This was never going to be a quiet evening for Danny Shittu, the main culprit in this shock defeat for the Championship leaders.
The booing and barracking had been merciless from a Den crowd that was under the spotlight after unsavoury reports of missile-throwing against Watford and Middlesbrough. But the home fans' mood was too good to trigger trouble when, with the score at 1-0, Shittu conceded a penalty and was sent off in the 72nd minute. Liam Trotter scored from the spot and QPR were on their way to a first defeat in 12 Championship matches.
The Shittu foul was the moment when the match slipped out of QPR's grasp and the Millwall supporters revelled in their former centre-back's trudge off the pitch. The QPR manager, Neil Warnock, had no complaints about the fans: "I thought they were brilliant. That's life. I thought Danny did all right. It was just an elementary mistake that he made."
Regarding the defeat, he said: "If you concede goals like a Sunday league team, that will happen. But I've got to forgive them. It's a miracle what we've done to be in this position."
Shittu had caught the attentions of the home fans within 30 seconds by fouling the Millwall legend Neil Harris. QPR's Adel Taarabt then floated in a free-kick from the left that Kaspars Gorkss met with a header, and this was tipped over by the goalkeeper David Forde.
Back came Millwall and the on-loan Tottenham winger Andros Townsend delivered a 16th-minute corner that was headed wide by his captain, Paul Robinson. Next Steve Morison struck a 30-yard effort that Paddy Kenny gathered.
Millwall finished the first half strongly, too. Harris's angled, 30-yard volley narrowly cleared the crossbar and Morison then cut in from the left before producing a low shot that Kenny thwarted. But QPR had the last chance of the first period with Wayne Routledge's powerful close-range hit being gloved away by Forde, and the intensity of the game remained high after half-time.
Forde produced another eye-catching reflex stop to keep out Bradley Orr's stooping header. Robinson somehow wasted an outstanding chance as he headed over from just a couple of yards following Townsend's corner, but Millwall kept going forward with Harris coming close on the hour mark.
Millwall broke through when Morison collected the ball neatly from Tamika Mkandawire's header. The forward surged down the middle and unleashed an 18-yard shot that travelled with too much power for Kenny to get close to it.
The ineffective Taarabt was then substituted by Warnock but there was little time to judge if that was a wise move before Millwall doubled their lead, when Shittu dragged down Morison and Trotter stroked in his spot-kick.
Millwall controlled the closing stages, with a weak effort from Tommy Smith being the best that 10-man QPR could manage. The Millwall manager, Kenny Jackett, said: "As soon as we got the first goal, you could see the confidence in the players. We could have scored more and we kept them down to a minimum amount of chances."
As the QPR players came off the pitch, their pain was visible. But it could have been worse. They could have been in Shittu's position.
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