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26 December 2016

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Town suffered a Boxing Day defeat this afternoon after falling to a 2-0 defeat to Millwall at The Den.

Lee Gregory fired the Lions ahead early on following a cagey start to the game, and his side perhaps should have taken more than a one goal lead in at the interval.

Luke Norris was a whisker away from hauling the Reds level in the second-half before Gregory thumped in his second goal of the day to wrap up the points for the Lions.

Town made two changes to the side that drew 1-1 at home to Fleetwood Town last weekend with Tom Smith and Sean Murray replacing Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill and Anton Rodgers respectively.

Ormonde-Ottewill missed out through injury and Rodgers dropped to the bench while Luke Norris and Jermaine Hylton were tasked with leading the line in a 3-5-2 formation for a second successive game following their impressive showing against the Cod Army.

Both sides attempted to stamp their authority on the game in the early stages with Jermaine Hylton just over-running the ball after Michael Doughty had led a swift counter-attack, before Lloyd Jones did brilliantly to put his body on the line at the other end of the pitch in order to prevent Ben Thompson from getting a clean strike on goal.

However, it didn’t take long for the first goal of the afternoon to arrive and it went the way of the home side with just ten minutes on the clock.

Fred Onyedinma picked out Lee Gregory inside the area and the frontman displayed superb strength to work some space for himself before firing home the opener beyond Lawrence Vigouroux.

Town did attempt to muster up an immediate response to going a goal down but Sean Murray could only send an effort straight at Jordan Archer in the Millwall goal.

Luke Norris then attempted to hit the Lions on the break but his lung-busting run was brought to an abrupt end courtesy of a brilliant tackle from Shaun Hutchinson.

But Millwall were soon back on the attack and they carved out three chances in a matter of minutes with their guests firmly on the back foot.

Steve Morison’s ambitious effort from 25-yards was easily caught by Vigouroux before the former displayed superb strength to hold off two challenges inside the area and tee up Gregory, but the striker failed to add to his tally as he blazed a shot way over the bar.

There was so nearly another goal moments later though as Hutchinson’s firm header looked destined for the net, only for Raphael Rossi-Branco to react superbly to hook the ball off the line.

Gregory soon had another sniff at goal but was unable to dig the ball from out underneath his feet in time with Nathan Thompson and Branco doing just enough to put a stop to the danger.

Millwall did have one more chance to extend their lead before the break but they failed to take it as Aiden O’Brien sent a tame effort straight at Vigouroux.

Hutchinson sent a volley over the bar early in the second-half before Town won three successive corners, but they were unable to make that pressure count.

The Robins then decided to make a change with John Goddard replacing Tom Smith as the visitors attempted to add some spark to their offence.

And it nearly paid off as a glorious opportunity fell in the lap of Norris, but the striker could only curl his effort past the far post from inside the area.

Millwall punished that missed chance minutes later after Morison, who had sent a header over the bar moments before, picked out Gregory who slammed home his second of the afternoon.

Town were forced to do plenty of defending in the closing stages of the game and they had Vigouroux to thank for not conceding a third after the keeper pulled off a fine save to keep out Hutchinson’s bullet header.

Chances were few and far between for Town although they did create an opening in the last few minutes, but Branco could only nod wide from Furlong’s cross.

Onyedinma then hit the post for the Lions but it didn’t matter as Millwall did enough to secure the win and inflict a Boxing Day defeat on Town.


SCORERS - Lee Gregory (10, 65)

MILLWALL - Archer; Cummings, Hutchinson, Craig (C), Webster; Onyedinma, Williams, Thompson, O’Brien (Callum Butcher 90); Gregory (David Worrall 84), Morison (Shane Ferguson 71).

Subs Not Used - King, Romeo, Abdou, Smith.

TOWN - Vigouroux; Rossi-Branco, Thompson (C), Jones; Furlong, Kasim, Murray, Doughty, Smith (John Goddard 53); Hylton, Norris.

Subs Not Used - Henry, Thomas, Rodgers, Barry, Evans, Delfouneso.

Referee - Nicholas Kinseley


MILLWALL - Byron Webster, Lee Gregory

TOWN - Tom Smith, Yaser Kasim, Darnell Furlong

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