Having knocked premiership team Bournemouth out of the FA Cup 3-0 in round 3. Millwall found themselves drawn at home again this time playing against Watford. Could Millwall do the same again, this time to another premiership team? Sitting in 10th place in league 1 to those that bet Millwall were clearly the underdogs for this game. Which make this completion a wonderful event as in these games the underdogs can cause an upset! For Millwall this was VB Day – Victory in Bermondsey Day – Not only could fans celebrate the club’s escape from a compulsory purchase order to redevelop the surrounding area that threatened their existence in this part of London. They had an FA Cup game being broadcast live on BBC1. So far it had been a great week and a victory on the pitch in this game would without doubt make every Lions fan roar! And roar they did!
The midday kick off meant an early start to the game for myself. Upon walking down Zampa Road at 09:15 I was shocked to see I wasn’t the first to arrive! The concourse was already heaving with fans, queuing for their match tickets or hanging around the player’s entrance trying to grab a selfie or autograph of their idols. The photographer area sits on the second floor of the Barry Kitchener stand and lugging a case up the narrow stairs is quite a work out. Once in the photographer’s area I couldn’t believe there was hardly an empty sit to be seen. Journalists typing away, photographers setting up their gear. It was a bit too overcrowded for me so I chose to take me gear pitch side, early and to get myself prepared for the game ahead outside in the drizzle.
As kick off approached and the ground started to fil up the atmosphere started to increase to a much higher level than my previous visit. Mainly due to the Magic of this the FA Cup.
As the home team Millwall started the game well and the early chances fell to Millwall who played with great togetherness and showed the desire to win. Neil Harris’s men were not intimidated by facing a team who currently sit 39 league places above them and created the majority of chances and eventually got the goal their display deserved. Sitting on the side-lines it wasn’t surprising. Personally and IN MY OPINION felt Watford assumed they would win, and didn’t show much desire. Substitutes who warmed up heard their name being shouted from the crowd and often turned to smile and wave, laugh and joke, which doesn’t usually happen but to me a sign they was not focussed on this game. Yes Walter Mazzari made player changes before the game. That’s the managers choice and decision he felt these players would still be sufficient to win the game. You cannot hold this against Millwall as they are there to play and all they can do is beat the team that’s put in front of them. This they did so credit goes to Millwall for completing the task in hand and should no way like any underdog winning be a reflection of you won but against a reserve side! I reiterate credit goes to the winning team regardless of changes made so I give credit always to the team that one. Excuses.. I take very little notice of hearing them that’s pretty bad sportsmanship.
Morison’s goal was a bitter blow for Watford but, in truth, it was their own doing as Walter Mazzarri made seven changes to his team and it was clear to see. Watford performed below par and apart from a promising spell during the second half when they were denied a possible penalty after Byron Webster pulled Stefano Okaka’s shirt as the striker tried to connect with Adlène Guedioura’s cross, Watford have little to complain about.
With just five minutes of the game remaining, Steve Morison, the League One side’s top scorer, connected with Shane Ferguson’s cross. He was left totally unmarked and with a perfectly timed volley at the back post. The ball went straight through the legs of Heurelho Gomes. Three sides of the ground rose to their feet screaming and shouting queue the traditional celebration from the fans of Miiiiiiiiiiiiiillllllllllll ………… and Millwall were on their way and sealed their place in the fifth round of the FA Cup which is for the the third time in six seasons.
With 5 minutes remaining plus injury time it was down to Millwall to play the game out They had appeared to be the stronger team on the day and even with such little time left Watford didn’t appear to have much of an idea how to test keeper Jordan Archer in such little time of the game left. At the final whistle the ground was filled with euphoria while the traveling yellow army from Watford showed their disapproval by booing their own players.
The next round of the Emirates FA Cup was drawn on the One Show on Monday night and Millwall now have a home match again against either Premiership team Leicester City or Championship team Derby County. The date of the game is still be decided as television companies decide which games they will want to show live. At present the game will be played on 17-20th February 2017.