill and Tim Cahill the dangermen. In the fourth minute Harris saw a shot creep just inches wide of Martin Taylor's right-hand post while three minutes later a Cahill header went wide on the opposite side after Ricky Newman had got the better of Brown and Vinnicombe. Wycombe came to life in the 12th minute when a 20 yard plus effort from Brown was tipped over by Tony Warner in The Lions goal. From the resulting corner Ryan and Bates combined to set-up Devine and stun the home fans (they weren't too impressed with the Ali G celebration either!). Harris shot straight at Taylor on 18 minutes but severe pressure from the home side ended on 20 minutes when Steven Reid curled a free-kick yards over the Wycombe bar. Reid also made a hash of another free-kick on 29 minutes after Jason Cousins was pulled up for shirt pulling. Jamie Bates could have increased Wycombe's after 31 minutes a Carroll corner fell to Jamie Bates but he failed to convert. Reid had time to miss again after 41 minutes when he side footed wide of the target from eight yards but just when it seemed that Wycombe would go into the break ahead, the last minute hoodoo struck again. Ifill sent in a corner from the right and Cahill's sweeping was helped into the net by the head of Harris waiting unmarked at the far post.
Half-time 1-1
Wycombe's game plan was disrupted after the dismissal of Cousins. 'Couz' was booked in the 52nd minute for a trip on Reid and was made made to pay the ultimate penalty when his consistent foul play was finally penalised with a second yellow card for a trip on Harris. Moments earlier the writing was on the wall when a high challenge earned a talking to from referee Mick Fletcher. With Cousins down the tunnel, Sanchez sent on Mark Rogers for Brown but the master stroke came on 74 minutes when McSporran replaced Devine. Wycombe finished the game playing one-up front with Baird dropping back to midfield. McSporran had a glorious chance to score on 78 minutes when he cantered down the left but his final shot was not enough to get past Warner. With seven minutes left McSporran was pulled back by Scott Fitzgerald as he closed in on goal but with a another Millwall player in cover the colour of the card was yellow. Dannie Bulman replaced Baird in the dying minutes and almost immediately he broke down the right wing before swinging in a cross that fell to a charging Matt Lawrence but the move had no fairy tale ending when 'Matty' pulled the shot wide. Lions' substitute Paul Moody also had the best chances to win the game for the home side. In the final minute he crashed a shot against Taylor's right hand post after turning in the box but with the scores still level after four minutes of stoppage time it was probably a fair result.
Speaking after the game Lawrie Sanchez said "In the end we had the better chances to win the game" He went on to say "We're turning into a nice solid team but we need a little more up front"
Final Score Millwall 1 Wycombe 1
Wycombe Team:Taylor, Lawrence, Vinnicombe, Cousins, Bates, Brown (sub 63 Rogers), Simpson, Ryan, Carroll, Devine (sub 74 McSporran), Baird (sub 86 Bulman) not used Westhead and Senda Att:8,945

Click here for Carling Opta StatsNeil Harris v Sean Devine pre-match
Head to Head stats from Carling Opta

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