Hello and welcome to Sports Mole
's live text coverage of the FA Cup
fourth-round tie between Millwall
at The Den. The Hornets head into this match sitting 39 places above their London rivals in the English pyramid, but a run of just two wins in their last 11 games in all competitions - one of those coming against Burton Albion in the last round - has seen the pressure grow on boss Walter Mazzarri
Liverpool, Crystal Palace and Southampton were the three Premier League sides to drop out of the competition on Saturday afternoon, while Tottenham Hotspur required two late goals to overcome a valiant effort from Wycombe Wanderers. Credit also to Wolverhampton Wanderers and Oxford United who overcome Liverpool and Newcastle United respectively, but the result of the day belongs to Lincoln City who beat Brighton & Hove Albion 3-1 to create some club history.
Now it is the turn of Manchester United, Hull City and Watford - three teams with differing targets for the campaign, but three teams that will see anything other than victories today as a major disappointment. All focus over the next few hours will be on the Hornets, as they face rivals Millwall for the first time ever in this famous competition. Plenty to get through between now and kickoff, so let us check out some confirmed team news from The Den.
MILLWALL XI: Archer, Cummings, Webster, Craig, Cooper, Thompson, Williams, Onyedinma, Morison, Gregory, O'Brien
WATFORD XI: Pantilimon, Mariappa, Kaboul, Britos, Djedje, Doucoure, Watson, Guedioura, Mason, Okaka, Sinclair
Starting with a look at the home team, manager Neil Harris
has opted to go with an unchanged side from the one that battled to a draw with Bradford City last weekend. Centre-back Shaun Hutchinson has been struggling with a calf issue and has failed to shake that off in time to feature this afternoon, so Reading loanee Jake Cooper - handed his debut at Valley Parade - will again deputise in defence
Cooper enjoyed himself last week when making his Millwall bow, giving the Lions an assured presence at the back that may otherwise have been lacking in Hutchinson's absence. Jed Wallace has also come in on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers since the win over Bournemouth in the last round, but he has to settle for a place among the subs, while Adam Smith is struggling with a knock and misses out.
In terms of the visitors, Walter Mazzarri
has - perhaps unsurprisingly given what we saw from other top-flight sides on Saturday - made a raft of changes to his starting lineup. Seven alterations in all from the 2-2 draw with Bournemouth last weekend, including a first start for Adrian Mariappa since rejoining the club from Crystal Palace in the summer transfer window. His last run-out for the Hornets came five years ago!
Ben Watson also makes his first start since the EFL Cup tie with Gillingham in August, and the experienced midfielder captains this second-string Hornets side at The Den. Costel Pantilimon, Brice Dja Djedje, Adlene Guedioura, Brandon Mason and Jerome Sinclair are the other five players to come back into the fold, with the latter - linked with an array of Championship sides of late - among the goals in the last round against Burton.
Heurelho Gomes, Sebastian Prodl, Christian Kabasele, Etienne Capoue, Tom Cleverley, Jose Holebas and Troy Deeney are the seven players to make way from that meeting with Bournemouth last weekend. Holebas was ineligible to feature due to the accumulation of 10 yellow cards, and thus an automatic two-game ban, while new recruit Mauro Zarate also has to sit this one out - not that he would have started anyway - due to a suspension carried over from his time in Italy.
A little surprised to see Deeney sit this one out, with Mazzarri requiring a win to keep supporters on his side. The Englishman, who recently bagged his milestone 100th goal at Vicarage Road, has five in 24 this term - two of those coming in his last five. As it is, Stefano Okaka again has a chance to impress in the Watford attack, while Sinclair could make his last appearance for the club for some time if recent press reports are to be believed.
MILLWALL SUBS: King, Romeo, Ferguson, Martin, Abdou, Worrall, Wallace
WATFORD SUBS: Gomes, Prodl, Cleverley, Deeney, Cathcart, Janmaat, Capoue
Certainly an experienced bench for Watford, as they can call upon the likes of Capoue, Cleverly, Cathcart and Deeney. In terms of the hosts, third-round goalscorer Shane Ferguson remains among the subs and recent signing Wallace could also play a part at some stage if called upon. No place in the squad for Zarate and Holebas as far as the Hornets are concerned, as both miss out through suspension.
Watford manager Walter Mazzarri becomes the latest Premier League chief to chop and change his side in the FA Cup, making seven changes in all from the draw with Bournemouth last time out. Adrian Mariappa is among those to come in - his first appearance for the Hornets since returning to the club from Crystal Palace last summer. Millwall are unchanged, meanwhile, with loanee Jake Cooper continuing to deputise for Shaun Hutchinson in the heart of defence.
