Millwall 0-2 Bolton: Sunday Mirror match report
Published 17:11 18/02/12 By Jim Lucas
Del and Rodney Trotter used to call this part of south-east London home – and relegation-threatened Bolton will be feeling luvly jubbly after beating Millwall.
Owen Coyle’s Trotters were barely troubled as they eased past the Lions and into the quarter-finals thanks to a couple of classy imports.
Japanese winger Ryo Miyaichi, on loan from Arsenal, helped Wanderers race into an early lead before David N’Gog added a second on the hour mark.
Coyle said: “We stood up to what was always going to be a difficult test, and we looked a real threat when we passed and moved the ball.
“That’s why I brought Ryo to the football club.
“In football terms, he’s a baby. I did everything I could to get him to the football club. He’s shown what a talent he is – he’s brave and tough and always plays with a smile on his face. I could be here all day waxing lyrical about him.”
Bolton went into the game at a low ebb having dropped to second-bottom of the Premier League, while Millwall are in a relegation battle of their own having won just three of their last 12 games – two of which came in previous rounds of the cup.
Lions boss Kenny Jackett said: “To give a Premier League side a start like that is disappointing – it gave them something to hang on to. We had a lot of possession and some very good moves without being able to get a goal. We’ve had a good run and we haven’t disgraced ourselves today, but we have to look forward very quickly now.
“Our main priority is to work hard to stay in the division.
“We’re on 31 points, and have enough games to have a bright finish to the season.”
Coyle seems motivated by the prospect of eliminating the spectre of last year’s humiliating 5-0 semi-final defeat to Stoke. And it took his men just three minutes to show their higher-level nous.
Referee Kevin Friend penalised Millwall skipper Paul Robinson for making the slightest of contact with striker N’Gog, allowing Sam Ricketts to release Miyaichi from a swiftly-taken free-kick.
The 19-year-old, making his first start since a January loan move from the Emirates, outpaced right-back Alan Dunne before delicately curling past Steve Mildenhall to give his side an early lead.
The visitors could have added more goals inside the opening 10 minutes, with N’Gog flashing a shot across the face of the target before some defensive confusion led to Tuncay finding space in the area, though his effort was palmed away by Mildenhall.
Millwall responded, with a Trotter of their own – midfielder Liam – seeing a snap-shot deflected wide, before Fabrice Muamba wasted an excellent chance to double the lead when he fired over after being played in by N’Gog.
The Lions gradually mustered the fight needed for such an occasion.
Darius Henderson and Liam Feeney had tame half-volleys held by Adam Bogdan, while Andy Keogh was off-target from the edge of the area.
In fact, Millwall’s best attempt at goal came courtesy of a Bolton player, as Gretar Steinsson sliced Feeney’s cross on to the roof of his own net.
The 1,000-or-so travelling fans set off a flare in a bizarre attempt to spur on their team after the break, and the stunt seemed to pay off as N’Gog drove home a precision effort from 25 yards just before the hour mark.
The Lions fought on with Bogdan preserving his clean sheet thanks only to an super double save from Harry Kane and Henderson.
Trotters left-back Ricketts could have added a third, but his drive flashed wide of Mildenhall’s left-hand post.
In the end, Bolton were good value, though trading cup progress for Premier League safety is a deal that Coyle – or Del Boy Trotter – would bite your arm off for.