"Look into my eyes, you will see. What you mean to me."
The story of the outlaws residing in Sherwood Forest is stuff of legend. The merry men led by an inspirational and charismatic leader who the local town folk worship is a tale for the ages. The Sheriff of Nottingham marched through the woodlands of South London hoping to re-capture Maid Marian of three points, but Millwall managed to rob from the rich and gave to the poor.
As the Sheriff’s men on horseback slowly marched into the woods, Robin Hood’s men struck early. After a long cross from Jed Wallace went too far, our Will Scarlett on the left wing picked up his bow and arrow and pulled back the tightened string. Releasing his longbow, the arrow headed into the direction of Shaun Williams who guided its sharp point into the back of the net in the opening 30 seconds.
The Nottingham legion in the North Stand were rocked, and Millwall’s men swung around the trees in jubilation. The Sherriff’s men re-grouped and managed to pass the ball around nicely, but just like Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, it looked pretty and of Hollywood quality, but lacked the killer punch needed to be a real hit. An arrow was fired by the away team in the 10th minute which went hopelessly wide of the target, and this was then followed in the 17th minute by some Robin Hood: Men in Tights comedy defending with Forest struggling to get the ball out from their back line.
The Sherriff did unleash one attack that came close, charging towards the merry men and swinging their swords in a dangerous way towards Millwall. A 20th minute shot took a big deflection off a Millwall shield, and as our Archer in goal could only look as the Forest attackers could smell blood, somehow the Gods were in our favour and the ball went over the bar.
After managing to evade this attack, Robin of Locksley’s men re-organised and took it to the Tricky Trees. Another arrow was fired towards the target from a Ben Marshall free-kick in the 22nd minute which Pantilimon theatrically pushed away from goal. This was before our Little John with the number 20 on his back linked up well with our Friar Tuck on the right-wing with a beautiful one-two which in the 28th minute nearly led to another goal.
Millwall were under no pressure from Nottingham Forest at all, and although Jordan Archer spilled a long-range effort in the 31st minute and Forest had another long shot wide in the 32nd minute, their arrows were going nowhere near the Lions and Maid Marian was staying at The Den. The Battle of Sherwood was effectively won in the 33rd minute when our merry men combined perfectly. A gorgeous cross from Ben Marshall was headed down to Steve Morison, who kindly gave his crossbow to Lee Gregory in the penalty box to unleash the killer blow. Expertly looking down the arrow, he pulled the trigger and it sailed into the centre ring and rippled the back of the Nottingham Forest net. The Lions were 2-0 up and the Millwall fans were in ecstasy. Little John also decided to join in on the act in the 38th minute when he skilfully played the ball around the wanting Forest winger, only to make the Sherriff’s man look helpless on the right wing. The half time whistle blew and just like the Disney classic, the Tricky Tree’s men were left covered in mud sucking their thumbs and crying for their mummy.
The second half turned into a scrappy affair, with Nottingham Forest’s men breaking rank and now not wanting to play in such a dramatic fashion. Seeing what they were trying to do, Shaun Hutchinson swung from the trees and into another crunching 50/50 tackle where he came out the victor as Millwall continued to snuff out the Sherriff’s attacks. Forest had a similar attack to the first half that was spilled by Jordan Archer in the 65th minute, but again their arrows would not strike the stacks of hay our goalkeeper was guarding and aimlessly sailed over the bar.
Not to be outdone by Hutchinson’s earlier heroics, Lee Gregory got involved in the battling action and he too swung from the trees into a 50/50 challenge. Connecting with the ball and putting it out for a throw in the 68th minute, Gregory continued to slip along the pitch and managed to slide into the technical area and off the playing surface of Sherwood Forest.
Millwall finished the half and the game totally in control, not allowing the Sherriff of Nottingham and his troops any foothold or the chance to play their game. Every arrow missed the target by quite a distance, and every attack with their swords and other medieval weapons was easily repelled.
George Saville came close twice to really finish the game. Firstly, in the 72nd minute his wild cross curled alarmingly close to Pantilimon’s goal and just missed the bull's eye before he had another opportunity to really defeat the army and ride off with Maid Marian into the sunlight in the 80th minute. He scrambled with the ball at his feet in the penalty area, but he could not get the ball out from his feet and deliver the killer shot.
The final whistle sounded and the Sherriff of Nottingham and his army on horseback rode back to their castle with their tails between their legs. Maid Marian and all the riches were with the Lions and we gave them to the poor of the electric sell-out townsfolk who cheered on their merry men.
Millwall are riding through the glen with his merry men, and the way we are going, we will be riding all the way to the top flight of English Football. Let’s hope we are there longer than when Bryan Adams was number one with the Kevin Costner soundtrack.
🏆 Man of the Match 🏆
Every cross hit the target today and a superb display from the Millwall winger. Everything I do, I do it for you and Marshall played with that in his head today. A flawless performance from the wide man.