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Millwall with a chance to continue the feel-good factor around the club this afternoon, then, just days after it was announced that a compulsory purchase order for land around their Den home had been rejected. The whole affair - too complicated to go into right now - is not quite over just yet, but for now attention can turn back towards putting together another cup run to match that of 2004 when making it all the way to the final of this competition.
The Lions hit a dismal run of form in September and early October that looked likely to cost them a chance of putting together a run for the playoffs; a run that included two draws and then four defeats in succession. They have since recovered and are now unbeaten in six, although each of their last three games - all away from home - have ended in draws. They are still very much in the top-six picture, though, sitting five points off their target for the season.
Millwall face fellow playoff chasers Southend and Rochdale over the next few weeks, which should give a clearer indication as to how realistic their hopes of a return to the Championship really are. In terms of their FA Cup prospects, they have already made it through three rounds to make it this far to get here, beating Southend 1-0, Braintree 5-2 and, most impressive of the lot, Bournemouth 3-0 in the last round.
Cherries boss Eddie Howe was criticised following that defeat here earlier this month, but he argued that the side fielded was still good enough to see off mid-table League One opposition. He certainly had a point, but how often do we see Premier League sides rotate their squad and come unstuck against the so-called minnows of the English system. Mazzarri may learn that the hard way over the next couple of hours, with his side showing seven changes from last time out.
DID YOU KNOW? Millwall reached the final in 2004 when famously going all the way only to come unstuck against giants of the competition Manchester United. A 3-0 defeat in Cardiff may have been tough to take but it certainly provided memories for a lifetime, although it was hardly a one-off in terms of putting together a run in this competition as they also reached the final four in 2013. Prior to that, they last made it that far in 1937.
Manager Neil Harris
was among the players on that fateful day in Cardiff 13 years ago, and he is now plotting to take the Lions into round five of the FA Cup for the third time in six years - not bad for a team that has spent all but two years of its existence outside of the top flight. Their win over Bournemouth at the start of this month was just their second against top-flight opposition in 11 attempts, though, with the other coming against Aston Villa in round four in 2013.
Millwall, who have now been selected as the home side in each of their last seven FA Cup matches, may come into this game as underdogs - there are 39 places between the sides, after all - but the fact that they so easily brushed aside Bournemouth in round three, coupled with their opponents this time around also going with a largely second-string side, you have to fancy them to pull off another upset today.
Millwall hit a sticky patch of form in September and early October, drawing two and losing four of their games, but since then they have managed to recover and head into this match unbeaten in six League One games. The Lions' playoff aspirations remain on track, with big games against fellow hopefuls Southend and Rochdale to come next month, but manager Neil Harris - a part of the squad that made it to the 2004 final - will be dreaming of another cup run.
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Watford are positioned 14th in the Premier League with close to two thirds of the campaign now played, but that is seen largely as a disappointed as they were well positioned to challenge for a European berth just a couple of months back. Victory over champions Leicester City lifted the Hornets right on the heels of a Europa League berth, though one win in 10 since then has seen them continually fall down the table.
It is a run of form that has seen boss Mazzarri come under pressure, but it should be mentioned that the Pozzo's have backed the under-fire chief by giving him further funds in the January window. Mazzarri stressed earlier this month that he was brought to the club in the summer to merely retain their Premier League status, which he is confident the Hornets are on track to achieving. Survival may be the aim, but will that really be enough to appease supporters?
Three points from the last 21 on offer, two of those coming in successive games this month, has left Watford eight above the drop zone and looking over their shoulder at the bottom three. With away games against Arsenal and Manchester United to come in two of their next three league outings, it is likely that matters will get worse before they get better at Vicarage Road. They have managed to bring in Niang and Zarate on initial loan deals, though - two big coups for the club.
Odion Ighalo, a player who top scored in English football a couple of years back, looks likely to depart for the Far East in a mammoth transfer. That will free up funds to potentially bring in another big-name player to go alongside Niang and Zarate, though there is as ever a risk of those players taking time to settle in. In terms of their FA Cup prospects, Watford beat Burton Albion 2-0 in the last round with a comprehensive display, secured by goals from Kabasele and Sinclair.
Watford have progressed from 11 of their last 22 games against lower-league opposition in this competition, with the exception being a 1-0 reverse to Brighton & Hove Albion in 2011. They are into the fourth round for the fifth time in six seasons, meanwhile, and have won five of their last six games in the FA Cup. Just three goals have been shipped during that time, too, as they reached the final last term to add to their three semi-final appearances since the turn of the century.
