"Though I'm past one hundred thousand miles, I'm feeling very still. And I think my spaceship knows which way to go."
She is sitting on the sofa watching the balls being pulled out for the 3rd round draw. Our young fan is sandwiched between her mother and father in her navy blue shirt, with a proud Lion emblazed over her heart. She sees Millwall have been pulled out at home against.... Barnsley. She asks her parents whether she should go to the game. Her mummy is yelling no, but her daddy has told her to go and so like a rebel, rebel she puts on her dress and heads to The Den to get a ticket. She's got her mother in a whirl, but as the matriarch in the family stands in the family doorway watching her child excitedly skip down the garden path, she admits that her daughter's "planet Earth is blue, and there's nothing I can do."
She walks up the cold concrete stairs to The Den half full, but her friends were nowhere to be seen and there appeared to be more life on Mars. She walks through her sunken dream to her blue seat with the clearest view. Her father looks down at his disappointed daughter and hopes that today's game will not be a God awful-small affair, for his girl with the mousey hair.
The Lions walk on to the pitch and she can see there are many ch-ch-ch-changes from the side who lost against Norwich a few days before. She recognises some of the faces, but notices that the stars look very different today. Ground Control is stood in his dugout willing on his Major Toms. The ref puts his whistle to his mouth and tells the captains to check ignition and wishes God's love be with you.
Millwall start the game lively and have a shot blocked in the 2nd minute, before a second shot is sliced far beyond the moon by Tony Craig two minutes later. In the 8th minute, Morison played the ball through to Onyedinma which was just too long. Our young fan was excited, seeing her team put Barnsley under pressure, but that all changed in the 11th minute.
The game had turned to a saddening bore, for she's lived it ten times or more and once again saw Barnsley score first against the Lions. A cross was neatly turned in by Brad Potts and Barnsley had taken the lead. Our young fan was upset and her face was a mess. This was turning into another forgone conclusion against a side that always seems to beat Millwall.
A scramble in the box in the 23rd minute was Millwall's best chance of the half, until Ground Control decided to swap Aiden O'Brien and Jed Wallace to alternate wings. This left our wingers floating in a most peculiar way, but the decision was rewarded when O'Brien fired in from close range in the 35th minute. Our Major Tom on the wing had scored a great goal, showed he had taken his protein pills and had really made the grade. "If he keeps playing this way," a delighted father screamed to his daughter in his arms, "the paper will want to know who's shirt he wears!"
Ben Thompson was having an energetic half, covering every blade of grass. Telling the Barnsley midfield that if they say run, he'll run with you and closed down every pass and tackle. The half finished just after Jed Wallace put the ball agonisingly wide of the post. "I'm happy, hope you're happy too?" our fan told her Dad, before going down for a half time snack.
Before she could sit right down and wait for Millwall's gift of sound and vision, Ben Thompson coolly slotted a lovely effort into the bottom corner in the 46th minute. Not to be outdone by Thompson's first half efforts, Aiden O' Brien put on his red shoes and danced the Blues around the Barnsley midfield. Unlike Joe Williams who saw red in the 50th minute, we never lost control and in the 56th minute Major Tom stepped up again and with a sprinkle of Ziggy Stardust, smashed the ball into the back of the net from outside the box.
Our young lady in the stands sat down and all around people were talking about dancing in the street after such a good result. Normally when it came to Barnsley, nothing will drive them away, but when Onyedinma picked up the ball after a beautiful pass from Morison in the 61st minute, he told us he wouldn't blow it and he knows it's all worthwhile by putting in Millwall's fourth goal of the game.
Millwall saw out the game and defended well, ensuring they would be progressing and that no pressure pushing down on me or pushing down on you would penetrate our back line. The final whistle sounded and our young fan looked down at her victorious side.
Ground Control rightfully praised his players after the game. Barnsley's first goal had caused our circuits to go dead and there was something wrong, but this time Ground Control was heard by Major Tom, who left Barnsley floating past their tin can out of control.
We had defeated our bogey team. "We can beat them, forever and ever" our mousey haired fan said looking at her boys in blue. They can be Heroes, but for more than one day.
🏆 Man of the Match 🏆
The winger was our Starman and a good energetic performance was rewarded with two good goals. He certainly blew our minds today.
💬 Fans after thought 💬
This week, my fan after thought is Mr Tom Rudland, who I have had the pleasure of chatting to during and after the past three games.
Name: Tom Rudland
Favourite player this season: Jed Wallace
All time favourite player: Etienne Verveer
Greatest Millwall moment: Tim Cahill at Old Trafford.
What did you think of today's game?: Easier than what I thought it would be after the beginning. Comfortable win.
What do you think of the season so far?: Onwards and upwards, we're doing well.