|Littlewoods Cup 2nd Round 1st Leg: Millwall v QPR Away|
|LIONS GRAB LIFELINE|
Alan Walker 's insatiable appetite for goals provided Millwall with a Littlewoods Cup lifeline, just when it looked as though all the Lions hard work was going to go unrewarded.|
If any further evidence of Millwall's re-emergence as a force to be reckoned with was needed, John Docherty's new-look team provided it in the volatile atmosphere of Loftus Road.
Roared on by 5,000 of their own fanatical supporters, Millwall adapted to QPR's controversial plastic pitch and made nonsence of Rangers' proud position at the top of the First Division.
Tony Cascarino had a header brilliantly tipped onto the bar by David Seaman and George Lawrence hit a post, as Millwall threatened to overrun their illustrious opponents.
But danger-man Gary Bannister silenced the Millwall fans when he fired into the roof of the net after 38 minutes - from Rangers' first worthwhile attack.|
And when centre half Alan MacDonald got on the end of an inch-perfect Kevin Brock cross, it looked as though Rangers had earned themselves a big enough cushion for die return leg at die Den on Tuesday week.
But Docherty has in-stalled plenty of fighting spirit into his talented young side and, while their supporters set up a deafening Zulu style chant, Millwall's Warriors the Lions roared back into back into the attack.
Cascarino thought he had cracked Rangers resistance, but his 20-yard curler went inches wide and then Seaman got up superbly to tip over an action-replay effort from Sheringham.
That left the stage set for centre half Walker to continue his goal happy start to the season with a header that screamed into the net and sparked off a wave of celebrations that shook Loftus Road to its foundations.|
It was Walker's third goal of the season and it could turn out to be the most valuable of his career with away goals counting double if extra time in the second leg fails to seperate the sides.
"He's our top scorer now," joked manager Docherty afterwards. "All the players are trying to out do Tony Cascarino.
"I thought we adapted surprisingly well to the pitch and over the 90 minutes it certainly didn't look as if there was a division between the two sides.
QPR manager Jim Smith paid tribute to Millwall's players and their supporters
"I think I better get in touch with Michael Caine to help combat the Zulus when we go there."|
Horne ****, Salman ***, Coleman ***, Hurlock ****, Walker ****, Wood ****, Lawrence ***, Briley ***, Sheringham **, Cascarino ***, O'Callaghan ***.
Sub: Byrne (for Sheringham 76)
Match rating: 4
Alan's crucial strike|
Golden Goal! Alan Walker powers his header past stranded QPR Keeper Dave Seaman
The Football association may decide to hold an inquiry into the reasons for the delay to the start of the second half of last nights Littlewood's cup tie between Queens's Park Rangers and Millwall at Loftus Road.|
Many supporters were forced to flee when Millwall fans ramapaged through the main stand at half time. Smoke swirls across the pitch (left) as play continues and some spectators left early fearing a repeat at the end of the match, but the fans dispersed quietly.
|McLintock predicts problems for Rangers|
FORMER Queen 's Park Ranagers captain Frank McLintock believes that Millwall's twin strikers, Tony Cascarino and Teddy Sheringham, could cause his old club major problems when the two teams continue their enthralling Littlewoods Cup encounter at the Den in a fortnight.|
Millwall's traditional fighting spirit, revitalised by the new management team of John Docherty and his assistant, McLintock, restricted the First Division leaders to a 2-1 victory in the second round first leg at Loftus Road.
McLintock, who spent four years with Rangers, playing in the team that finished First Division runners-up in 1976, said today: "We had to play a tactical game because their movement and interchanging is so good, but for most of the game I felt we were reasonably omfortable."
"When we got forward and got our crosses in, we gave Rangers problems, and that's what gives me some optimism for the second leg.
I think Cascarino and Sheringham could unsettle them at the back, especially in the, air".
"And they saw last night how good Cascarino is at turning in a confined area and shooting."|
"We've obviously got to get at them a bit more in the second leg, but we've won all our Second Division matches at home and they will find our crowd in a very positive mood."
The massive Millwall following provided a intimidating atmosphere at Loftus Road and the skirmishing by some of their fans in the main stand, causing the start of the second half to be delayed, was the only incident to spoil the evening for the Second Division club.
They fought with verve and splendid commitment to overcome a two-goal deficit and, after twice hitting the woodwork, thoroughly deserved Alan Walker's powerfully headed goal in the 78th minute
Rangers enjoyed a lot of possession without threatening the Millwall goal until the 36th minute, when Wayne Fereday's deep cross was headed back into the middle by Dean Coney. Gary Bannister was there to drive past Brian Horne for his sixth goal of the season.|
Even when Alan McDonald headed Kevin Brock's cross beyond the reach of Horne in the 65th minute, Millwall retained their shape and enthusiasm, with Terry Hurlock and Les Briley bristling with endeavour in midfield.
Their persistence was finally rewarded 12 minutes from time!
|OUR FANS ARE OKAY SAYS DOC|
Docherty 's actions surprised most neutrals and, certainly all the Rangers' faction, especially after disturbances during the half-time interval when smoke-bombs and coins were thrown on to the pitch and at police.|
A gang of Millwall supporters rampaged briefly through the main stand, causing home supporters to run for cover.
Luckily, the police were eventually able to restore order and quell fears of another riot following the disturbances figured Rangers' game against Chelsea 12 days ago. Ironically, the FA will announce the results of an inquiry into that affair later. today. Meanwhile, Docherty was unrepentant about his praise of the Millwall fans. He said "They gave the team tremendous backing. Just think what Rangers might achieve with support like that. "
The problems stopped short of full-scale mayhem, although the police wheeled away a series of offenders from the crammed corner of the ground occupied by around 5,000 Millwall fans. Rangers were clearly unnerved, and manager Jim Smith admitted: "Obviously, the atmosphere has a bearing, even though you try to shut out the noise of the crowd."|
Rangers needed two brilliant early saves from David Seaman, pushing efforts by Tony Cascarino and George Lawrence against the woodwork.
They seemed to go clear of trouble with goals by Gary Bannister (38 mins) and Alan McDonald (64).
But Alan Walker's late Millwall reply set up another suspense night at The Den in two weeks time.
MILLWALL boss John Docherty today stood by the behaviour of frenzied fans who frightened First Division leaders QPR to the brink of a Littlewoods Cup upset that turned Loftus Road into a tinder-box of anxiety.|
"I thought our public was fantastic immaculate," enthused Docherty, who went on to Rangers' plastic pitch after his side's narrow 2-1 defeat last night to give the noisy Millwall contingent a clenched fist salute.