The Lions' Roar: Millwall hit for six by Birmingham
By Ian Toal, Millwall Supporters' Club.
It might seem strange to say it, but Saturday's 6-0 hiding at home by Birmingham City might be the turning point of our season.
If you weren't at the game you missed the team's gutsy, passionate performance which earned them a rousing reception at the end of the game.
There has been a lot of despondency among supporters recently, but we got a committed performance against Birmingham. We attacked them from the off and although we went to sleep for their opener which was a free-header from a free-kick, it was against the run of play.
It was the two sending offs, particularly the second one, killed our chances.
Both the sending offs looked harsh. Young loanee Shane Lowry was fouled late by Zigic just as Lowry was clearing the ball up field. Due to his momentum Lowry then landed on Zigic. It did not look like a stamp, more that Lowry just couldn't avoid Zigic, but he was sent off on the linesman's say-so after just 21 minutes.
We played well with 10 men, but Alan Dunne's sending off on 56 minutes killed us off. Again it looked harsh, as you thought he would just be booked.
True, Dunne went for a 50/50 with his foot up but seemed to pull out of the challenge and did not catch Zigic, but the Birmingham striker made a meal of it and Dunne went for an early bath.
These two incidents and Zigic's earlier actions, including fouling goalkeeper David Forde when he was taking a drop-kick and disgusting play-acting in attempting to have our skipper Paul Robinson sent off for an alleged elbow hardly endeared him to our supporters.
Birmingham's manager Chris Hughton withdrew Zigic soon after Dunne's red card, sensing the hatred towards the player from the stands and on the pitch.
We probably should have tried to shut-up shop after the second sending off but we continued to attack and got picked off as the Blues slammed home five more goals.
It was a spirited performance, though we were seemingly pitted against officials who gave us nothing all afternoon. On days like this the struggle to stay in the division is going to be a much harder task.
In the face of this adversity, the passion and performance of our team lifted our support and we showed our appreciation at the end of the match.
There are not many clubs were the mangers name will be chanted and the players given a rapturous reception following a 6-0 home defeat that leaves you just one place above the relegation zone.
But our supporters respond generously when we think the team have put in absolutely everything they have to try and get a result. If we can continue to show that level of effort and passion and keep eleven men on the pitch, our luck must surely change soon.