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Five things we learned from Fulham 0-1 Millwall

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

#1: Carlos Edwards is 35 going on 25

It's quite astonishing that there was no place for Carlos Edwards in Ipswich's team.

The man oozes class, composure and confidence and the Lions have not lost a game since he arrived at the club in March last season.

When Edwards first moved to The Den, some questioned what impact a 35-year-old winger could have on a relegation-threatened side.

But those doubters were emphatically silenced as the Trinidadian inspired an eight-game unbeaten to help keep Millwall in the division – after making the right back berth his own.

And Edwards' superb form has continued into the new season. He's been a contender for man of the match in both the win over Leeds and yesterday's triumph at Craven Cottage.

Against Fulham, the veteran marshalled 18-year-old Wales star George Williams in the first half.

In the second, Edwards actually made his first ever mistake in a Lions shirt when he was dispossessed inside his own area – but his teammates were able to rescue the situation.

And that was only fair, because Edwards has got Millwall off the hook time and time again.

You would never guess he turns 36 in October.

#2: Shaun Williams is central to Holloway's system

If there was one player Ian Holloway could clone, he might pick Shaun Williams.

Williams' range and accuracy of passing makes him the perfect midfield lynchpin. And now that Nicky Bailey is injury-free again, Ollie is spoilt for choice in that department.

A £250,000-buy from MK Dons, Williams sees more of the ball than any other Millwall player – he always wants it, even under pressure, and you can trust him to pass to a blue shirt.

The 27-year-old is neat and tidy, keeps possession ticking over with his short, snappy distribution, but equally he isn't afraid to hit the Hollywood pass when he sees an opening.

Unsurprisingly, the best single pass of yesterday's game belonged to Williams.

Midway through the first half, he nonchalantly struck a bouncing ball with the outside of his boot to switch the play from right to left, finding Scott Malone on the opposite flank.

Fulham's midfield maestro Scott Parker would have been proud of that one.

#3: Martyn Woolford won't be a one-season wonder

Martyn Woolford surprised everyone last year when he top-scored for Millwall with nine goals.

But in falling one short of double figures, the winger lost a wager with a family friend – so he is doubly determined to reach the ten-goal mark this time around.

And he's made the perfect start after opening his account for the season with the winner against Fulham, a composed back-post finish following a brilliant cross from Ricardo Fuller.

Holloway yesterday described Woolford as "one of the best professionals I've ever worked with" and that's no surprise given the 28-year-old's relentless work rate.

Woolford runs harder and for longer than anyone else, and says he feels fitter and sharper than he did last year.

So don't bet against the midfielder leading the scoring charts again – because he won't be a one-season wonder.

#4: Fitness and resilience were crucial

Watching Millwall hang on to a one-goal lead has always been nerve-wracking.

But yesterday the Lions out-lasted a Fulham team that has been drilled by the infamous Felix Magath, a manager renowned for his gruelling fitness training.

Holloway's side used every drop of energy at Craven Cottage to ensure they got the points and demonstrated terrific resilience in the second half as Fulham pushed for an equaliser.

Last season, Millwall consistently found themselves on the wrong side of narrow margins – be it a a disallowed goal, a dodgy penalty decision or a wonder strike from the opposition.

So contrast Saturday's rearguard action with the draw against Blackburn in March, when the Lions twice conceded to ten men, and you'll see the huge progress that's being made.

Albeit against League Two Wycombe in midweek, Millwall got the job done despite playing the final half an hour a man light following Matthew Briggs' red card.

Millwall occasionally panicked at Fulham, giving the ball away cheaply, but Carlos Edwards, Alan Dunne, Mark Beevers, Scott Malone and David Forde were invincible at the back.

At the other end, Lee Martin and Scott McDonald were chasing down every ball.

In the past, the Lions might have crumbled under the pressure.

But Holloway has got them fitter and more resilient this season – and it's already paying dividends barely three games in.

