Trouble in the stands as Hull beat Milwall
Hull City 2 Millwall 0
Published 25/01/2009 | 13:35
Hull manager Phil Brown admits he sees the FA Cup as a distraction as he seeks to preserve his team's place in the Premier League and given that it took 105 years for the club to reach the top flight that is understandable.
He will have to pay lip-service to Wembley dreams for a while longer yet, after goals from Michael Turner and Ian Ashbee won Hull a place in the fifth round for the first time in 20 years.
It was not a spectacularly exciting tie, played out in an atmosphere that would have been a little subdued but for a large and noisy contingent from South London. There was a threatening undercurrent to their behaviour throughout and problems occurred at the end, with missiles thrown as police tried to disperse rival groups in one corner of the stadium. A number of arrests were made but Hull declined to comment on possible recriminations.
On the field, Millwall, promotion contenders in League One, produced some bright, positive football that spoke well of their prospects but did not possess enough quality where it mattered. Hull's victory is only their second in nine matches, the other having come in the third-round replay at Newcastle. Brown, perhaps, should be respectful of the competition for that fact alone.
In a team showing six changes from the one beaten at home by Arsenal last weekend there was a debut for Manucho, the Angolan striker, who is on loan from Manchester United. One suspects, though, that the dynamic Jimmy Bullard, paraded on the field pre-match after his £5 million arrival from Fulham, will be the more important acquisition.
The goals that decided things came after 15 minutes, when Turner stooped to head home Andy Dawson's free-kick, and after 84, when Daniel Cousin's pass set up Ashbee to find the top corner from 25 yards.
"It was a good professional performance against a team whose game plan made it difficult for us," Brown said. "Hopefully, we can take some confidence from this into the match at West Ham on Wednesday."
Millwall, whose best chance was hooked wide by Marc Laird just before half-time, were almost handed a gift when their former goalkeeper, Tony Warner, took his eye off a backpass with Izale McLeod ready to take advantage. He had to fall on the ball to atone, giving away a free-kick. Fortunately for him, it came to nothing.
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Man of the match: Ashbee