Millwall dumped Aston Villa out of the FA Cup on Friday with a spirited 2-1 comeback victory at The Den.
Darren Bent gave the visitors an undeserved lead 22 minutes in with a scuffed effort from a rebound, but Danny Shittu forced the ball home from a corner not long after to get Millwall back on level terms.
The tie looked to be heading for a replay before John Marquis found space in the box in the 89th minute to head home at the second time of asking after his initial effort hit the bar.
The game got off to a scrappy start with neither side able to create a clear goal scoring opportunity. Charles N’Zogbia sliced a shot wide of the post in the opening exchanges before Liam Trotter had an effort easily gathered by Shay Given.
The breakthrough eventually came in the 22nd minute when N’Zogbia drove through the Millwall midfield before testing David Forde with a low effort. The ‘keeper could only parry, allowing Bent to scuff his follow-up shot into an unguarded net.
The hosts reacted well, though, as Andrew Keogh forced Given into a good save which led to a succession of corners, but the visitors managed to weather the storm.
Millwall were not to be denied for long as Shittu rose highest from a corner to force James Henry’s cross over the line with the Villa defence half asleep in the 27th minute.
The hosts dominated the rest of the half with Villa content to counterattack, but neither side were able to fashion a chance before the break.
It was Millwall who started the second period on top and they nearly took the lead after the ball ricocheted just past the post from a corner kick.
The home side continued to pile the pressure on the visitors, who were dropping deeper and deeper in trying to deal with the bombardment of aerial balls.
Villa had a chance on the break when N’Zogbia found Bent over the top but Forde was alert enough to come rushing off his line to smother Bent’s shot.
Kenny Jackett’s side continued pressure the Villa defence late on but did not seem to have the guile needed to unlock the visitor’s defence for the second time.
But The Den exploded late on when Marquis rose highest to head Henry’s cross onto the bar before nodding the rebound into an empty net.