Ipswich punished for poor finishing
Ipswich Town manager Joe Royle was left frustrated as his side dominated yet ended up with nothing after wasting several chances as well as having a penalty appeal turned down.
His side started the Christmas schedule as Championship leaders following their dramatic win over Wigan last week, but he was left ruing the fact that though Marcus Bent and Shefki Kuqi looked dangerous they missed a string of good chances.
Kuqi scored for the visitors but by then they were 2-0 down following goals from Barry Hayles and Danny Dichio either side of the break. Scott Dobie sealed a surprise win with his third goal of the season.
"I can't remember such a one-sided first half and we should have had a penalty," Royle moaned. "That was a very misleading scoreline and we were guilty of missing a number of really good chances. We were outstanding in that half.
"The second goal was decisive for them because we then had to really go in search of the game.
"I don't want to blame the referee too much because I think that, apart from the penalty decision, he had a really good game."
This was a bitter-sweet victory for Millwall's assistant manager, Ray Wilkins, as he now faces three games in a week with two key players unlikely to be available.
Darren Ward and Paul Ifill went down unchallenged and were victims of a poor pitch after trouble with the undersoil heating left patches of frost.
Wilkins said: "This was a good win for us because they are probably the best foot-balling side in the division. They played us off the park at stages, but we showed good character to get the result.
"We know that we'll give anyone a game on their day and the fact that we have now beaten West Ham, Sunderland and Ipswich proves that."
"I feel for the lads who were taken off," he continued. "Ifill has been playing well for us recently, but he has gone straight to hospital afterwards for a scan."
Millwall could not have complained had they gone into the break well behind as Ipswich controlled the game from the start.
However, it was the home side who took the lead through Hayles's looping shot from 25 yards deep into first half injury time. As Ipswich failed to clear, the ball fell kindly to the former Fulham striker and he chipped Kelvin Davis with a superb finish for his fourth goal of the season.
The goal stunned the East Anglian side and they were clearly still feeling the effects after the break when they went further behind on 48 minutes through Dichio as Ipswich got their off-side trap wrong and the striker was left an easy tap-in from just six yards.
Ipswich had a glimmer of hope just after the hour when Kuqi diverted Tommy Miller's shot into the back of the net with a back-heeled flick that gave Marshall no chance.
But it was in vain as Dobie sealed the victory 11 minutes from the end as Ipswich's offside trap failed again, allowing Dobie to break clear and, with just Davis left to beat, slot the ball in.
Alan Wilson (Daily Telegraph)