Olly dances to Great Escape
Martyn Woolford celebrates his winner for Millwall against Bournemouth that guaranteed the Lions safety
IAN Holloway says retaining Millwall’s Championship status is the greatest achievement in the club’s history after they saw off Bournemouth.
The Lions knew a victory at the Den would be good enough to beat the drop and Martyn Woolford’s first-half header made sure they steered clear of any danger with scorelines changing elsewhere.
Defeat to Birmingham at the end of March put them bottom, scrapping for their Championship lives after a four-year stint.
But having seen their fortunes change for the better during an exciting climax, Holloway believes the future is now bright for Millwall, given the attitude his players have displayed.
“I think as a club it’s our greatest achievement. Everybody’s been honest and hard-working,” said Holloway, who celebrated his side’s survival by dancing on the pitch after the final whistle.
“After Birmingham and Blackburn Rovers we could have just capitulated but it’s typical of this place to drag it from the bootstraps.
“To see this ground and the energy and enthusiasm inside it is what made me want to come here. I’m pleased for every single Millwall supporter and I’m really proud.
“It’s all about wanting to be here, and wanting to play here and showing passion and wanting to play the way that I want. “I want to build this place in to what I know it can be. I’ve got some things already worked out to show the board because I really want to grow the club.
“The set-up underneath is already fantastic, we’ve got five or six young kids that I can’t wait to work with so I’m going to dissect what we’ve already got to work with.”
Woolford had the game’s first sight of goal on eight minutes, latching on to a Carlos Edwards long throw, but Lee Camp reacted well at his near post.
Millwall came closer still on 22 minutes when Stefan Maierhofer’s flick-on to reach Steve Morison, but the striker’s thumping half-volley cannoned back off the bar.
Tokelo Rantie then brought a good save out of David Forde, but the deadlock was broken at the other end on the half-hour when Woolford headed Owen Garvan’s cross past the outstretched Lee Camp.
After the break, half-time substitute Shaun MacDonald tested Forde with a low header ten yards out, before an over-hit cross from Simon Francis almost caught the Millwall keeper out but it sailed over.
Simeon Jackson spurred two glorious chances chances by shooting wide with just the keeper to beat and a searching Garvan free-kick came back off the post, while Forde denied Rantie at the death.
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe said: “I thought it was a game of poor quality from both sides but I think that’s to be expected with the circumstances that Millwall were playing under.
“I think we got caught up in the atmosphere, I don’t feel that we played to our usual level or to the level that we have shown in recent weeks.
“It was a very fast-paced game, there was very little time for anyone to show any composure on the ball.”
SURVIVAL: Lions hero Martyn Woolford scores the winning goal to ensure their Championship status
RELIEF: Ian Holloway
after the game