Millwall 0 Tranmere Rovers 0

By Footymad Previewer
Last updated : 07 March 2004

John Achterberg was the Tranmere Rovers hero with a penalty save to earn Brian Little's side a goalless draw in their FA Cup sixth round clash at Millwall.

The Dutchman capped a wonderful individual display with a 75th minute block to keep out Kevin Muscat's spot-kick, after Tim Cahill had been pushed to the ground by Ryan Taylor.

And Rovers boss Little was delighted that his hard-working goalkeeper was able to grab his moment in the spotlight.

"John gets into training every morning at 8am and goes in the gym on his own before training and that penalty save is just reward for him," Little revealed.

"He is one of the most dedicated players I have known since John Burridge and he has people take penalties at him most days after training.

"We decided to leave him out of our midweek match because he was 50-50 and he had to have an injection to play in this game, but I think it shows we made the right decision because he made one or two great saves as well as the penalty.

"It is true that maybe we could have been well behind at half-time, but we knew that the longer it went on without them scoring the more frustrated they would get." Indeed the home side totally dominated for the first 45 minutes and only another world-class save by Achterberg to keep out Cahill's point-blank header kept Rovers level.

Paul Ifill also saw a goalbound shot blocked by Sean Connelly after great work down the right from Cahill and Ian Goodison was later on hand to divert a Neil Harris drive which was arrowing towards the bottom corner of the net.

A Dennis Wise free-kick was also well saved by Achterberg and Cahill and David Livermore then blazed wide for dominant Millwall as the visitors were continually pegged back.

Tranmere were much more adventurous after the break, though, and as Millwall's frustration grew, they came more into the game.

But they looked destined to crash out when Taylor needlessly shoved Cahill, only for the wing-back to be rescued by Achterberg's heroics.

Lions assistant manager Ray Wilkins admitted: "We don't hold anything against Kevin Muscat for the penalty because at least he had the bottle to take it and he felt confident of scoring.

"He has taken penalties for Wolves and Rangers and he is disappointed that he missed, but whoever it is on the pitch that feels they should take it is the right man for the job.

"Overall we have to give Tranmere credit for working so hard and frustrating us, which made us do things we would not normally do."

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