The Fans' Roar: Barnsley bring Millwall back to earth
By Ian Toal of Millwall Supporters Club
The Lions came down to earth with a bump after losing to Barnsley 2-0 on Tuesday night, letting the Yorkshire outfit complete the double over us.
Even new loan striker Rob Hulse could not help us to find the net.
It was a disappointing defeat dealing a big blow to our hopes of getting back to challenging for the play-offs following the confidence raising win over Aston Villa last Friday night in the FA Cup 4th round.
The hostile atmosphere generated by our supporters seemed to both intimidate Villa and spur our patched-up and off-form team over the line.
Villa's defeat to Bradford in the League Cup earlier that week highlighted the Midlands' team weakness at defending corners.
We took advantage of that weakness ourselves with skipper Danny Shittu netting his first goal for our club when scoring the equaliser from a James Henry corner.
Normally Shittu stays back for most of our corners so that was a good switch in game-plan to get him forward to contest the set-pieces.
Even more pleasing was the winner for 20 year old striker, John Marquis in his first start of the season for the club. In fact it was his first goal since August 2011.
With striker Darius Henderson departing to Forest we desperately needed a target man up front to play alongside Andy Keogh and for Marquis to net that winner for us to progress was great timing.
Danny Shittu was immense in the game, collecting the man of the match award. We were very lucky that Nigeria accepted his request to be left out of their African Nations Cup squad after his initial call-up.
With skipper Paul Robinson out possibly for the rest of the season, we need Shittu's leadership holding our defence together.
Robbo flew to see a specialist in Philadelphia on Sunday, where he had an operation to try to solve his long-term injury problem.
Robbo is now staying in the States for another two weeks for rehabilitation but, pleasingly, initial signs are that the operation was a success.
Last week we sadly learnt that former Lions defender, Dave Harper passed away at the age of 74.
Harper was the first signing from our revamped youth team and played 190 times for the senior side, scoring five goals between 1958 and 1965.
Our 2-1 victory against Aston Villa in the FA Cup was apt as one of the best Millwall memories of Harper was in an FA Cup replay away to Fulham in front of over 31,000.
Injured, he was forced to play up front as that was before substitutes were permitted.
A cross came in from winger Barry Rowan and Harper netted to send us on to an excellent 2-0 victory.
Performances like this made Dave Harper a real favourite of the supporters and we hope the current team can display more of that fighting spirit starting with the match against promotion chasing Hull at home this Saturday.