PHIL Parkinson wanted his side to be “horrible” at Millwall – but what he got was something quite beautiful.

For all the dogged defending Wanderers got through at The Den, it was two moments of magic which shone through as they earned an incredibly hard-fought three points.

Sammy Ameobi’s intricate skill to curl the first goal early on was bookended by a volley of Ivan Klasnic-esque instinct by David Wheater four minutes from the end as the Whites claimed a fourth straight win and a fourth successive clean sheet.

The game was barely three minutes old when Millwall failed to full clear a corner. Zach Clough switched play to Jay Spearing and after his clever inside ball gave Ameobi some room to look up, the Newcastle United loanee produced a finish of pure class.

The densely-packed Wanderers fans behind the opposite goal burst immediately into song. After a slow start, it seems Ameobi is now giving them reason to warm to him.

Despite nudging ahead early on, the first half was no cake walk for the Whites. They had half-chances to increase their lead as Clough had one effort pushed away by keeper Jordan Archer and Josh Vela screamed for a handball after going round Tony Craig, but they never looked entirely comfortable.

Mark Beevers proved to be something of a plaything between the two sets of fans. Booed by the Millwall contingent, who had not forgiven him for leaving for the North West in the summer, and cheered at every touch by those from Bolton – who even called for him to get England honours at one stage. It was as if pantomime season had arrived a couple of months early.

When not teasing their former centre-half, the home fans were gradually getting behind their own side whose confidence also increased as the half wore on.

The pacy Fred Onyedinma was causing issues down the right side for Andrew Taylor and Co but the one serious save Mark Howard had to make came when Shaun Williams’ free kick dropped for Steve Morison, his close-range effort pushed aside well.

Tom Thorpe was somewhat of a surprise starter, given that he had only got through Saturday’s game with medication, but his night lasted just 30 minutes. The midfielder had to be helped off the field, unable to put any weight on his right foot.

Derik Osede came off the bench to help the defensive effort, which was holding firm despite a steady wave of Lions’ pressure.

Byron Webster had a shot deflected just wide and Ben Thompson headed a corner over the crossbar as Millwall increasingly fancied their chances of getting back into the game.

Parkinson must surely have requested his midfield to hold on to the ball a little longer during his half-time chat, as at least some of the pressure the Whites had been under had been self-inflicted.

Vela continued to link well with Clough, who was playing off the left, and sent the diminutive striker through with the first attack of the second half.

He had done something similar just before the break and, for the second time, hesitancy seemed to cost Clough his chance to shoot at goal.

For the next 10 minutes it appeared the home side had run out of steam. Wanderers slowed the game down and protected their lead. But just as they did in the first period, Millwall slowly started to gain traction.

Spearing made two perfectly-timed challenges as the Whites protected their own penalty box with gusto. Just as they have for most of the season, Beevers and Wheater held firm against a bombardment of crosses.

James Henry’s introduction for goalscorer Ameobi was done in the hope Wanderers could keep some possession in opposition territory but Gary Madine cut an increasingly isolated figure as the minutes ticked by.

Parkinson’s much-vaunted structure was being tested – although Millwall’s lack of finesse when they got into dangerous areas of the pitch is probably the reason they sat 16th at start of play.

The relief they so desperately craved arrived in the 86th minute. Wanderers won their first corner of the half, Beevers kept Spearing’s deep ball alive and Wheater swept the ball home with the predatory instinct of a centre-forward.

The big defender had joked at the weekend that his former team-mate Ivan Klasnic would have recovered from the kidney problems which left him hospitalised by the time he got a goal. Little did he know, he didn’t have long to wait.