By the end Paul Lambert had retreated into his dugout but it provided little shelter for a manager who is becoming accustomed to disappointment.

Last night his fragile Aston Villa side suffered further humiliation at the hands of a lower-league team as npower Championship side Millwall bundled them out of the fourth round of the FA Cup, just three days after Bradford City had beaten them in the Capital One Cup.

Two teams from outside of the Barclays Premier League have now landed knockout blows, and have left Lambert reeling. The Scot has been told that his position at Villa is safe even if the club should suffer relegation this season but he will know, too, that results like this one will test the patience of even the most forgiving club owners. At the very least he will be asked to account for a defeat which has cost Villa the escape of a run in the cup.

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Millwall left it late to land their final blow. The Championship side had given their visitors a bloody nose when Danny Shittu exploited poor defending at a corner to head in an equaliser after 27 minutes, and John Marquis secured a stirring win with another header just a minute from the end. The Millwall striker reacted quickest to a shot that ricocheted off the crossbar.

Villa were sunk. It is a familiar feeling. The evening had started brightly; Darren Bent was recalled to the starting XI and marked the occasion with the opening goal after 22 minutes, scuffing a shot over the line after the Millwall goalkeeper David Forde parried the ball into his path.

It was an unconvincing opening and Villa looked uncomfortable while trying to defend it. Shittu went close with one header before he nodded in the equaliser.

Lambert's side remained shaky, even after substitute Barry Bannan fizzed a shot at goal which Forde could only beat away. Villa were then beaten when Marquis struck late on.