A last-minute goal from Darius Henderson denies Wanderers a draw The Den
A cruel last-minute goal denied Bolton as Darius Henderson's brace helped Millwall grab a 2-1 win at The Den.
The former Watford man buried low left-footed strike just moments before the final whistle after Wanderers had previously clawed their way back from being a goal down at half-time.
Henderson’s deflected opener on 18 minutes ensured that it was the hosts who took a slender lead into the interval.
But Wanderers soon regained parity after the break when Chris Eagles buried a low free-kick from just outside the area.
Eagles had the opportunity to net his second from the penalty spot on 60 minutes, but this time his and Wanderers’ luck was out as his spot-kick was hammered over the bar, leaving Millwall to snatch the three points in the dying moments of the game.
Millwall slightly edged the first half and took the narrowest of leads into the break following Henderson’s deadlock breaking strike on 18 minutes.
The hosts did have the ball in the net before they took the lead when former Wanderers defender Danny Shittu powered his way through a ruck of bodies, but his header early on was chalked-off for a push on Bogdan.
There was seemingly very little that Bolton’s Hungarian goalkeeper could do for the opening goal. After collecting the ball on the right touchline, Henderson drifted in field before hitting an effort goalwards, through a crowd of bodies. The ball appeared to take a nick of a Wanderers defender on its route through to the back of the net.
Wanderers’ response to going a goal behind was encouraging. The fit again David Ngog’s volley flew across goal, while big appeals for a penalty were turned down when Kevin Davies’ shot from the edge of the area appeared to strike a Millwall defender on the hand inside the penalty box, yet referee Gavin Ward saw otherwise.
Eagles, recently named the club’s player of the month for the second time in succession, was reliably causing problems for the Millwall defence. The winger blazed just wide after fooling two defenders with a clever piece of skill, while in the minutes leading up to half-time, goalkeeper David Forde made his best contribution of the first 45 minutes when he acrobatically tipped another Eagles effort behind for a corner.
Likewise, Millwall were constantly a threat and twice they came close to doubling their lead, first through Scott Malone and also when Chris Wood headed wide from just five yards out.
Wood, on loan from West Bromwich Albion, found himself in a similar position just moments after the restart, but his time he was denied by a top-draw sprawling save from Bogdan.
Two minutes later and Wanderers were level as Chris Eagles scored yet another free-kick – his fifth of the season, the third of which was from a set-piece situation.
After Mark Davies was upended on the edge of the box, the former Burnley man went for power and placement, hitting the ball under the wall and into the back of the net.
Wanderers now had the momentum and Eagles continued to be at the source of everything positive. He was inches away from making it 2-1 when latching onto Kevin Davies’ right-winged cross and, indeed, he had another golden opportunity to put Bolton ahead, this time from the spot on the hour-mark.
After being chopped down inside the area by Jimmy Abou, Eagles once again went for power. However, this time his effort lacked accuracy and the penalty sailed over the crossbar.
That moment of misfortune from 12 yards seemed to sway the impetus back in Millwall’s favour. Henderson forced Bogdan into a fine save from 25-yard free-kick and Malone saw an ambitious volley from outside the box fly wide.
As the game ticked into the final quarter, both managers sent on a string of substitutes as they searched for the goal that would win the game.
Afobe and Pratley were thrust on by Coyle, with the latter finding himself in a promising position after a surging run from midfield. However, when facing goalkeeper Dunne, he opted to play the ball into the six-yard box after judging the angle was too acute for a shot.
Cruelly for Bolton, the third and decisive goal of the game was scored by Millwall in the 90th minute.
The hardworking Henderson collected a low cross from the right before taking the ball in his stride and firing low past Bogdan from the edge of the box with his left foot.
As the fourth official signalled five minutes of stoppage time, Chung-Yong Lee was introduced to try and salvage a point. But there was to be no second equaliser as Millwall clung on to their slender lead.
Millwall: Forde, Dunne, Shittu, Trotter, Henderson, Henry (Taylor 72), Beevers, Smith (Batt 84), Abdou, Malone, Wood (Keogh 72) (Subs not used: Taylor, Wright, Racon, Mkandawire)
Wanderers: Bogdan, Mears, Mills, Knight, Warnock, Eagles, Spearing (Chung-Yong 90), Andrews (Pratley 78), Mark Davies, Ngog (Afobe 70) Kevin Davies (Subs not used: Lonergan, Ream, Ricketts, Sordell)