BECKFORD TAMES BELOW-PAR LIONS
HUDDERSFIELD 3 MILLWALL ......0
MARK Robins has challenged Huddersfield to maintain the level of performance on display in the vital win over Millwall in their remaining two fixtures.
The Terriers’ Championship survival hopes were given a boost – and Millwall’s own drop fears intensified – thanks to Jermaine Beckford’s double and one for James Vaughan.
Town’s victory moves them to within a point of Millwall – although the FA Cup semifinalists have two games in hand.
After James Henry struck the bar with a free-kick for the visitors, Beckford opened the scoring in the 37th minute seizing on an error by Danny Shittu in his own penalty area before gracefully curling past David Forde from a tight angle.
Vaughan doubled the hosts’ advantage in the 55th minute, driving home after being found by Adam Clayton, with Beckford’s second coming in the 62nd minute as he fired into the top corner following Vaughan’s through-ball.
The importance of the victory wasn’t lost on Robins, and he piled the praise on Beckford.
“The (first) goal from Jermaine was outstanding,” he said.“He’s stolen it and picked his pocket but the finish from that angle was terrific.
“His second one was outstanding as well and the whole movement for James Vaughan’s goal was exactly what we’d spoken about.
“The goals we’ve got were really pleasing, the clean sheet was as pleasing and the performance as a whole was a really mature one.
“I’ve always said the players are good enough individually, we just haven’t put it together as a team often enough to keep ourselves out of harm’s way. But that performance goes some way to giving us a real chance.
“We can see ourselves over the line now and it would be a shame if we let that level of performance slip.
“If we go to Bristol City and get three points that should hopefully see us over the line.
“It’s about what we do though – we’re not asking for any favours from anybody. If we can keep that level of performance I’m sure we’ll be fine.”
Beckford nodded wide with the game’s first chance after five minutes, before Forde saved from the former Everton man three minutes later.
Henry’s free-kick beat Alex Smithies but not the bar, before Beckford made the breakthrough. After Vaughan made it 2-0 Millwall waned and Beckford, on his 250th league appearance, made it three.
Lions boss Kenny Jackett bemoaned his side’s defending, saying: “I feel we’ve certainly defended away from home better than we did here.
“We gave poor goals away. I don’t think my side adapted to the conditions, we got caught on the ball too many times – particularly in our half.
“And thirdly I thought they lacked energy and sparkle – I wouldn’t say we necessarily lacked commitment but that sparkle wasn’t there.
“From our point of view with the schedule that we’ve had – which has been considerable – the equation lies in getting everyone behind us and making sure we do have a side that has enough energy at this late stage of the season.
“I’m obviously concerned but we have to look forward and it’s a key that three out of our four remaining games are at home – and they’re three in a row.”
MOVING UP: Huddersfield Players celebrate Jermaine Beckford's opening goal
SKILLS: Sean Scannell wrong foots Millwall's Adam Smith