"But what stupendous good fortune! What an answer to prayer!"
The small piece of rectangular framed metal is pulled back and a small pin is put in place. Sitting patiently on a piece of thick wood, the spring is neatly folded up, awaiting with throbbing anticipation the small rodent that will inevitably cause it to snap. The Ashera cat from Derbyshire is sat quietly waiting for the moment to strike, it’s expensive claws are razor sharp and its fangs has a taste for South London mouse blood, remembering the flavours it enjoyed a few weeks back. The navy-blue Bermondsey breed of mouse sticks its head out and is instantly alarmed by the feline’s presence. Our long-tailed creature is now exposed. Will Jerry finally manage to once again escape from Tom, or will the marble knock the plastic diver into the bath tub and the cage drop on Millwall?
Tom Elliott started the game in place of Steve Morison, and was given the chance by Neil Harris to avoid the snares laid out and retrieve the cheese. The opening five minutes saw our mouse with the number 19 energetically run around the pitch, but the piercing cat’s eyes of Davies and Keogh ensured that Elliott would not be given any time with his prized fromage. Elliott did manage to get a hard shot away in the 12th minute, but Scott Carson just purred with delight as he easily collected the long-range drive.
After being startled by Elliott’s attempt, Derby decided to play like the cat who got the cream from the 15th minute, elegantly passing the ball around and the front line of Nugent, Weimann and Vydra in particular linked up beautifully. With speed and style, a cross from Weimann could only be punched clear by Jordan Archer in the 18th minute, and the follow up attack from Vydra was wonderfully blocked by Shaun Hutchinson. The mouse trap was continuing to be built and Millwall were flirting with the dice, making their way closer to the target area under the carefully balanced domed cage.
Weimann again had a half effort blocked in the 20th minute, before Lee Gregory flew into the box and went to meet the ball with his head in the 25th minute. Using an inhumane mousetrap that violated all animal rights laws, the only thing Lee Gregory met was the Derby defender’s stud and a penalty was the obvious call. Unfortunately for the Lions, the exterminator in the middle of the park with the whistle deemed this totally acceptable and did not award the spot kick.
Derby continued the first half toying with the South London team, with Tom Huddlestone especially pulling all the strings and setting more traps for our small furry animals to fall in to. Millwall simply could not compete with the Rams in the first half and a loud pitched whistle signalled the end. Knowing that we were luckily not to get caught in the predator’s grasps, we ran back into our arched doorway that had been carved into the skirting board.
Millwall knew that if we were to get anything from this game, we would need to be brave and grab the cheese from the jaws of certain doom, and Lee Gregory started the second period well with a half effort on the turn. This was in the 46th minute and just a minute later Elliott had another shot easily blocked.
In the 49th minute, Derby’s Wisdom picked up the rodent between it’s teeth and had the advantage. Trapped between his jaws, Millwall were squeaking in fear and it would be inevitable that Derby would sink its teeth into us, but luckily, we managed to wiggle free. Wisdom’s lay off and the resulting cross led to nothing and we ran away to lick our wounds.
The northern based feline had now called the alley cats and were circling the cornered mouse, knowing that it was only a matter of time until it was all over. Every desperate defence and clearance from Millwall was coming straight back, and the claws were getting a lot bigger and a lot closer. There was only going to be one winner and although Hutchinson stepped up and nipped at Vydra, smashing him in the air with a 50/50 tackle in the 66th minute, this only seemed to anger the army of tabby cats.
Elliott tried to make himself look big to Davies in the 70th minute, but he was easily outmuscled, and his anger resulted in a yellow card for the Millwall centre forward. Derby was playing as the apex predator, and although Jed Wallace had a shot blocked in the 78th minute and a Shaun Williams pass to Tom Elliott in the 80th was just too long, there would only be one team who found the back of the net.
In the 84th minute, the navy mouse finally got stuck in the snap trap. Ikechi Anya picked the ball up from a lovely pass and sunk his teeth into the warm flesh of our rodent, but the Animal Rights Activist with the flag saved the day and flagged for offside.
Seeking the need to defend ourselves, Millwall launched one last attack which caught Derby off guard. Slipping out of the moggy’s salivating jaws, a scrambled strike resulted in the ball ricocheting around the Derby box and striking the paw of the Derby defence. The mouse squeaked loudly for a penalty, but the referee did not give it and blew up for full time.
Derby had spent 90 minutes playing with its captured prey; toying with Millwall and knowing at any moment this helpless creature would fall victim to it’s power. Luckily for the Lions, Derby had taken its victim for granted, and we managed to escape with the beautiful cheddar smelling home point.
🏆 Man of the Match 🏆
A busy night for the Millwall centre half, who put in some point saving blocks. Under constant pressure and displayed a real captain's performance.
💬 Fans after thought 💬
This week I check back in with Mr. Harry Simpson, who kindly provides his post match thoughts.
Name: Harry Simpson
Favourite player this season: Shaun Hutchinson without a doubt.
All time favourite player: That’s a tough one but will have to go for Neil Harris. Simply because of the amount of goals he scored and different styles of techniques.
What did you think of today's game?: Defensively I thought we was solid. Hutchinson was an absolute rock at the back. Although we lacked forward options I have to say Lee Gregory’s work rate was phenomenal and his hold up play was class. I would have took a point before the game. But definitely had the chance to take all 3 points.
What do you think of the season so far?: We’ve had a very good season so far in my opinion. Neil Harris has done wonders, also I have to say our new CEO Steve Kavanagh has been different class. Defensively we’ve been good this season. Going forward we have been okay. But feel like we could and should have more points on the board.