MILLWALL 2 WALSALL 1
The old soccer saying that you never beat another side three times in a season unfortunately came true when Walsall were dumped out of the FA Cup by League One rivals Millwall in this FA Cup replay at the New Den on Tuesday night, writes The Saddler.
Dreams of a first-ever visit to the Ricoh Stadium for a fourth round clash with neighbours Coventry vanished as the Lions ended the Saddlers’ wonderful 18-match unbeaten run.
Ironically Walsall picked up their first win of the season at Millwall in a league game on September 15, and completed the double over the Londoners with a 3-0 win at the Banks’s Stadium as recently as December 22.
But the Lions have been improving, despite Saturday’s 3-1 league defeat by bottom-of-the-table Port Vale, and they took the lead in the replay after just 15 minutes through Ben May, while Walsall, for all their hard work, couldn’t get back on terms and the home side’s decisive second goal, from in-form Gary Alexander at the start of the second half.
Walsall showed all their usual fighting spirit in an effort to claw their way back into the tie, and hopes were raised when a shot from Alex Nicholls in the 61st minute deflected off defender Andy Frampton and looped into the net.
The visitors ploughed forward time and again in an effort to take the tie into extra time, but couldn’t manage another goal.
Manager Richard Money said: “If the players’ response from being 1-0 down and 2-0 down is anything to go by, we shall get a big response at the weekend.
“We have gone out of the FA Cup, but with a proud performance.”
On BBC Radio WM, club community manager Mick Kearns commented: “In the last 15 to 20 minutes Millwall were defending for their lives.”