Lee Gre­gory’s goal earned Mill­wall a Fri­day night win at Brighton

Brighton de­cline goes on with loss

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE: - By Paul Finch

DANNY Shittu in­sists Mill­wall’s bat­tling qual­i­ties can pro­pel them up the ta­ble after their rare win over fel­low strug­glers Brighton heaped even more pres­sure on man­ager Sami Hyypia.

Last time out the Lions were on the painful end of a 5-1 home de­feat to Mid­dles­brough, but Lee Gre­gory’s early goal on Fri­day night handed them a vi­tal shot in the arm when it came to their sur­vival hopes.

It was just their sec­ond win in 16 Cham­pi­onship games but cru­cially lifted them five points clear of the Seag­ulls, cur­rently in the league’s rel­e­ga­tion zone.

“That’s what we needed, we’ve been wait­ing so long for that,” said Shittu.“You can see the guys go after it.We worked so hard and we’re de­lighted to have got those three points.

“That’s what this league is all about. You’ve got to fight, you’ve got to play your foot­ball and you’ve got to fight. I’ve got so much cramp but it’s what you have to do. On­wards and up­wards.”

And although Mill­wall’s goal may have had a slice of luck about it – French­man Ma­gaye Gu­eye’s mishit shot turn­ing into a per­fect re­turn pass for Gre­gory to lift home – man­ager Ian Hol­loway was also look­ing up the ta­ble, while also prais­ing the ef­fort of the match win­ner he signed from FC Hal­i­fax Town this sum­mer.

“Gre­gory has been a rev­e­la­tion, he’s the best £250,000 I ever spent,” he said. “I thought we played re­ally well and de­served the points. Once we got in front we proved we can de­fend. Now it’s on­wards and up­wards, let’s see if we can get two in a row.

“My team have done me proud since I’ve been here, let’s keep build­ing and try to get up the other end of the ta­ble.”

With hosts Brighton also tast­ing vic­tory just once in 16 games, the Fri­day night en­counter at the Amex Sta­dium was al­ways go­ing to be a tense af­fair.

It was the Seag­ulls who had the first glimpses of goal early on but David Forde com­fort­ably saved from Solly March in the open­ing min­utes be­fore Gre­gory saw his goal­bound shot de­flected wide.

But Gre­gory was not to be de­nied on the quar­ter-hour mark, con­tin­u­ing his run into the box to pounce on Gu­eye’s scuffed ef­fort and drive the ball beyond the reach of David Stock­dale.

Op­po­site num­ber Forde then de­nied Jake Forster-Caskey at full stretch be­fore push­ing away a Joao Teix­eira drive to main­tain his side’s lead at the break.

Brighton were im­proved after the break and the oth­er­wise quiet Dar­ren Bent fired into the side net­ting be­fore steer­ing a header wide.

But de­spite a nervy end­ing, which saw Mark Beev­ers clear off the line from Gary Gard­ner and Shittu twice make two vi­tal blocks, Mill­wall held firm to take a much-needed vic­tory that lifts them five points clear of de­jected Brighton.

The Seag­ulls, mean­while, suf­fered their third de­feat on the bounce, leav­ing a num­ber of fans call­ing for Hyypia to be sacked.

Although the for­mer Liver­pool de­fender re­mained de­fi­ant.

“To an­swer that ques­tion on my fu­ture I need some time,” said Hyp­pia. “I feel very frus­trated. Usu­ally I’m not a quit­ter, I’m a fighter.

“I can un­der­stand the fans’ re­ac­tion. I don’t ex­pect to be pat­ted on the shoul­der and told ‘Well done’ with how things are go­ing.

“I think that’s nor­mal, some of the fans are get­ting im­pa­tient and shout things, it doesn’t help any­one but you can’t con­trol it.

“When you take this kind of job, I’ve al­ways been pre­pared for ev­ery­thing, I’m not afraid of any­thing hap­pen­ing.

“When you take this job some­times it doesn’t go your way, but in my mind I’m ready for it.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

FLY­ING LOW: Brighton’s Gary Gard­ner goes hor­i­zon­tal to try to stop Mill­wall’s Mar­tyn Woolford

WIN­NER: Lee Gre­gory, right, fires in Mill­wall’s win­ning goal

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