BY JAKE SANDERS
Neil Harris paid tribute to Shane Ferguson after the winger stepped off the bench to score twice and send Millwall through to the fourth round of the FA Cup.
The Lions were trailing going into the final 10 minutes thanks to Jon Toral’s 52nd-minute opener, but the Northern Ireland international netted two spectacular efforts to settle the cup tie.
Ferguson restored parity with a wonderful curling effort from 25 yards, before bending home an inch-perfect free-kick past George Long after Ryan Leonard has been fouled just outside the box.
Lions manager Harris, asked whether his substitutions were inspired, responded: “Credit to my players, that’s four wins in 11 days for us and I think everyone is aware of that.
“At a time of year when it’s difficult to win football matches and people enjoying Christmas, the players worked extremely hard and they have their rewards. You saw the belief in the group, the confidence – even when we were behind again – to come back and win the game.
“In the modern game you want a strong starting 11 and you want to compete in every minute of every game, but you need a balanced squad. You need finishers. Being able to bring on Shaun [Williams], Shane [Ferguson] and Stevie Morison – three excellent players, with all the ability to change the game – they all made an impact.”
Ferguson’s two goals completed a fine week for the 27-year-old after he netted the equaliser against Ipswich Town on New Year’s Day.
Harris said: “They were class goals. It’s what you expect from an international footballer. He has got the ability to do that. The belief hasn’t always been there with Shane, but the run of games he has had and the form he has been in has been outstanding and those two goals were befitting winning any game.
“His confidence should be sky high, the teams confidence should be sky high as well. We are finding a way to win football matches.”
Millwall must wait until tomorrow evening before finding out who they get in the fourth round draw, but Harris made it clear who he fancies playing.
He said: “I wanted to be competitive, I wanted to win at home, always want to win at home, and now I want to draw West Ham in the next round!”
IMAGES BY BRIAN TONKS