#5: Fans and players are on the same page

For long spells last season, there was simply no connection or bond between Millwall's crowd and players.

Under Steve Lomas, the supporters couldn't recognise any of the traits that they have come to demand and expect of a Lions side over the years. There was no chemistry.

That has all changed. Over 4,000 fans made the trip to Craven Cottage on Saturday and they saw a genuine Millwall performance of fight and spirit, interspersed with moments of quality.

In the final 15 minutes, as Fulham came on strongly, the players and fans were feeding off each other, sharing their energy. Ian Holloway called it a "proud day" for the club.

And he said his players are "playing for the fans." It's showing, and the Den faithful now have a team they can identify with.

Alex Aldridge

(@accordingtoaldo)

48 thoughts on “Five things we learned from Fulham 0-1 Millwall

  • August 17, 2014 at 10:12
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    Sixth thing we have the best supporters that Fulham envy. From the Fulham fans website from a thread Shame to the boo boy's tile.

    Re: Boo boys should be ashamed
    « Reply #19 on: August 16, 2014, 08:47:20 PM »
    Frankly Millwall fans were in such voice I couldn't hear anything from the Hammy end and I was at halfway in the riverside.
    Say what you want about them, they stood the whole game and when they weren't singing they were chanting.
    Proper support.
    I got the impression they would have kept it up even if they were 5- nil down

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    • August 17, 2014 at 10:29
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      @lennie the lion: Here's a couple I see on twitter

      "OMG Millwall fans makes as much noise as the Kop did at Liverpool 25 years ago!"

      "Have to say, Millwall fans were top class today. Best away fans I've seen at Craven Cottage for ages!"

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  • August 17, 2014 at 10:53
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    Best day I had at a game and I wasn't even in the same country, great to see all the photos and videos during the game , the support was fanatical. Loved the shots from the boats. Amazing the turnaround from mid last season.

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  • August 17, 2014 at 11:24
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    I have got to say having supported Millwall for 45 years I have never heard such noise and support for the team as yesterday.
    There is no supporters like the Lions fans in the whole Country.
    COYL.

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  • August 17, 2014 at 11:25
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    Well done to Holloway, the team and the 12th man. Great result, great start and we could easily win our next three games as well. But it's a long hard season. September a bit tougher, but October will tell us where we are as a team. COYL

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  • August 17, 2014 at 11:55
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    The noise at Fulham from our fans was incredible , i wished sheff wed gave us at least 1,000 tickets for the next game

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    • August 18, 2014 at 06:30
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      @boblion:
      We won't sell out the little we've been given! They would let us take a few thousand if we wanted, sadly it'll be the normal midweek mob with a few extras. But it'll be enough that's the main thing.

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  • August 17, 2014 at 11:59
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    We also learned scott parkers missus takes it up the a***. haha funny as f***.

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  • August 17, 2014 at 12:23
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    I totally agree with all five. Great display from team and supporters. A great day for Millwall.
    My chant of the day 'She's one of our own, she's one of our own, Kellie Maloney, she's one of our own' - classic Millwall!

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  • August 17, 2014 at 12:37
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    I have to also add a special mention for Dunney. I've never been his biggest fan, but since his move to centre back he has been superb and is growing every game. As I said to my mates yesterday, if he was a new signing and we didn't know what had gone before we'd be raving about him as well as Edwards. Well done Dunney and well done Ollie.

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    • August 17, 2014 at 17:32
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      @Adsy77777: totally agree adsy, never rated him before but im proud to say im eating my words. Best day in a long time and so proud of our lion army, both on the pitch and in the stands

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      • August 17, 2014 at 19:40
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        @Geoff the lion: last season our fans were full of abuse towards ALLEN DUNNE no one rated him . I for one have allways rated this guy for a few reasons
        1 were few players have testimonials . 2 he has blue blood running through his veins and if you asked him to lay down in the middle lane of the M25 FOR Millwall he would do it . Finally who do you think sorted the changing room out last season that has been the foundation of our present form I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when that happened

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        • August 18, 2014 at 09:46
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          @OTIS: I get your point but as a right back he made too many mistakes, but as CH we have a new dunny

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    • August 18, 2014 at 08:47
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      @Adsy77777: Got to agree with you Adsy on that I am the same but if he and we can continue to play like we have been then I dont mind eating my own words (and I never thought I would say that)

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  • August 17, 2014 at 12:48
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    proud,proud,times to be a Wall fan loving every minute.....

