|Gueye 43||Venue: The Den
|Hunt 5, 14, Parr 77|
MILLWALL suffered their fifth straight league defeat despite a much-improved performance against promotion-chasing Ipswich Town.
Noel Hunt's early brace did the damage and even though Magaye Gueye reduced the deficit, Jonathan Parr added a third goal to put a convincing gloss on the scoreline.
The Lions largely matched the visitors in open play but their defending at key moments left a lot to be desired, whereas Mick McCarthy's side were well-drilled at the back.
Millwall were clapped off at the end after a creditable effort but they are now three points adrift of fourth-bottom Rotherham with an inferior goal difference.
Ian Holloway made the extent of his unhappiness at Wednesday's 4-0 loss to Bradford crystal clear by making eight changes to his starting XI.
But the most significant piece of team news was arguably 19-year-old academy graduate Sid Nelson being handed the captain's armband.
Nelson was joined by Shaun Cummings, Byron Webster and Dan Harding in a new-look back four in front of goalkeeper David Forde.
Diego Fabbri, who joined on loan from Watford yesterday, made his debut on the left wing, with Jack Powell recalled to the centre of midfield.
Gueye started on the right flank and Stefan Maierhofer partnered Lee Gregory up front in a totally re-jigged attacking line.
On paper, Millwall's side was well-balanced and fans taking their seats in SE16 were encouraged to hear that Holloway had opted to go with their preferred 4-4-2 formation.
And the hosts almost made the perfect start.
In just the second minute, new boy Fabbrini jinked to the edge of the area and let fly with a curling effort that was deflected straight up into the air.
Maierhofer was underneath it and his presence prevented Bartosz Bialkowski from gathering possession, but when the ball broke to Fabbrini again he drilled inches wide.
The significance of that miss was made even greater when Ipswich instead took the lead 90 seconds later.
Tyrone Mings' clipped free kick was knocked on by Darryl Murphy to Stephen Hunt, whose brother Noel nudged the ball past Forde from close range.
The Tractor Boys doubled their advantage in the 14th minute after a comedy of errors in Millwall's rearguard.
The Lions failed to clear a simple cross into their box and Kevin Bru's shot from a narrow angle was cleared straight to Hunt, who squeezed the ball in almost from the byline.
Millwall were shell-shocked but a rare opportunity fell their way – albeit to the wrong man – when Abdou sliced wide from the edge of the box.
An error by Webster in the 38th minute presented Murphy with a free run on goal but the Championship's top scorer failed to capitalise, scuffing a low drive beyond the far post.
Ipswich should have been out of sight but Gueye's third goal of the season brought the Lions back into the contest.
Maierhofer glanced a free kick into the feet of Gregory who flicked the ball into the Frenchman's path, and his half-volley into the ground beat Bialkowski at the near post.
Roared onto the field at the start of the second half, Millwall pushed for an equaliser.
But despite seeing a lot more of a ball than they had done in the opening 45 minutes, clear-cut chances were few and far between.
Powell fired over from distance in the 55th minute before his wicked cross was intercepted by a clearing header on its way through to Maierhofer.
Gueye's inswinging corner was glanced wide by Webster and the former Everton man sent a curling free kick over the bar as the Lions continued to press.
But as has happened so often this season, Millwall were hit on the counter attack and Ipswich made the points safe.
After a Lions attack was halted by the referee's whistle, Murphy flicked on a long free kick to Freddie Sears, who found Parr, and the left back cooly converted.
That took the sting out of the contest and Mick McCarthy's side saw out the remaining 15 minutes with minimal fuss.