Penalty decisions were the major talking points for two of London’s teams; Charlton and Millwall were both denied penalties resulting in lost points for both clubs and rued opportunities to move away from the relegation zone.
In the game at the New Den, Millwall continued without their influential midfielder Nick Bailey, but introduced Steve Morison back to starting line up and it was Morison who had an immediate impact on the match. Having started brightly, the Lions took an early lead with a superb finish from the Welsh international in the 8th minute. It wasn’t long before Morison was close to doubling the lead when he dragged the ball just wide of Darlow’s right-hand post. However, with Forest having scored in every away game this season, the inevitable happened when in the 37th minute Andy Reid planted a left footed shot into the bottom corner from all of 30 yards.
Millwall grabbed a second goal to take the lead once again; however the turning point came just before the 60th minute as Lee Martin was bundled to the ground in front of goal. As the fans looked towards the referee for a decision, his verdict was not the one they hoped for as he waved play on. This decision proved costly as Chelsea loanee Chalobah rose highest to punish the second worst defence in the league with a header to equalise and thus the game ended 2-2.
Over in west London, Harry Redknapp pitted his wits against former club, and Championship newcomers, Bournemouth. Having spent 11 years as manager of the south coast club – describing the club as being close to his heart – the game offered a good opportunity for Rangers to gain some valuable points in the race for promotion to the Premier League.
Tom Carroll and Junior Hoilett both recovered from injuries to start for the London outfit in a team which saw three changes from the surprise defeat against Doncaster. It was the tricky winger, Hoilett who scored the second goal which saw a comfortable win for the Hoops. The icing on the cake came from fantastic solo effort from Matt Phillips, coming off the bench, to wrap the three points up and send the 1467 travelling fans back to Bournemouth empty handed.
Meanwhile, Watford travelled up to Lancashire to play against former manager Sean Dyche’s Burnley side. A disappointing 3-0 loss against Yeovil saw some calls for manager Gianfranco Zola to be sacked. With no win in six before the start of play, an improved performance from the Hornets saw them grind out a 0-0 draw.
In the last of our midweek games involving a London team, Charlton travelled to Nigel Adkins’ Reading. Having been poor in front of goal this season – scoring just 14 times in 17 games – it was with little surprise that Charlton were unable to break the deadlock in this game. The Royals took the lead when Billy Sharp was set up by the young German-born midfield Danny Williams. However not long before the Addicks conceded, there was controversy as Simon Church, against his former club, was looked to be brought down in the penalty area only for the referee to decide otherwise.
The vocal Charlton fans thought they had found a way back into the game in the second half when Sordell diverted a Wiggins shot into the net only for the flag to be raised for offside. As a result the penalty decision proved to be a crucial moment in the game as despite their best efforts Charlton could not breach the Reading defence and succumbed to their fourth defeat in five matches.