PREVIOUS MEETINGS! These two sides have met on 102 occasions before, but have never previously faced off in the FA Cup. Watford have lost only one of the last 10 meetings - all coming in the Championship - winning seven of those matches. Millwall's only win in the last decade came here in April 2013; Shaun Batt scoring the only goal of the game on that occasion.
With kickoff in South London now a little over five minutes away, it is a good time to view some pre-match thoughts from both camps.
Neil Harris: "It's an opportunity for my players to test themselves. This time we are playing one of the big Premier League boys on national TV. I don't think my players will be under pressure because I have told them to go out and enjoy themselves. We are seeing this as a free hit and an opportunity to cause Watford some problems. The beauty of the FA Cup is we have a chance to cause an upset."
Walter Mazzarri: "I want to say that the club has given a very important message and a very important sign by signing these two players [Zarate and Niang]. I know for a fact that very big clubs in the UK and outside of the UK wanted them. They are two great players with very important qualities. For sure they will help us in the right part of the pitch and help my type of game."
"A free hit-and-run opportunity", says Harris, who acknowledges - in his own way - that this is a nothing to lose occasion for his League One side. Mazzarri, under more pressure to succeed at Watford, has talked up the signings of Zarate and Niang over the past week or so that has certainly given the club a little lift. The league form since mid-November is a worry but, with victory today and a place in the last 16, all of a sudden things are not so bleak.
The two teams are now out on the field of play, with kickoff at The Den just a couple of minutes away. A good feel to this cup tie, as a promotion-chasing League One side takes on a potentially relegation-threatened Premier League team. Thirty-nine places between them, but that two-division gap between them may disappear come May if the recent fortunes of both continues. Can the Lions pull off another shock? It is nearly time to find out...
KICKOFF! We are up and running at The Den, where Watford - managed by Italian cup winner Mazzarri - are looking to make a bright start in front of their travelling army of supporters. Millwall need to keep things tight in these early stages.
OFF THE BAR! Incredible! Less than 20 seconds into the match and Gregory sends Morison's right-sided cross against the bar. The forward, if we're being critical, should have been sticking that into the net from five yards out.
Gregory is played through on goal but is marginally flagged for offside. The Lions have started this match in style, already creating one killer chance that the former Halifax man failed to put away from close range.
The match has settled down a little more since that fast Millwall start. Still the hosts on top, though, belying the 39 positions between the two sides. Gregory in particular has looked bright, showing why he was so highly regarded in the past.
A corner is heading straight for the far corner of the net if not for a clearance on the line, but the referee had already blown his whistle for an infringement. Gregory appeared to back into Pantilimon and a free kick is awarded to the visitors.
CLOSE! Millwall dominating this game early on as, after Tony Craig's deflected shot was helped over the bar by Pantilimon, Cooper powered the subsequent corner narrowly wide of the target. They may rue not taking these chances.
A very slow start for the Premier League visitors, which is not all that surprising considering the raft of changes made. Struggling to get out of their own half in these lively opening 11 minutes in South London.
Thirteen minutes of this fourth-round tie now played at The Den, and it is the home side who have dominated things. One shot against the bar, another helped over the bar and a powerful header sent wide by loan defender Cooper.
The Lions playing some good football, with Onyedinma getting the better of Britos but failing to slip it through for Cummings on the overlap. The wideman did the hard work, though the simple part of the attack evaded him.
Watford have seen more of the ball than their opponents over the past five minutes or so, but all they have to show for it is a poorly-struck Guedioura attempt well wide of Archer's goal. He was among the scorers here when the sides last met.
The visitors' play has become a little disjointed over the past few minutes, with a number of passes failing to find their intended target. Mazzarri will certainly be happy with the way his side have grown into things but they have still yet to create anything.
A stray pass is nearly latched on to by Morison, but Watford's defence just about get things together to clear their lines. The home fans inside a far-from-full Den feed off the pressing from their players to urge them on.
Millwall happy to sit back at the moment because, for all their passing in midfield, there is not a great deal of attacking intent on show from the visitors. The best chances of the match so far have fallen the Lions' way.
CLOSE! Watford's best moment of the match so far, as a lovely Guedioura free kick into the box comes off the head of Cummings and brushes the far post on its way through. The Hornets finally managing to step things up now.
Nearly a third of the match now played and, while Watford have certainly improved over the past five or 10 minutes, they are still not really out of second gear. Millwall comfortable enough at this stage in proceedings.
Okaka finds some space, but he is quickly closed down by four Millwall players. The initial challenge to win the ball was superb, before a mixture of the other three players sent him crashing to the ground. Welcome to The Den, and all that...