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  • August 17, 2014 at 13:01
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    Wish we could get that sort of atmosphere going at The Den. Too young to remember The Old Den but my old man always told me how intimidating the crowd could be. From the boat trip to the wall of noise, hands down one of the best away days ever. Sheffield away then 3 home games in a week. Games are coming thick and fast now.
    Lee Martin was my MOTM never stopped running. Pressing all the time, but there wasn't a bad performance in the side.

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    • August 18, 2014 at 09:47
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      @bigC: trust me bigc, the old den was a fortress

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      • August 18, 2014 at 12:28
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        @Geoff the lion: It wasnt always though, plenty of quiet and miserable nights there as well but when it was good, it was fantastic

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  • August 17, 2014 at 13:24
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    BIG credit to everyone especially to lord Olli of bermondsey, listened to match on the radio and it sounded like a concert, BRILLIANT, COME ON YOU LIONS

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  • August 17, 2014 at 14:14
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    Watch the whole game again here

    http://www.millwall.vitalfootball.co.uk/forum/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=112566&posts=3

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  • August 17, 2014 at 14:20
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    Am enjoying the 'things we learned' articles. Also the matchday coverage. Thank you News at Den.

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  • August 17, 2014 at 15:35
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    Full game
    http://www.fulhamfc.com/news/2014/august/17/millwall-replay

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    • August 17, 2014 at 21:17
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      @treatment: Not sure why you got two 'dislikes' treatment? Must be Fulham fans! Cheers for that, made my Sunday evening.

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  • August 17, 2014 at 15:56
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    My 3 year old sons first away game and he absolutely loved it. What a cracking atomosphere from our end, to see our players and fans working together filled me with so much pride. It did honestly feel like we were working a one.

    I thought every lion had a good game but more importantly they all put in a fantastic shift, I do have to point out Lee Martin for special attention, I have always been a fan of his skill but not his work rate but yesterday he was ridiculous, he chased everything and everyone.

    I'm not getting carried away as we still aren't the finished article and without perhaps another striker are going to struggle to score goals, but honestly I don't care what happens if our players try like that.

    As others have said, walking out of the ground to top a perfect day bumped into rhino and had a picture with him and my boy. It's so good feeling like this on a Sunday long may it continue.

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  • August 17, 2014 at 17:14
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    Well done boys, for being a miserable c*** before on the preview or something like that haha.

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    • August 18, 2014 at 23:50
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      @conor: didn't go un noticed lol

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  • August 17, 2014 at 17:31
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    MATT SMITH didn't even get on yesterday, LEEDS scored their goal 2mins from time, so you would think their manager would have slung him on with 15/20 mins to go, so he obviously don't fancy him or he would have. We must go in for him, he's not going to get games there especially as LEEDS have just bought KEIRAN AGARD as well.

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    • August 18, 2014 at 00:35
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      @bordersarebest0170: Don't understand this situation with Smith - with the strikers they already have, plus the 2 new ones they've brought in - it seems Smith will be down the pecking order...?
      Leeds were VERY lucky to come away from that game with 3 points as well - how Boro had that overhead kick disallowed was unbelievable!
      I'm guessing the ref didn't want to find a horses head in his bed in the morning!

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      • August 18, 2014 at 12:46
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        @Luke ColdBlow10: I'm guessing this contracxt talk with Leeds/Smith is just a negotiatign tactic to up his price when they do sell him. We should call their bluff, wait for them to table a pony offer and Smith to reject it.

