Crystal Palace 0 Millwall 1

Last updated : 26 December 2003 By Footymad Previewer

Iain Dowie's first match in charge of Crystal Palace ended in a 1-0 defeat to South London rivals Millwall.

Neil Harris's fifth goal of the season in the 18th minute was enough to win it for the Lions. Harris caught Crystal Palace's defence square from Marvin Elliott's pass and finished well, lifting the ball over Thomas Myhre from a tight angle on the right. It was thier only effort on target.

Palace should have levelled immediately, Elliott's sloppy backpass was seized on by Andrew Johnson, who was felled by Millwall keeper Tony Warner, however, having only received a yellow card Warner made amends by saving well to his left from Johnson's right-foot penalty.

The little spell summed up Crystal Palace's day. They dominated virtually the whole game, but failed to find a way past Millwall's man of the match, Warner.

He made several good saves to deny first Michael Hughes then later Danny Butterfield, but kept his best for the hour mark as he somehow tipped away Michael Hughes' header, he was also lucky when he somehow turned Johnson's close-range shot, seconds from the end, on to the post.

When he was beaten, his woodwork, twice denied Palace. Kit Symons has never scored for Palace, but he came close shortly after Johnson's penalty miss when he crashed a close-range shot against the bar from a loose ball at a corner.

Millwall rode their luck particularly in the final 15 minutes. Wayne Routledge headed against the bar, Neil Shipperley headed just wide and Johnson's overhead kick ended similarly.

Iain Dowie was "bitterly disappointed" with the result but not his team's performance, saying: "There were lots of positives. I'm pleased with the display and the performance." Millwall's assistant Manager Ray Wilkins admitted his team had rode their luck and perhaps Warner was lucky to stay on when he felled Johnson.