Still yet to officially have a shot on target in the opening 31 minutes, with that earlier Craig attempt heading for the crossbar before it was helped over. Seen the upright hit twice, though, once at either end of the pitch.
This match is turning into a bit of a slow burner following that lively start. Millwall have the smallest of shouts for a penalty on Britos, but the contact on Morison was minimal. A pretty even match on the whole.
CHANCE! A bigger call for Atkinson to make now, as Sinclair went to ground as he was preparing to strike the ball around eight yards out. Was contact made from Millwall midfielder Williams? Hard to tell even after seeing a replay.
This game has sparked back into life all of a sudden. Moments after that penalty shout, Millwall were up the other end and nearly finding a breakthrough. Pantilimon was closed down by Gregory but, thankfully for him, Mariappa was there to clear up.
Pantilimon failed to get back up after that collision with Gregory and he will be replaced by Gomes once the medical staff get him on the stretcher. Just seen another replay of that penalty incident - Sinclair kicked the floor, rather than being caught by Williams.
WATFORD SUB! A real blow for Pantilimon when given a chance to impress. Almost certainly ligament damage because he is in a real bad way. Gomes, a finalist with Tottenham not so long ago, is on in his place.
Far from ideal for either side, with play disrupted for a good five minutes. Gomes in particular - always prone to an error in the past - will need to settle for these next two minutes, plus a healthy slice of added time.
Six minutes of time have been added on at the end of the first half at The Den. Kickoff was delayed for four minutes for some reason or other, so a later finish than anticipated in South London. Plenty of time for a breakthrough goal here.
SAVE! Superb stop from Gomes, just five minutes after coming on. A classic Millwall attack, as Morison nods down for Gregory to blast on target. A real top save from the Brazilian, from the best moment of the match in a long, long time.
Millwall ending this half on top, with Morison's flicked headed at the front post being helped behind for another corner. That one really could have gone anywhere, but thankfully for Watford it was wide of the target.
HALF TIME: MILLWALL 0-0 WATFORD
Watford keeper Gomes is unhappy about a challenge on him from Webster - the final act of the first half. A decent enough first half on the whole, that started well and ended well but had a quiet patch in the middle. Millwall have been the better side, hitting the crossbar just 20 seconds in and forcing Gomes into a big stop just a few minutes ago.
The hosts were quicker out of the blocks, belying the 39 places between these two sides in the English pyramid by putting together an attack just 20 seconds in that ended with Lee Gregory helping a Steve Morison cross on to the crossbar. Millwall continued to press for a breakthrough goal, with Tony Craig the next to come close to doing so as his deflected shot was helped over the bar by Costel Pantilimon.
Watford were seeing plenty of the ball in the first half but not doing a great deal with it, though they did fashion a chance through a dangerous Adlene Guedioura free kick that Shaun Cummings - a goalscorer against Bournemouth here in the last round - glanced against his own upright. The Hornets also had a shout for a penalty turned down 10 minutes before the break when Jerome Sinclair went to ground before pulling the trigger, though replays show that referee Martin Atkinson got the call spot on as the forward kicked the floor.
A six-minute stoppage in play followed for Pantilimon to receive some treatment, having been caught by Gregory when both players closed down a loose ball. Pantilimon was unable to continue, yet Heurelho Gomes stepped in and produced the save of the match to keep out an acrobatic strike from Gregory on the brink of half time. Plenty still to play for, then, with another 45 minutes to go.
MILLWALL SUBS: King, Romeo, Ferguson, Martin, Abdou, Worrall, Wallace
WATFORD SUBS: Gomes, Prodl, Cleverley, Deeney, Cathcart, Janmaat, Capoue
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RESTART! We are back up and running at The Den, with neither side making a change at the break. Just like in the first half, Millwall have a huge chance 20 seconds in. Morison's knockdown is smashed over the bar by an unmarked Gregory.
Millwall have certainly had their chances this afternoon, three of which particularly stand out. You have to wonder how costly those misses could prove to be, with Watford boasting some quality options on the bench - Deeney among them.
Almost a chance from nothing for the visitors, as a loose ball just about evades Okaka in front of goal. Mazzarri will surely be thinking about bringing on one his back-up options as we approach the hour mark.
Still waiting for this second half to settle into a rhythm, though much like in the first half - which also saw a big early change for Gregory - the hosts are faring better. Two shots on target all match, both falling to the Lions.
Mason with a fine cross into the box, which required any sort of touch from Okaka to take it past Archer. The drilled delivery went straight through in the end, giving the so-far untested Millwall keeper a real scare.