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  • August 17, 2014 at 17:50
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    The progress we have made with Ollie is fantastic, and the good thing is, theres lots more we can do better. Sometimes our players can be isolated with no easy pass to give- in particular Beevers and Bailey so we give away possession- they need Abdou or Williams to come back a bit, and give them an angle. Also Fuller has been superb, but sometimes needs someone like Woolford, McDonald or Martin to play slightly more closer, as he's holding it up, but is also isolated. So the ball comes back too far, and its too slow to hurt the defence.

    Martin in my opinion is our best player, but we've got to let him shoot more off free-kicks. We are always looking for the big men, but we need to let Lee have a go for the top corner more. Also, I think Ollie needs a quiet word in his ear, and tell Lee to stop diving in when tackling-we don't want him getting injured or sent off, and I can see him mistiming one soon- he just needs to stay on his feet more. He's too good to be out of the team.

    Overall though all the players know exactly what they are doing, with and without the ball- they work so hard, and its paying off. If we can work on shooting more (we need more deflected ugly goals), giving more angles for easy passes to Beevers and Bailey & Martin shooting from free-kicks more, we can progress even further. (we need players to win more freekicks in dangerous areas for Lee (i'm not encouraging diving- but sometimes we need to use some grey matter, and if its a foul- go down and appeal loudly to the ref more- and learn how to influence decisions. I've noticed everytime we do appeal, and go to ground, we are getting decisions, but other teams do it more to us, so refs are manipulated to give them the decisions. Then we have the whole club complaining at the officials, when really we are the ones who are not being clever enough. What I'm trying to say, is we need to give more opportunities for officials to agree with our actions, rather than make their own decisions on certain plays. 😉

    I can feel the buzz at this club, and I can see in all the players eyes, the belief that they know what they are doing and are loving every minute. C'mon Millwall!

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  • August 17, 2014 at 18:13
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    After reading the praise we have got from some Fulham fans and it seems their stewards and even the police for our support, could it be that under this regime would could change the, ‘perceived’, negative aspects of our support with regards to how we are looked upon as a club? I for one would love to be regarded as a supporter that can generate a completely hostile, intimidating atmosphere that opposition teams will not look forward to facing but done in such a way that we are praised for our passion not for mindless aggression. We will never lose the NWLU spirit that binds the fans and club but I hope that becomes our strength that other clubs envy. All who went yesterday seem to say it was one of the best away games they have been to and not a squeak in any paper about any off field problems JB and the club are doing there bit, let’s hope the very few that get us negative headlines can either stay away or better still change their ways.

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    • August 18, 2014 at 12:45
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      @lennie the lion: I certainly hope that is the case, but I fear that the main culprits aren't really Millwall fans and to be honest they couldn't give a damn if the club succeeded or folded. Trick is finding a way to either commit these people to coming regularly and invest in the club or simply stop them from coming. We all know who we are talking about, the extra 1500 that magically appear for the big games.

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      • August 18, 2014 at 15:23
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        @glyngo: Just because people fight, it doesnt make them any less of a supporter than you are glyngo. I assure you that i know millwall fans on both sides of that fence, and they love the club equally. at the end of the day, most of the millwall fans dont set out to start trouble, they are just very good at finnishing it! LIke it or lump it, "its what we do". I wish people on this site would stop trying to turn millwall into charlton.... I'm proud to be Millwall, and the only thing I want to change is our away stip colour lol COYL

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  • August 17, 2014 at 19:02
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    Point 5. is spot on. IH and the team were taken aback when they saw and heard us as they entered the arena and fought like gladiators as a result. This was Millwall as we know it and as they now know it. We stood, sang and chanted the whole game and you could see how it ruffled the Fulham players and encouraged and inspired ours. We all behaved ourselves and were treated with respect by the stewards and OB alike. 10 out of 10 to our fans and, likewise to Fulham FC for making us so welcome.

