AFC Bournemouth recorded a 2-0 win over Millwall at The Den, to ensure they end 2014 at the top of the Sky Bet Championship table.
Yann Kermorgant opened the scoring from the penalty spot on the 18th minute after Charlie Daniels was brought down, before Harry Arter celebrated his 25th birthday in style by netting his fifth goal in as many league matches shortly before half time.
The result not only ensures the Cherries complete a perfect December in the league, but it also extends their unbeaten league run to 14.
With his players having less than 48 hours rest since their Boxing Day win over Fulham, Eddie Howe made two changes to his starting XI, with Adam Smith replacing Marc Pugh on the wing and Kermorgant in for Brett Pitman.
And it was the Cherries who started the brightest, with Kermorgant forcing stalwart Lions stopper David Forde into action in the second minute as he palmed his dangerous free kick away.
Millwall’s first real effort of the game came in the 10th minute as Lee Martin’s free kick from the left was met by debutant Sid Nelson at the far post, but his header was well wide.
Chances did however come at a premium in the opening stages, with the message from boss Ian Holloway to his side clear; to get in their opponents’ faces.
And that they did, with ex Lions loanee Smith in particular subjected to a number of heavy challenges, with Danny Shittu cautioned for his late tackle midway inside the Lions half.
But the Howe’s side’s persistence did eventually pay off in the 18th minute, as they took the lead from the penalty spot.
Daniels was the man fouled, after he had made one of his trademark runs into the Millwall box only to be hauled down by Lee Martin. Forde went the right way, but there was no stopping Kermorgant’s sweetly hit strike which nestled in the far corner.
The home fans were incensed, and even more so when the Cherries scored their second goal on the 38th minute.
Matt Ritchie capitalised on a mishit pass from Forde, playing in Callum Wilson on the left.
And contrary to the Lions’ faithful’s cries, replays showed he did beat the offside trap, and he then went on to square the ball to Arter, who slotted the ball to Forde’s left before running the length of the pitch to celebrate with the vocal travelling supporters.
Hoping for a repeat of last month’s comeback against Howe’s men, Holloway brought on experienced striker Ricardo Fuller at half time.
However it was Lee Gregory who had the chance that should have given the Lions a lifeline in the 55th minute, as he came inches away from meeting Jimmy Abdou’s teasing cross into the area.
A minute later and Howe opted to make his first change of the game, introducing Dan Gosling in place of goalscorer Kermorgant.
And within the same minute, the lead was nearly three after Smith almost met Ritchie’s pacy cross into the area, only for Nelson to get their first to put it safely over the bar.
Howe’s second change came on the 68th minute, with Pugh replacing Smith and the fans’ favourite almost had an immediate impact as his cross found Gosling who arrived late into the area but struck his shot narrowly wide.
Wilson had a tame header in the 75th minute and as the game looked to be drawing to a slow close, things went from bad to worse for Holloway’s men as Shaun Williams was dismissed for lashing out at Wilson on the edge of the area.
The remaining 10 minutes was all one-way traffic as the Cherries’ dominated possession and chances, meaning renditions of ‘We’re top of the league’ once again rung out from the buoyant visiting supporters at full time.
Millwall: Forde; Wilkinson (Fuller 45), Shittu (Dunne 67), Nelson, Malone, Woolford, Abdou, Williams, McDonald, Martin (Gueye 56), Gregory.
Substitutes: King, Beevers, Upson, Easter.
Booked: Shittu (13), Forde (34), Wilkinson (45+2), McDonald (62)
Sent off: (Williams 80)
Cherries: Boruc, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels, Ritchie (Fraser 87), Arter, Surman, Smith (Pugh 68), Wilson, Kermorgant (Gosling 57).
Substitutes: Camp, Cargill, Pitman, Rantie.
Booked: Surman, Smith, Wilson