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Football: Child's play as Marshall calls tune; Watford 0 Millwall 2.


MILLWALL manager Dave Tuttle led his side to their first win of 2006 - with the help of a hotline to his goalkeeper's wife!

With his other half Claire about to give birth to their first child, there were fears that Lions No.1 Andy Marshall might struggle to keep his mind on the game.

So boss Tuttle agreed to take Marshall's mobile into the dug-out and give him the chance to come off if his wife made the fateful call during the match.

Tuttle's secretarial skills were not required but Marshall is convinced the arrangement gave him the peace of mind to turn in a man-of-the-match display - including a stunning penalty save.

He explained: "It's a nervous time for all my family and all Claire's family, and she needs my support.

"I spoke to the management and they were great about it - and Tutts said he'd keep my phone with him.

"It meant I could fully concentrate on the game because I had total confidence that if something did happen they would let me know. I probably would have come off. My wife has supported me throughout my career so there is no way I would let her down at that point."

With Watford chasing Sheffield United for the second automatic promotion spot and Millwall desperate to leapfrog Sheffield Wednesday to safety, there was no shortage of motivation for both sides.

The Hornets enjoyed the bulk of the early pressure and looked to have made the breakthrough when ref Andy D'Urso pointed to the spot in the 26th minute. There was no doubt defender Zak Whitbread handled a long throw from Gavin Mahon, but his furious team-mates protested that he was pushed first.

Mahon himself stepped up to take the kick but Marshall threw himself full length to keep it out.

The keeper said: "I just went the right way and made the save. But it was never a penalty - Zak was clearly pushed in the back and he wasn't even looking at the ball at the time.

"His arm was thrown out because he was pushed and the referee got it wrong. So justice was done when they didn't score."

The let-off gave the south London boys renewed belief, and they created the next best chance of the first half when Barry Hayles and Alan Dunne carved open the home defence to tee up Carl Asaba only for the striker to prod wide.

Aidy Boothroyd's side came out all guns blazing after the break but Millwall held firm and went ahead on 66 minutes.

Jamie Vincent fed on-loan midfielder Colin Cameron and he rolled the ball across the 18-yard box to Asaba who slotted home.

The promotion-seekers surged forward in search of an equaliser and Ashley Young went close with a cross-cumshot that Marshall clawed out from under his crossbar.

The Lions sealed victory when substitute Ben May raced on to a David Livermore pass to score deep into injury time.

Spot-kick sinner Mahon said: "I didn't think we played badly. We looked comfortable but just couldn't get the first goal.

"I'm disappointed with the penalty - I scuffed it a bit.

"We knew it would be a battle - normally we win those battles but we couldn't make the breakthrough."


SHEFFIELD UTD: Apr 1 Stoke (a), Apr 8 Hull City (h), Apr 15 Cardiff (a), Apr 17 Leeds (h), Apr 22 Luton (a), Apr 30 C Palace (h).

WATFORD: Apr 1 C Palace (a), Apr 9 Luton (h), Apr 14 Wolves (a), Apr 17 Ipswich (h), Apr 22 QPR (a), Apr 30 Hull City (h).

LEEDS: Apr 1 Hull City (a), Apr 8 Plymouth (h), Apr 15 Reading (h), Apr 17 Sheff Utd (a), Apr 22 Crewe (h), Apr 30 Preston (a).

C PALACE: Apr 1 Watford (h), Apr 8 Leicester (a), Apr 15 Crewe (h), Apr 17 Burnley (a), Apr 22 So'ton (h), Apr 30 Sheff Utd (a).

PRESTON: Mar 28 Crewe (h), Apr 1 Coventry (a), Apr 8 Norwich (h), Apr 15 Leicester (a), Apr 17 Wolves (h), Apr 22 Hull City (a), Apr 30 Leeds (h).

WOLVES: Apr 1 Plymouth (a), Apr 8 Coventry (h), Apr 14 Watford (h), Apr 17 Preston (a), Apr 22 Brighton (h), Apr 30 Norwich (a).

CARDIFF: Apr 1 So'ton (a), Apr 8 Reading (h), Apr 15 Sheff Utd (h), Apr 17 Crewe (a), Apr 22 Norwich (h), Apr 30 Coventry (a).


BLOOMING MAY: Ben May celebrates the Millwall second with Marvin Williams' SAVIOUR: Andy Marshall denies Gavin Mahon with a fine penalty stop
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Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 27, 2006
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