Millwall 2-1 Charlton: Matt Smith seals derby win at The Den
Report and highlights from the Sky Bet Championship clash at The Den
Last Updated: 09/11/19 7:40pm
Striker Matt Smith came off the bench to net a stoppage-time winner as Millwall beat London rivals Charlton 2-1 at The Den.
In a game dominated by set-pieces, a sixth-minute header from captain Shaun Hutchinson put Millwall in front, but they were pegged back shortly after half-time by Jonathan Leko's smart finish.
The game looked to be petering out into a tame draw but Smith, brought on with just four minutes remaining, rose at the back post and powered the ball past Dillon Phillips to earn the hosts all three points.
Charlton have still not beaten Millwall in the league since 1996, when manager Lee Bowyer, then a teenager, was on the scoresheet.
And the visitors did not look like they had any hope of ending that run in the first 20 minutes, during which they were utterly overrun.
In an electric atmosphere, Millwall made a lightning-fast start, and almost took the lead after just four minutes, when Phillips flapped at a deflected cross which dropped for Jed Wallace, only for his powerful strike to be blocked.
Charlton's reprieve lasted only two minutes, though, as the home side's early pressure paid off from a free-kick.
Shaun Williams crossed from the right and somehow Hutchinson was left unmarked eight yards out to steer his header home.
Millwall then almost doubled their advantage after just nine minutes, with full-back Mahlon Romeo getting forward and unleashing a powerful drive from the edge of the box which forced Phillips into a good save.
But the visitors began to get a foothold in the game as the first half wore on, and went close twice.
First Josh Cullen tried a shot from the edge of the box, which Bartosz Bialkowski fumbled up and onto the bar, before clawing it away inches before it crossed the line.
The Millwall 'keeper then redeemed himself with a stunning save in first-half stoppage time, pushing Macauley Bonne's close-range volley over the bar.
Bialkowski was called into action again soon after half-time, this time pushing a Darren Pratley effort over, but from the resulting corner he was finally beaten.
After the first ball had been cleared, Charlton worked it back into the box where Leko was able to place his volley into the corner.
The equaliser stung Millwall into action, Ben Thompson forcing Phillips into a fine save following one corner, and Jake Cooper heading just wide from another.
As the minutes ticked by it seemed both sides were more concerned with avoiding defeat than chasing a winner.
That was until seconds from the end when Smith bullied his defender out of the way and headed the winner, sending the home fans delirious.
What the managers said...
Millwall's Gary Rowett: "As a manager you want to win 3-0 and have a really easy afternoon, but if you can't do that there's no more exciting way to win a local derby than in the last two or three minutes. It was a difficult game, Charlton are a good side. They've shown that this season.
"If you put quality into the box with Matt he's the best in the division in those scenarios. As soon as he comes onto the pitch the players have to avoid just hitting him from anywhere and lacking respect for him as a player. We've got to work it into better positions to get the cross."
Charlton's Lee Bowyer: "We have to defend better. We've lost this game on two set-pieces. Defending set-pieces is easy, you just make sure your man doesn't score. That's it. It's simple.
"But for some reason their man wanted to score more than our man wanted to defend. And their goalie obviously played really well, but to come away with nothing, that's ridiculous."