A late goal from Steve Morison condemned the Hornets to a 1-0 defeat at The Den on a lively Sunday afternoon in South London.
Morison’s volley was enough to separate the two teams, as Walter Mazzarri’s side exited the Emirates FA Cup in the Fourth Round.
Head Coach Mazzarri made seven changes to the team that drew 2-2 with AFC Bournemouth last time out.
Adrian Mariappa made his second debut for the Hornets, whilst there was also a first start since August for Ben Watson who captained the side.
The hosts were the quickest out the blocks and it was the width of the crossbar which was to come to the Hornets’ rescue inside 30 seconds as Lee Gregory met a cross from Morison.
A high tempo opening continued from Millwall throughout the first 15 minutes, with Costel Pantilimon tipping Tony Craig’s strike over before Shaun Cummings headed wide when given plenty of space.
Mazzarri’s men started to gain a large foothold of the possession as the half grew and they began to acclimatise to the hostile atmosphere in South Bermondsey.
Adlène Guedioura’s free-kick on the Hornets’ left was deflected onto the far-post by a Lions defender in the 26th minute, before having penalty appeals waved away by Martin Atkinson after Jerome Sinclair went down.
Credit must go to Millwall though who continued to work hard for openings, and they forced Heurelho Gomes to be at his best to deny Gregory as we entered six minutes of added time at the end of the first-half.
Millwall’s front pairing of Morison and Gregory combined, before the latter saw his fine volley stopped by Gomes, who had just replaced the injured Costel Pantilimon minutes before.
A similar swift opening came after the break from the hosts as it did at the start of the fixture, with Gregory again involved. The ball fell kindly to the forward inside the Hornets’ area, but he could only blaze over Gomes’ target.
Chances for both teams were limited as the half came towards it’s conclusion. Gomes was once again called into action as we entered the final 15 minutes, with Morison’s acrobatic strike palmed away from danger.
If a goal was to come, it looked like it was only going to come from the home team, and indeed it did with five minutes left.
Shane Ferguson’s deep cross found Morison unmarked, and the forward powerfully volleyed home past Gomes.
Watford substitute Troy Deeney came closest to an equaliser, but his looping header was comfortably held by Jordan Archer, as Millwall secured their second FA Cup victory over Premier League opposition.
MILLWALL: Archer (GK); 2. Cummings, 5. Craig, 6. Williams, 8. Thompson, 9. Gregory, 10. Onyedimma (Wallace 70), 17. Webster, 20. Morison, 22. O’Brien (Ferguson, 70), 24. Cooper.
MILLWALL SUBS NOT USED: King (GK), Romeo, Martin, Abdou, Worrall.
HORNETS: Pantilimon (GK) (Gomes, 41); Mariappa, Kaboul, Britos; Djédjé (Janmaat, 68), Doucouré, Watson (c), Guedioura, Mason; Okaka, Sinclair (Deeney 77).
HORNETS SUBS NOT USED: Prödl, Cathcart, Capoue, Cleverley.
Goals: Morison 85.
Booked: Britos 65, Mason 81.