Millwall 1-0 Southend United
By Brian Jeeves
SOUTHEND United manager, Phil Brown, was angry with the performance of Premier League referee, Andre Marriner after the Blues suffered only their second Sky Bet League One defeat in eighteen outings against fellow promotion hopefuls, Millwall, at the Den.
Blues midfielder, Will Atkinson, was shown an early straight red card for a challenge on Millwall skipper, Tony Craig, while the Blues chief was equally unhappy with a decision that saw Craig appear to foul Jermaine McGlashan, but no penalty awarded by the West Midlands-based official.
“I think both decisions went against us, Brown said. “It was never a red card for me, it was a yellow card. Will is a genuine, honest player. He’s genuinely gone in for a challenge.
“Jermaine McGlashan has been abused because they thought he dived. He didn’t dive, it was a penalty. It’s as simple as that, so that’s two decisions that have gone against us.
“That would have got us something from the game. Maybe we could have won it had been 11v11, I’m not saying we would have done but maybe we could have won it.
“Millwall certainly started the game well. We knew what we were coming up against, we knew it wasn’t an easy place to come to and we were well prepared for that.”
Despite their numerical disadvantage, Southend remained in the contests until Fred Onyedinma nodded the Lions ahead just after the hour mark.
Brown added: “After 20 minutes I started saying to my players get your foot on the ball, start controlling the game which I thought we did and then the Will Atkinson incident completely turned the game on its head.”
“When you analyse the players that you’re playing, if you know there is maliciousness in their challenge then I can see referees giving red cards but there’s no malice in Will Atkinson’s game.
“There’s none, he’s a genuine kid. He’s all about energy, all about legs, he’s all about helping his team to win a game of football.
“He’s in tears at half time and apologising to people and we all, more or less, told him to shut up. It was a waste of time telling us you’re sorry, he shouldn’t be apologising.”
“Our challenge is now to finish above Millwall, it’s as simple as that. That’s the first challenge. We’ve been here twice, we’ve lost both games 1-0.
Millwall had knocked Southend out of the Emirates FA Cup at the Den back in November. Speaking about the two defeats Brown said: “We didn’t deserve to lose the first one on footballing principles and didn’t deserve to lose the second one on refereeing principles.”
Millwall: Archer, Cummings, Craig (C), Onyedinma, Wallace (Ferguson 70’), Butcher, Webster, Morison, O’Brien (Worrall 82’), Cooper, Abdou. Subs Not Used: King, Martin, Romeo, Smith, Donovan
Southend United: Smith, Coker, Wordsworth, Thompson, Timlin (McGlashan 78’), Cox (Nouble 85’), Atkinson, Fortune (Robinson 58’), Leonard, Demetriou, Ferdinand (C). Subs Not Used: Bexon, White, Amos, Inniss
Referee: Andre Marriner
Assistants: S Burt & R West
Fourth Official: M Wilkes