OLLIE GETS SLICE OF LATE REVENGE
Woolford levels at the death
MARTYN Woolford’s injury-time equaliser was sweeter than most for Ian Holloway after the Millwall boss was the subject of a number of chants from Watford’s travelling support.
Woolford squeezed his late strike past Manuel Almunia in the fifth minute of added time to earn his side a richly-deserved point after Almen Abdi had given Watford the lead for the second time on 86 minutes.
Earlier, Lewis McGugan fired Watford into a 17th-minute lead before Millwall substitute Steve Morison restored parity with a crisply-struck second-half volley.
The result leaves Millwall just a point off safety and Holloway has been buoyed by the improved performances of his squad of late, who are now unbeaten in four in their fight for survival.
“I thought it was going to be one of those days,” said Holloway. “It looked like it was over but I’m really chuffed with that result.
“It looked like goodnight at 2-1 but the great thing about this club is that they keep fighting.
“I thought Watford caused us problems in the first half and we didn’t quite get it right but I knew we had people on the bench who could come on and give it a good go.
“We didn’t deserve to go behind 2-1 in that second half so magnificent credit to the players for creating as many chances as we did.
“If we can put a sequence together we’ve got a chance. I need a strong set of players and I think we’re growing.
“I gestured 2-2 at the away fans at the end as they were giving me stick all game. I don’t think I’ll be sending them a Christmas card.
“But I don’t care after what they were calling me. It wasn’t nice.”
With both teams desperate for a win perhaps the draw was inevitable but the contest itself began at a frantic pace.
Watford’s in-form duo of McGugan and Troy Deeney linked up well and the pair combined to give the visitors the lead on 17 minutes.
McGugan’s dummy allowed Deeney to back-heel the ball back into the path of the Watford midfielder before driving home past David Forde for his tenth of the season.
Millwall were shocked into life and should have levelled before the break but Owen Garvan could only shoot straight at Almunia from Stefan Maierhofer’s low cross.
Millwall finally got reward for their increasing dominance just after the hour when Morison volleyed home from the angle following Woolford’s corner.
Having brought three strikers on, Holloway was pushing for the three points and Alan Dunne was inches from a spectacular 25-yard winner before being denied by the fingertips of Almunia.
That save was only the start of the late drama as first Abdi thought he’d won the game for Watford before Woolford’s injurytime leveller.
The result leaves Watford seven points adrift of the play-offs and manager Beppe Sannino vented his frustration at conceding so late on.
“I’m not shocked, I’m angry because it’s happened again,” said Sannino.
“It’s happened many times this season. If you take away all of the stoppage time from this year we could be much higher in the table.
“What’s disappointing is when you score so late yourselves and then don’t go on to win the game.
“It was a tough game to come and play in. Millwall needed the points so it was always going to be difficult and we should have scored more in the first half when we were on top.
“With the play-off it’s not easy because when we need to step up our performance we come up short.
“This draw leaves a big gap to the play-off so it’s difficult.”
THUNDER: Almen Abdi drills in the second goal for Watford LIONS’ PRIDE: Martyn Woolford (hidden) celebrates with teammates after scoring the second goal for Millwall