MILLWALL’S unbeaten start to 2013 came to a crashing halt on Saturday as they lost to Burnley at The Den.
Sam Vokes’ first half goal was added to by Danny Ings after the break as the Clarets leapfrogged the Lions in the table, ending their four-game unbeaten run in the process.
Martyn Woolford made his home debut for the Lions but fellow January signing Nathan Tyson started on the bench.
Shane Lowry was suspended after picking up his 10th booking of the season while long-term absentee Paul Robinson and Scott Malone were both missing due to injury.
Burnley dominated the opening exchanges as they pinned Millwall back into their own half.
Keeper David Forde almost gifted the visitors the lead in the 16th minutewhen he tried to be too clever by taking on Vokes.
The Burnley striker won the ball and crossed to the far post where an unmarked Dean Marney scuffed his shot from six yards, much to Forde’s relief.
Vokes made Millwall pay three minutes later, though, as he scored the goal the Clarets deserved for an impressive start.
Junior Stanislas beat two Lions defenders before a low cross from the left picked out Vokes, whose near-post prod rolled under Forde and into the back of the net.
The goal sparked Millwall into life as they were the better team for the remainder of the half, but they were unable to draw level before the break.
First James Henry’s 20-yard strike was inches over the bar as it landed on the roof of the net before Liam Trotter’s volley from Woolford’s cross forced a save from Lee Grant.
Manager Kenny Jackett brought loan signing Tyson on at half-time but it was Andy Keogh who should’ve levelled for the Lions five minutes into the second half as he blazed Henry’s cross high and wide from all of two yards.
But Burnley made no mistake at the other end as they grabbed a second goal to take control of the game in the 59th minute.
Kieran Trippier’s cross found Ings totally unmarked in the middle and he couldn’t believe his luck as he converted from six yards past a helpless Forde.
The crowd at a freezing cold Den expected a response from Millwall but it never materialised.
The home side were lucky to still have any hope after Forde saved a low placed shot from substitute Keith Treacy in the 71st minute as the Burnley man was clean through on goal.
Adam Smith had a fizzing cross deflected over the bar for Millwall before Trotter’s low shot was cleared off the line in the closing stages, though it might have been heading wide.
But Burnley kept the hosts at bay to take home all three points.
Jackett’s side will have to move on quickly from a bad day at the office as they play Aston Villa in the FA Cup fourth round at The Den on Friday night.
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Millwall: Forde, Adam Smith, Shittu, Beevers, Jack Smith, Henry, Trotter, Abdou, Woolford (Tyson 46), Keogh, N’Guessan (Marquis 66). Subs not used: Taylor, Dunne, Wright, Racon, Osborne. Att: 9,384.