PENALTY APPEAL! A second serious penalty appeal for Watford is turned down by Martin Atkinson. Guedioura sends yet another dangerous cross into the box, but Okaka fails to get on the end of it as he is seemingly pulled to ground.
Having seen a replay of that incident, it is fair to say Millwall got away with one then. To make matters worse for the Hornets, Dja Djedje takes an elbow to the face and the stretcher is again summoned. Another stoppage in play awaits.
It looked to be a real scare for Brice Dja Djedje, who was down on the ground for a good couple of minutes with the stretcher alongside him. Incredibly, he has been given the green light to continue playing so he clearly was not concussed.
A decent cross into the Millwall box - Watford's best route to goal on the basis of the past hour - is punched clear by Archer. The Lions' stopper just glad that no player in yellow was stood on the penalty spot to pounce on the loose ball.
A shake of the head from Mazzarri and some sort of Italian expletive as a free kick in a great crossing position is worked short. At least that was the plan - it is sent straight down the line for a goal-kick, leaving the Watford boss furious.
YELLOW CARD! All very sloppy again, which is not all that surprising considering we had another fairly lengthy stoppage in play. A first yellow of the match is shown to Miguel Britos for halting the run of pacey attacker Onyedinma.
Thompson with the cleanest strike of the ball you will likely see, but it is blasted straight into an opposition player on the edge of the box. A little over 20 minutes to go now and still no real sign of that elusive opening goal.
WATFORD SUB! Mazzarri makes his second change of the game, bringing on Daryl Janmaat for Dja Djedje. Deeney is still among the subs for the Hornets, who are desperately lacking the added quality in attack.
Really good play down the right-hand side from Onyedinma, who is proving to be the hosts' most impressive performer in the second half. His cross is just about cut out at the front post and Gomes is on hand to collect the loose ball.
MILLWALL SUBS! O'Brien and Onyedinma are replaced by Ferguson and Wallace for these final 15 minutes. The former scored in the 3-0 rout of Bournemouth here earlier this month, while the latter joined on loan following that match.
Cooper with a fine challenge on Sinclair, who was clean through on goal if not for the timely intervention. Pressure building on Millwall all of a sudden, but Watford still unable to create an opening to test Archer.
WATFORD SUB! Around 20 minutes later than expected - or 78 minutes for those who expected him to start - Deeney is finally introduced in this goalless fourth-round tie. Jerome Sinclair, given scraps to feed off, is the man to make way.
Just the one real attempt in this second half - Gregory blasting high over the bar when picked out unmarked about 20 seconds in. Watford, incredibly, have had just one shot all afternoon - even that failed to test Archer.
YELLOW CARD! A poor challenge from Mason on Wallace earns him the game's second yellow card. Millwall wanted more but referee Martin Atkinson got that one correct - not enough in it for a dismissal.
SAVE! A rare save for Gomes to make, as he punches away Morison's flicked attempt on goal. With six minutes of normal time to play it is the League One hosts who are looking just about the more likely to find a breakthrough.
GOAL! MILLWALL 1-0 WATFORD (STEVE MORISON)
At long, long last we have a breakthrough goal at The Den! Morison, who has won almost every header he has gone for today, smashes past Gomes with a first-time shot at the back post. Watford now have three minutes to rescue a replay.
GOAL DISALLOWED! Webster thought that he had settled the match when bundling the ball over the line at the back post. The referee spotted a handball, though, and was quick to rule it out. Wallace then charges at the Watford backline and is only denied by Gomes.
YELLOW CARD! Atkinson shows a yellow card to Abdoulaye Doucoure for clattering into his opponent. Millwall the more likely to bag a second at the moment, with six minutes of added time to play in South London.
Brilliant block from Webster to deny Deeney's goalbound shot from close range. Millwall not having to sit back and protect their lead, as Kaboul sees his headed attempt blocked aside. Superb effort from the hosts, but not over just yet.
Harris will be pleased by the way added time is panning out, as Watford are struggling to create any openings - much like in the 90 minutes before it. Wallace has been shown a yellow for delaying play, with 60 seconds now left to go.
FULL TIME: MILLWALL 1-0 WATFORD
The game is brought to a close, meaning a place in round five of the FA Cup for the third time in six years as far as Millwall are concerned. Watford, showing seven changes from last weekend, failed to turn up as they registered just the one shot on target all afternoon. The visitors did have a strong penalty appeal turned down but their opponents will feel that Steve Morison's late winner was justified.
That concludes Sports Mole
's live text coverage of events at The Den. An on-the-whistle report can be found by clicking here
, while updates of the fourth-round tie between Sutton United and Leeds United can be found here