Vaughan earns first win of the season
James Vaughan continued his hot streak in front of goal to earn Town their first win of the season at Millwall.
The striker scored his fourth goal in three games to succumb Millwall to their third defeat of the season. The goal, which came after Town had passed up a number of good openings, arrived in the 57th minute from the boot of Adam Hammill and head of James Vaughan.
The win was Town’s first at the Den since 2007 when Andy Booth and Malvin Kamara scored in a 2-1 victory.
Town made one change to the team that drew with QPR last week. Jonathan Hogg, who missed out through illness, returned in place of Oscar Gobern, who had to settle for a place on the bench.
Both Oliver Norwood and Martin Paterson started on the back of their midweek international exploits for Northern Ireland, with the latter leading the line with top scorer James Vaughan.
Millwall Captain Danny Shittu had looked suspect up against Jermaine Beckford last season and it appeared from the opening exchanges that Town would try and target him. Paterson, fresh from an international goal, was playing off the powerful defender’s shoulder and almost got in behind in the third minute.
The Lions’ new Manager Steve Lomas was already under pressure following two defeats in the League, but his side showed no signs of negativity during the opening stages with Jermaine Easter having a strike ruled out in the fourth minute following a foul in the box.
To add to that, they should have been ahead a few minutes later when on loan striker Steve Morison rose highest in the box, but failed to even find the target with his header.
As in Town’s opening three games, James Vaughan was providing the Terriers’ main attacking threat and he possibly should have done better with a header in the 13th minute. He went closer in the 27th minute, though, when he did superbly to tussle ahead of Shittu and latch onto Adam Hammill’s long ball before seeing his shot on the stretch well saved.
Between Vaughan’s efforts, Shaun Derry had blasted over from close range after Town had failed to deal with a corner.
Morison and Norwood then exchanged efforts before Clayton’s ball over the top once again freed Paterson in behind Shittu, but once again Bywater was on hand to block the striker’s shot.
Millwall began the second 45 with far more impetus and after Jermaine Easter had wriggled free of Peter Clarke James Henry curled an effort away from Alex Smithies’ goal.
Town, who hadn’t been at their fluent best during the opening forays of the second half, made the breakthrough their first half display had deserved in the 57th minute – and of course it came courtesy of James Vaughan. Paterson had done well to earn the Terriers a corner following sloppy Millwall play at the back and from it the striker bulleted a header home from Hammill’s cross.
Hammill’s work was done for the day and he was replaced by Calum Woods as Mark Robins looked to protect the lead. Sean Scannell was also in the action after replacing Paterson and his clever run off Shittu with twenty minutes to go allowed Clayton space to drive and force Bywater into a smart low save.
Moments later the midfielder passed up a great opportunity to double the lead. Faced one on one with Shittu courtesy of Norwood’s pass, Clayton tried to dribble past the defender instead of shooting and was marshalled clear of danger.
The home side flashed a number of balls across Town’s box and Morison had another header comfortably saved by Smithies, but they never really looked like troubling the stopper as the Terriers defended stoutly to record their first three points of the season.
Town’s team (3-5-2):
Alex Smithies; Joel Lynch, Anthony Gerrard, Peter Clarke (c); Jake Carroll, Oliver Norwood (Oscar Gobern, 86), Jonathan Hogg, Adam Clayton, Adam Hammill (Calum Woods, 65); Martin Paterson (Sean Scannell, 56), James Vaughan
Ian Bennett, Danny Ward, Jon Stead, Jack Hunt
Millwall bookings: Danny Shittu, 89
Town bookings: Alex Smithies, 82