MILL­WALL ......0 N FOR­EST ........1

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Matt Wright

NOT­TING­HAM For­est man­ager Billy Davies is rel­ish­ing a ‘pre play-off play-off’ against Le­ices­ter on Satur­day af­ter his side kept their top-six hopes alive with a timely win at Mill­wall.

Greg Hal­ford’s eighth­minute header gave For­est their first win in seven games and meant only goal dif­fer­ence now sep­a­rates them from six­th­placed Bolton.

Their de­fence com­fort­ably kept out a very limited Mill­wall at­tack that all too of­ten re­sorted to aim­less long balls in front of a rest­less crowd at the Den.

Davies’ men now face a mas­sive match against East Mid­lands ri­vals Le­ices­ter, who them­selves can still make the play-offs, as they strive to ex­tend their sea­son.

He said: “The play­ers have been out­stand­ing since I came in – there’s no doubt that we’ve had to work very, very hard but we now go into a pre play-off play-off on Satur­day.

“It’ll be a very ex­cit­ing day and a very ex­cit­ing end to the sea­son and it’s all to play for.

“The last game of the sea­son is go­ing to be a real nerveshred­ding time both at the top and bot­tom of the ta­ble.

“To find our­selves in this po­si­tion with one game to go, I must say I’m ex­tremely proud of the play­ers and the staff.

“We were very re­silient and that was the most im­por­tant thing be­cause Mill­wall are very com­pet­i­tive here with a com­pet­i­tive fan­base be­hind them.

“I thought we worked very hard, we com­peted well and we kept a calm head which was im­por­tant.”

For­est’s early win­ner came when poor Mill­wall mark­ing from an Andy Reid cor­ner gave Hal­ford the com­fort­able task of nod­ding in at the back post.

The hosts had more trou­ble de­fend­ing a set­piece when Mark Beev­ers did just enough to stop Billy Sharp from hook­ing in af­ter Hal­ford had flicked on Ra­doslaw Ma­jew­ski’s cor­ner.

The Lions took over half an hour to fash­ion even a half-chance when James Henry shot into the side net­ting af­ter be­ing found by Ge­orge Sav­ille.

Af­ter Mill­wall cap­tain Alan Dunne came per­ilously close to head­ing into his own net, For­est al­most sealed the points with 12 min­utes left.

Reid spread the ball out left to Lewis McGugan, who picked out fel­low sub­sti­tute Mar­cus Tudgay, only for Lions stop­per David Forde to make a ter­rific save.

Forde was called into ac­tion again af­ter Si­mon Cox weaved his way into a good po­si­tion be­fore Henri Lans­bury waste­fully lofted an ef­fort over.

In the fourth minute of added time a des­per­ate home side forged one last chance when Sean St Ledger’s ef­fort was pushed away by the un­der­em­ployed For­est goal­keeper Karl Dar­low.

And Mill­wall boss Kenny Jack­ett ad­mit­ted the Lions failed to cre­ate enough as they slid to a third-straight de­feat.

He said: “I was look­ing for the one player who could beat his man or get the other side of peo­ple or go past some­one and take them out of the game, whether that’s out wide or up front.

“But cre­atively we couldn’t find a player who could de­liver that cross or score that goal.

“I also felt that it was a good ef­fort by the play­ers and over the last cou­ple of games we per­haps haven’t got a break that could have added to our points to­tal.

“Ul­ti­mately it’s a dis­ap­point­ment be­cause you need to score goals and that’s down to the process rather than the strik­ers over­all be­cause cre­atively we weren’t there this game.”

PIC­TURES: Martin Dal­ton

CLIMB­ING HIGH: Greg Hal­ford heads the first goal for For­est

JUST FOR YOU: Hal­ford hails the fans af­ter scor­ing

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