|Venue: The Valley
|Easter 58, Lowry 64|
TWO goals in six second-half minutes sealed a memorable victory for Millwall over South London rivals Charlton at The Valley – their first in 21 years.
Jermaine Easter, who only joined the Lions on loan from Crystal Palace on Friday, scored with his first touch before Shane Lowry added a second goal with an outstanding long-range free-kick.
Three points in the Championship capped a memorable week for Kenny Jackett’s side, who progressed to the semi-finals of the FA Cup with a win against Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday.
New signing Richard Chaplow went straight into Millwall’s starting line-up after joining on loan from Southampton, with Andy Keogh dropping to the bench and Chris Taylor moving to right midfield.
Mark Beevers’ tenth booking of the season against Blackburn Rovers in midweek meant he would serve a two-match suspension and so Karleigh Osborne replaced him in the centre of defence.
Dany N’Guessan, who had a loan spell at Charlton last season, had the first meaningful effort of the game when he cut inside and fired a shot a yard wide of David Button’s right-hand post.
Bradley Pritchard stung the hands of David Forde with a powerful effort from the edge of the area, which the Lions ‘keeper initially spilled, before Danny Shittu blocked Johnnie Jackson’s volley.
Osborne had to be taken off after only 15 minutes and was replaced by Adam Smith following a hamstring injury he sustained tracking back to snuff out a dangerous opening for the home side.
Chances were few and far between in the opening 20 minutes but N’Guessan almost latched onto Smith’s teasing cross to break the deadlock, but the ball was inches too high for him.
Moments later, Yann Kermogant’s flick played in Danny Haynes, who burst through on goal, but the striker was denied by Forde’s well-timed sliding tackle.
And Forde came to the visitors’ rescue again shortly afterwards when he parried Addicks youngster Callum Harriott’s goal-bound shot behind his post for a corner.
With half-time fast approaching, N’Guessan’s cross into the area was headed down by Taylor into the path of Tottenham loanee Smith, who blasted wide from inside the box.
Charlton came flying out of the traps at the start of the second period and Shittu had to be alert to deny Haynes within minutes of the restart after the striker had got goal-side of the defence.
Moments later, Jack Smith gave away a free-kick on the edge of his own area from which Addicks targetman Kermorgant whipped a curling shot just wide of Forde’s goal.
Forde cut out another possible one-on-one after Lowry’s error before a Charlton corner fell to the feet of Harriott, who fired well over under pressure.
Chris Powell’s side spurned a glorious opportunity to break the deadlock when a deep cross from Rhoys Wiggins was met by Lawrie Wilson at the back post, but he somehow poked over.
And it was Millwall who took the lead two minutes before the hour mark when Chaplow’s cross was converted at the near post by Easter, making his second debut for the club.
The Lions doubled their lead when Australian defender Shane Lowry powered a 30-yard free-kick into the top corner, leaving ‘keeper David Button with absolutely no chance.
Millwall nearly made it 3-0 when Liam Trotter headed wide from Taylor’s free-kick, before substitute Ricardo Fuller volleyed tamely over from six yards after Shittu’s miscued clearance.
But the Addicks rarely looked like mounting a dramatic comeback and Jackett’s troops held on to claim a much-needed league win on the back of their FA Cup success.