NEIL Harris admitted the prospect of an FA Cup replay at Goodison Park further clogging up the fixture list prompted his attacking changes as Murray Wallace scored a 94th-minute winner for Millwall against Everton at The Den.
The Lions had come from behind twice against the Toffees in the fourth-round clash, Lee Gregory and Jake Cooper scoring respective equalisers after goals from Richarlison and Cenk Tosun.
Harris, who was without 10 senior players for the tie, brought on Jiri Skalak in the 87th minute and then two minutes later Steve Morison, who won a free-kick deep into added-time.
Shaun Williams curled his delivery to the back post, where Shaun Hutchinson headed down and Wallace found himself free to prod home and it briefly looked like there could be a pitch invasion, before relative order was restored and the Lions saw out the final two minutes.
“It’s big for the football club. The fans today galvanised us at key times.” Harris said. “We beat Bournemouth, Watford and Leicester a couple of years ago, but this is Everton Football Club. They mightn’t be having a great time at the moment but it’s a huge club. It’s a good scalp for us.
“It was a special occasion today. I knew it was going to be difficult for us to try and hurt Everton with the ball with the players we had missing. We knew we had to be especially good at set-plays. I picked a team really to try and contain Everton, to try and stop them getting into good areas.
“I think they had only two shots on target. I know we didn’t have bundles either but I thought we contained them really well and we stayed in the game.
“The character my players showed to come from behind twice was special. I’m really proud of them.
“I just felt at 2-2 we had a little bit of momentum, that’s why I put Stevie Morison on. It’s been him so many times at this football club that’s popped up with magic moments. I felt there was another chance for us.
“I certainly didn’t want a replay, I didn’t want another game in our schedule. I thought at the end we’d go with three up front and go for it. It’s not just the first contact, it’s the anticipation. We knew it was going to be difficult to affect their penalty area with the ball, we knew we had to rely on first and second contacts. The anticipation of the players was outstanding.”
Millwall are into the fifth round for the second time in three years.
Harris continued: “For us, even as a championship club, it's a huge game and we will certainly be looking forward to the draw. What it does is, it galvanises the fans and gets them excited and maybe brings a few more to the game next week.
“As a club we will be looking at Championship football and trying to get to 48, 50 points as quickly as we can to keep our place in the Championship.
“But this has been a special competition for us during my time in charge and my playing days. If you get a good cup run, especially in this competition, it can definitely carry you. The momentum we carried from Hull, from coming from behind in the last round and then today, that will lift the boys.
“There will be an extra edge in training Monday, competition for places will be even more fierce and the boys will enjoy watching the draw.”
Harris was asked who he would like in the next round.
He said: “I would like to play at home, at The Den. It always gives us an opportunity to win. I really like my players to play in big games in front of our fans.
“It is not always easy to bring players into our club. When you talk about bringing in Alex Pearce and Ben Marshall, players that were sought after, and I’m saying to them, ‘come play for us because when this place gets going there is no better atmosphere in English football’. That’s there today. I’m not making it up because they have now seen it in person.”
Image: Millwall FC