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  • August 17, 2014 at 19:22
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    Just watched the game end to end and if everybody is honest it was a bit of a smash and grab. Nothing wrong with that though, against a very good Fulham side. Scott Parker was the best player on the pitch by miles and ran the game but ultimately Fulham don't look to have properly gelled yet and they had no end product. The early goal apart, we also had little end product. Less than 40% possession for a team supposedly playing a passing style is a worry. That said, when we did have the ball we were very neat and tidy and most players looked comfortable with the ball. Our work rate without the ball was top notch and Lee Martin and Jimmy seemed to be everywhere. I'm not sure how Fuller was 'superb', great work for the goal but ineffective thereafter. We all know that we still need a focal point and mobile striker. The defence looks to have a good balance to it and Fordey will continue to win us more points than he loses. Overall, a much more confident look about the whole team but in my opinion we are a long way from being play-off hopefuls, but in this division, who knows?

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  • August 17, 2014 at 19:28
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    What a brilliant day.
    The atmosphere was seriously special.. I salute all the fans in that stand yesterday. We really did play our part. You could see the players feeding off us and the Wall of noise we created.
    Anyone who's missing this at the moment needs to get to the games if they can as something special is being built and the connection between fans and players is definately back and getting stronger each game.
    Great team effort and so many good performances that I am yet again struggling to single out any one performance.
    Very very proud of what I am seeing on the pitch right now and it will only get better .Thank you Holloway.
    P.S Icing on the cake was walking out afterwards and seeing about 20 Millwall fans gatecrash a bride and grooms photos in the park . Both took it well as the photographer kept on shooting. I'd love to buy a copy of that shot .

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  • August 17, 2014 at 20:26
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    Just watched the game online last time o saw the lions was yoevil away last season and the main diffetence i think is the work rate players like martin amd mcdonald seem to be working their b******* off for the team. Just goes to show the differance a decent manager makes. COYL

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  • August 17, 2014 at 22:03
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    The transformation in Lee Martin this season is phenomenal, completely new player. Speed, stamina and class. Will be a crucial player for us this season, so knowing our luck, this is probably when he gets injured!

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  • August 17, 2014 at 23:27
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    One thing we have learned from the first three games is that we need a striker that scores goals.

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  • August 17, 2014 at 23:41
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    When did we last have a team that plays MILLWALL. 100% effort and comitment. We have never worried or been dissapointed with a loss providing the boys on the pitch TRY. Holloway has given us that, MILLWALL. We move on again a result against the wednesday on tuesdaywill tell us how our team has developed over a very short time. A win and you know what!!!!!!!

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  • August 18, 2014 at 08:18
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    don't know why like dislike button is hit and miss on my computer,wanted to push the dislike button to the comment about Scott Parkers wife no need for that he was the best player on the field should still be in the premiership great performance from the lads,came down from Lancashire for game brilliant journey back good times ahead

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    • August 18, 2014 at 15:32
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      @eddiebrewer: your dislike button has probably been disabled by NAT because you clearly dont know that whether scott parkers old lady takes up the special place, and how he is on the pitch, have nothing to do with each other 🙂

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      • August 18, 2014 at 15:33
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        @Geoff the lion: that should be NAD, having a special moment today

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      • August 18, 2014 at 16:26
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        @Geoff the lion: just for the record scott parkers mrs is from bermondsey, her dad played for fisher and he's a lifelong millwall supporter

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        • August 18, 2014 at 16:32
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          @thecolumbusblock: thanks mate, not sure what record you are on about, but again thanks for the usless information 🙂

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          • August 18, 2014 at 17:44
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            Obviously not bothered about digging out one of your own ?

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  • August 18, 2014 at 11:32
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    With the amount of energy expelled on Saturday, Ollie may have to make changes to rest players for Tuesday night. Bailey coming on at half time would eb an option to rest Abdou or Williams. Maybe even see if Fred can replacement Martin for a half.

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