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No-one likes you, and you lost.

Nottingham Forest – 3
Millwall FC – 1

Forest today registered their first win over Millwall at the City Ground for some 16 years – I hadn’t realised they were quite as much of a bogey team as they apparently are. They are one of very few teams, like Leicester, who I think the world would be better without them existing – as we watched the fans gather in the Lower Bridgford stand, the proportion of male fans of 25 and upwards that follow Millwall was quite phenominal. Perhaps it isn’t surprising, given their well-earned reputation.

The stewards however, seemed more interested in ejected home supporters – a lad behind us was removed, as was his family, because apparently he commited the heinous act of getting a bit carried away at Millmoor last week and spilled onto the pitch in a touch of youthful exuberance. Meanwhile the knuckle-draggers from Saaf Landan below us seemingly could do no wrong, as they piled into the away section which didn’t seem prepared to deal with the number who turned up on the day.

It wasn’t long before the southerners were celebrating; some still queuing on the steps trying to get in, when Danny Cullip oddly allowed Ben May to win the ball from him, and so have a clear run at Paul Smith in the Forest goal – who he beat to put the Lions one nil up. Forest looked reasonable going forward, although Lenny Pidgeley – Millwall’s unconventional keeper – seemed able to confound any efforts we had – including bizarrely winning a freekick when Wes Morgan didn’t touch him.

All in all though, Forest were not particularly effective, and Millwall were good for their lead when half time arrived – they’d hit the bar from a corner, and generally had our defence looking uncharacteristically shaky. Danny Cullip in particular was noticeably off the pace, a player who we’ve relied on for his consistency – he was anything but consistent today. We did have chances though, Commons just missed from range, Agogo was through and had an effort just wide, and particularly toward the end of the half Forest showed vague signs of improving.

I’m sure if you look around match reports, the phrase “game of two halves” will be used on more than one occasion, and this certainly was one of those. Forest came out of the blocks much better in the second half, with a Harris attempt blocked, and Perch’s effort on the rebound put out for a corner. A brilliant block by Wes Morgan prevented Darren Byfield doubling Millwall’s lead, and it was shortly after this that Cullip pulled up with what looked like a hamstring injury.

Nathan Tyson was to enter the fray – and it speaks volumes for our formation that we can take off a centreback for a striker and not really change our shape. Harris was pushed back into Curtis’s midfield slot, and Curtis back into defence. Forest continued to press but it was starting to look a frustrating afternoon, until finally the breakthrough came when Agogo burst through the centre, and controlled a difficult bobbling ball to put it past Pidgeley to give Forest the equaliser they had worked so hard for.

With Millwall still on the ropes, Commons crossed into a crowded area where James Perch was on hand to put it in with his knee! Despite an attempted goal-line clearance, the City Ground was relieved to see the linesman flag for a goal and duly erupted in noise, enjoying the obvious discomfort of the meat-heads in the away end. With 15 minutes left on the clock Grant Holt was introduced for Kris Commons, and was given a raucous round of applause from Forest fans still bemused by us almost selling him to Bristol City.

By this point the Forest fans were mimicking the Millwall fans’ “Joey” chant (as we called it), which basically involves them yelling moronically in a continuous drone – or, as my neighbour put it, “they sound like a thousand retarded Blakey’s from On The Buses!” – which is about the best way I can think of to describe it! It was quite entertaining, but then it was also strangely hypnotic, and I think it might be part of the reason that Millwall has such a large moron-quotient amongst their followers.

The game was put beyond a doubt with around 8 minutes remaining, a Southall corner whipped in with pace was flicked by Breckin whose header looped in just off the post to make it three one – Breckin had at that point had an effort saved, and cleared off the line – so he will certainly be relieved to have finally breached the Millwall goal! From this point on we were in complete control, and were unlucky not to add to our lead as Millwall went all out to attack, rather badly! Agogo burst through and where a square ball to an in-the-clear Grant might’ve been better, he went on and appears to have injured himself as a result.

Agogo was off and with us using all our subs – Gary Holt coming on for Neil Harris earlier – so we finished the game with 10 men, and frankly, it’s all we needed – whilst Millwall had started the game well, this was more down to our bad performance I think – I can see why they’re struggling in the league! Half the away end had long since emptied by this point, presumably to go and look for like-minded (or lack-of-minded) people to ruck with, but heading back to the car there was no sign of any trouble, although a wait down at the Lady Bay Bridge steps whilst the police escorted a tribe of leering Neanderthals back to the station.

So we’re still six points clear of Scunthorpe, we’re still top of the league, and we’re still having a laugh! And we’ve broken a 16 year hoodoo, back in January 1990 we beat them 3-1 – with Laws, Hodge and Clough on the scoresheet. That season, of course, we won some silverware (the league cup), and Millwall were relegated… here’s hoping there will be further elements of little pieces of history repeating themselves!

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