GREEN’S FINGERS GIVE LIONS HOPE
SCOTT Malone snatched a potentially crucial late point for Millwall but boss Ian Holloway insists his goal should have sealed three – not one.
The Lions fell behind to Charlie Austin’s penalty, the awarding of which infuriated Holloway.
And he said:“I don’t think anybody in the ground actually bothered to appeal. Was it in the box? Was it deliberate? I’ve seen it four times over and I can’t believe what I’ve seen.
“My team played really well. We created some good chances against a very good side. It just felt like it might be one of those days.
“It was great spirit to keep going, but I feel completely robbed. I just can’t believe he’s given it.
“That might be the biggest point this club has ever got. Seven games ago we’d have taken it being in our hands on the final day.
“I wanted to make a big difference here. I hadn’t but I can see it coming now. That looks like my team and we’re doing it at the toughest time we’ll ever have to. If fate goes against us, I can’t ask for any more.
“It will probably be the biggest achievement of my career if I keep us up.”
The 78th-minute penalty was awarded after Simeon Jackson handled Junior Hoilett’s cross near the back corner of the box under pressure from Ravel Morrison and Austin sent David Forde the wrong way.
But in the last minute Millwall responded with the ‘strangest, weirdest goal’ Holloway said he had ever seen.
Steve Morison won the initial header in the box, launching a series of errors from both sides.
Joey Barton sliced his clearance into Malone’s path, who also sliced his shot goalwards.
It was a simple save for Rob Green but, instead of palming the ball over, he did so into his net recalling his career’s darkest moments.
The draw extended Millwall’s unbeaten run to seven games and means victory over Bournemouth in their final game will confirm a fifth consecutive season in the Championship.
They more than matched QPR, who now know they will start their play-off semi-final away from home against Reading, Wigan or Brighton.
Stefan Maierhofer scuffed a header wide inside two minutes and Martyn Woolford bobbled another great first-half chance wide. And after Austin’s goal, Shaun Williams dinked a free-kick against the crossbar.
QPR’s powerful centre-back pairing, Richard Dunne and Nedum Onuoha, were unusually feeble against Maierhofer’s enor- mity but Woolford created his chance by also outmuscling Dunne.
Morrison came close for Rangers with a diving header and they created several chances for Austin. However, the 17-goal frontman was uncharacteristically wasteful as he eases back into fitness.
And Rangers boss Harry Redknapp said:“When you’re 1-0 up in the last minute, you expect to see the game out. It was a poor goal.
“Maybe we had too many players who are good on the ball, but not so good without the ball. We didn’t close them down as well as I would have liked. But it is about finding the balance – that’s what we have to do in the next week or two.We finished below Wigan and Reading last year. We’ve got experience but so have they. Whoever we play will be very tough.
“Wigan have the nucleus of a team that won the FA Cup last year and possibly the strongest squad in the league.
“I haven’t seen the penalty again and I didn’t see it when it happened. I was looking somewhere else.”
CHARLIE’S ANGEL: Charlie Austin finds the net with QPR’s penalty, which enraged Lions boss Ian Holloway
BAILED: Nicky Bailey, right, celebrates the late equaliser
STAR MAN SCOTT MALON