Millwall 1 Crewe 1

Last updated : 27 August 2003 By Footymad Previewer

Millwall surrendered their 100 per cent record but had Noel Whelan to thank for rescuing a barely deserved point with a last gasp equaliser against Crewe Alexandra.

Dario Gradi's Division One newcomers weathered an early storm before taking control as Mark McGee's Lions ran out of ideas at the New Den.

With winger Paul Ifill ruled out through injury and Steven Reid having departed to Blackburn for £2.5million, Millwall lacked the pace and width to make any impression, it was the Railwaymen who looked more likely to score before the interval.

Millwall redoubled their efforts after the break and nearly gained their reward on 54 minutes when Neil Harris' trickery took him to the byline and he delivered a pinpoint cross for Tim Cahill. The Aussie midfielder looked certain to score but Crewe keeper Clayton Ince miraculously deflected his downward header over the bar.

It proved a turning point as the visitors went up the other end to take the lead thanks to an error from Lions keeper Tony Warner.

The ex-Liverpool custodian charged recklessly off his line only to belt his clearance into defender Darren Ward and Dean Ashton provided an exquisite finish to give Crewe the lead.

Ince was proving the difference and again he denied Cahill with 15 minutes left after Andy Roberts' dummy had released him.

But Whelan answered the New Den's prayers with a deft glancing header from Cahill's cross with a minute remaining.

And Dennis Wise even had the opportunity to claim all three points in stoppage time only to fire weakly at Ince.

"I thought Dennis (Wise) had scored, but it would have been hard on them if we had won it at the death - Crewe didn't deserve to lose," said McGhee.

He added "We made an absolutely catastrophic blunder that gifted them a goal although the boy finished it well from where he was. Fortunately, we got the goal I thought we'd get, albeit late." Crewe boss Gradi said: "I didn't think Millwall threatened much, although it didn't look like we were going to score in the first half either I would have settled for a point before the game but was obviously disappointed to concede a late goal."