Millwall 2-1 Aston Villa
The FA Cup with Budweiser
Fourth Round Proper
7.45pm, Friday 25 January 2013
The Den, Millwall FC
Winning clubs receive £90,000 from The FA’s Prize Fund
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By Nicholas Veevers at the Den
A bad week turned even worse for Aston Villa on Friday evening, as they crashed out of The FA Cup at the hands of Championship side Millwall.
Paul Lambert’s team had suffered semi-final heartache only three days ago when they missed out on a trip to Wembley in the League Cup against League Two side Bradford City.
And their misery was compounded in south London as Kenny Jackett’s Lions edged a lively match in a frenzied atmosphere at the Den.
It had looked as though Villa had done enough to earn a replay after seemingly stifling the home side’s possession and pressure in the second half.
But on the eve of a local protest against the closure of A&E at Lewisham Hospital, it was left to Lewisham-born John Marquis, starting his first game of the season, to head an 89th minute winner and send the Lions into the hat for Sunday’s Fifth Round draw.
It had all started so well for Villa too, as they took the lead after 22 minutes of a closely matched opening.
Fabian Delph’s brave tackle on Liam Feeney deep in Villa territory began the move, with the ball shifted quickly onto Andreas Weimann. He skipped past Danny Shittu in a flash, before seeing his low left-footer saved by David Forde.
But the Millwall ’keeper could only parry the ball out to Darren Bent, whose shot wrong-footed Forde and trickled over the line to temporarily ease the pressure on Lambert and his side.
Screamed on by the home crowd, Millwall’s response was almost immediate as Andy Keogh won a corner on the right within four minutes of Bent's strike.
The excellent James Henry swung the ball over and there was no stopping Lions skipper Danny Shittu, as his towering header flew into the top corner, giving both Shay Given and Matt Lowton on the post no chance.
That goal prompted Millwall into control of the game until at least the hour mark, with the hosts constantly looking to test Villa’s obvious frailties in the air and from set pieces.
With Villa also finding possession hard to come by, Weimann and Bent were left to feed off scraps up front with Shittu and Karleigh Osborne swallowing up everything that was thrown at them.
There was an unfortunate stoppage early in the second half, with a number of missiles from the crowd aimed at the assistant referee just as Villa looked to find some momentum.
That incident seemed to take the sting out of the game, but it was still the hosts who were forcing the play.
Henry forced Given into a save with a dipping shot from the right, before the same player wastefully fired a promisingly placed free-kick high and wide in the 66th minute.
Villa finally began to string some possession together as the second half went on and substitute Barry Bannan stung the hands of Forde with a vicious shot from 25 yards.
It looked as though Villa had survived the Millwall onslaught, but with less than a minute remaining, the tie was settled.
Adam Smith’s deep cross from the right picked out the only blue shirt in the Villa area, with Marquis having lost Ron Vlaar and Ciaran Clark’s attentions.
After his fine far-post header crashed against the bar, the rebound bounced straight back to Marquis and he was left with the simple task of nodding past a helpless Given and sending the home fans into a jive.
And they will await Sunday’s draw with interest, with memories of their run to The FA Cup Final of 2004 undoubtedly awakened.
Millwall: 1 David Forde, 3 Danny Shittu (c), 6 Liam Trotter, 9 John Marquis (21 Jack Smith, 90), 14 James Henry, 15 Liam Feeney, 16 Mark Beevers, 20 Andy Keogh (22 Danny N’Guessan, 83), 25 Adam Smith, 26 Jimmy Abdou, 27 Karleigh Osborne.
Substitutes not used: 33 Maik Taylor, 2 Alan Dunne, 4 Josh Wright, 11 Shaun Batt, 38 Conor Wilkinson.
Aston Villa: 1 Shay Given, 4 Ron Vlaar (c), 6 Ciaran Clark, 9 Darren Bent, 10 Charles N’Zogbia, 15 Ashley Westwood, 16 Fabian Delph (25 Barry Bannan, 39), 26 Andreas Weimann (21 Jordan Bowery, 82), 27 Joe Bennett, 30 Eric Lichaj, 34 Matthew Lowton.
Substitutes not used: 22 Brad Guzan, 7 Stephen Ireland, 11 Gabriel Agbonlahor, 14 Brett Holman, 37 Derrick Williams.
Referee: N. Swarbrick
Assistant Referees: J. Flynn, M. Scholes.
Fourth Official: J. Adcock.