FOR­EST UN­DER HOLLOWAY’S SPELL AGAIN

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By John Brind­ley

IAN HOLLOWAY con­tin­ued to weave his City Ground magic – as his Mill­wall braves broke a bad spell of their own.

Sub­sti­tute Ri­cardo Fuller took full ad­van­tage of a poor back header from For­est left-back Stephen McLaugh­lin af­ter 83 min­utes to give the Li­ons real sur­vival hope af­ter just one point from their last 18.

It was Holloway’s fourth suc­ces­sive victory in For­est’s back yard as a manager with both Black­pool and Mill­wall – and it com­pleted a hat trick of wins for the Li­ons here over the last three sea­sons.

“I wouldn’t mind com­ing here ev­ery week,” the Mill­wall boss joked. “I’ve got to be de­lighted that we’ve beaten a half-de­cent side who won at Derby a cou­ple of weeks ago.

“I’ve brought in play­ers and they are like Mll­wall strangers, but they are gelling to­gether quickly,

“We’ve kept clean sheets in our last two games and taken four points out of six – now we must take con­fi­dence from that into our next few.

“Ev­ery­one de­serves a huge pat on the backs for their ef­forts, but Diego Fab­brini is dif­fer­ent class. He’s not a usual Mill­wall player, but we’re look­ing to in­te­grate him and for him to en­joy his foot­ball here.”

For­est, late starters in sev­eral re­cent games, nearly went ahead in the 15th minute when goal­keeper David Forde’s out­stretched leg de­nied Michail An­to­nio.

But Mill­wall came closer when full-back Mark Beev­ers ar­rowed a header to­wards the bot­tom cor­ner. The div­ing save from Dorus de Vries was truly out­stand­ing.

Forde palmed away Stephen McLaugh­lin’s shot as For­est at last raised the tem­per­a­ture, and Henri Lans­bury curled a 22-yard free kick ag­o­nis­ingly on to the roof of the net be­fore the break.

For­est stepped up the pres­sure in the open­ing min­utes of the sec­ond half and the wood­work twice came to Mill­wall’s res­cue.

Robert Tesche’s dip­ping shot from more than 30 yards hit the bar be­fore the lively An­to­nio dug out a per­fect right-wing cross for Britt As­som­ba­longa to also hit the bar with a close-range header.

But Mill­wall rode their luck and came back into the game, with Holloway’s sub­sti­tu­tions no­tably con­tribut­ing far more than Stu­art Pearce’s.

For­est thought they’d won a penalty when Shaun Wil­liams stuck out a leg to fell An­to­nio – but For­est boss Pearce con­firmed af­ter­wards that re­plays showed it was cor­rectly awarded out­side.

Lee Gre­gory was de­nied by a For­est of scram­bling legs af­ter a su­perb run into the box, be­fore Fuller beat de Vries to McLaugh­lin’s mis­placed header and placed his shot into the empty Trent End goal.

The re­main­ing min­utes, in­clud­ing four of added time, were played al­most ex­clu­sively in the For­est half as the home side failed to mount a late rally.

De­feat was clearly a tough one to take for un­der-pres­sure Pearce, who ad­mit­ted he is now look­ing over his shoul­der at the rel­e­ga­tion trap door.

“I think we have to now,” he said. “We have con­trived to give Mill­wall a foot up the ta­ble with three points here and we must hope that won’t prove too costly at the end.

“But avoid­ing the drop does not meet the as­pi­ra­tions of this foot­ball club.

“There was a side out there who were there to be beaten but, although we had our chances, we didn’t have the gump­tion to take the game by the scruff of the neck.

“We needed to some­how get our­selves in front, but it didn’t hap­pen. Then, we’ve lost to a silly mis­take.

“I thought Stephen McLaugh­lin played well and he’ll cer­tainly con­trib­ute more to us in the fu­ture.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

WIN­NER: Mill­wall's Ri­cardo Fuller scores the only goal of the game past Not­ting­ham For­est's Dorus De Vries. Inset: Todd Kane and Ma­gaye Gu­eye battle for the ball

STEPHEN McLAUGH­LIN

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