HOOIVELD’S STRIKE IS JOS THE TICKET
NEIL Harris insisted Millwall’s home form will be the difference between staying up and going down after his side came from behind to beat ten-man Charlton to boost their survival hopes.
Jos Hooiveld’s 87th-minute strike earned the Lions their first win at The Den since October after Magaye Gueye had cancelled out Alou Diarra’s strike for the Addicks.
Charlton had skipper Chris Solly dismissed in the first half for deliberate handball in the box, but Stephen Henderson saved Lee Gregory’s resulting penalty.
The result moved Millwall up to 22nd, just four points behind Rotherham, but Harris explained he’s taking it one game at a time as the Lions bid to beat the drop in the Championship.
“It’s a good start, our home form is key to our survival,” he said.
“The Brighton game was a good point, but to do that against our local rivals in such an important game is huge.
“I thought we were excellent. When you go 1-0 down it’s a kick in the teeth and you think it might not be your day, but the fans stuck with the team and it was an amazing atmosphere.
“It’s special for me but I’m delighted for my players. I would have been gutted if we didn’t win, but for the whole club the result is special and now we have the momentum.
“We’re all in this together. This club is built on backs to the wall and we’re going to take it one game at a time.”
The hosts had the best of the early exchanges and almost went ahead on four minutes, but Ed Upson’s brilliant ball over the top narrowly evaded Gregory.
Upson should have put the home side ahead on 14 minutes, but the unmarked midfielder headed over from Dan Harding’s dangerous cross.
The game changed just short of the halfhour mark when Solly was given his marching orders for deliberately handling Aiden O’Brien’s effort in the box, gifting Millwall a penalty.
Gregory stepped up, but the striker’s effort was well saved by Henderson low to his right to keep the scores level.
Millwall continued to press and Henderson produced another spectacular save to deny Upson just before half-time.
The Lions dominated the possession after the break, but the Addicks took the lead on 67 minutes, when Diarra ghosted into the box to flick home Morgan Fox’s cross from the left – the former West Ham midfielder’s first goal for the club.
But Millwall hit back and substitute Gueye levelled 11 minutes from time with a low drive from a tight angle.
And Hooiveld stole all three points three minutes from the end when he turned home Gueye’s shot. What a time to score your first goal for Millwall!
Charlton boss Guy Luzon was left frustrated with the defeat, but the Israeli praised his side’s resilience after going down to ten men.
“My players gave everything, especially with ten men,” he said. “But football is like this sometimes and I thought we, as a team, were excellent in the second half.
“I’m very disappointed with the defeat. It’s not easy to play with one player less and I wasn’t sure it was a red card – Solly told me it hit his head.
“But we showed a great attitude, we had to re-organise at half-time and after the break we had good counter attacks and scored a great goal.
“The red card changed our style of play, we like to play attacking football, but we did the most we could in the second half.
“At 1-1, Simon Church had a great chance to make it 2-1, but unfortunately in the next attack they scored the winning goal.”
LION HEARTS: Jos Hooiveld celebrates his winner after Millwall had bounced back from Alou Diarra’s opener for Charlton, inset