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Match Report


Posted Tue 11 Aug 09 at 22:31 PM

Millwall 4 AFC Bournemouth 0

Neil Harris hit the sixth hat-trick of his senior career as Millwall marched into the Carling Cup Second Round with an emphatic win against AFC Bournemouth.
Gary Alexander's spectacular 31st-minute strike opened the scoring, but thereafter it was club record goalscorer Chopper who took centre stage adding goals on 40, 68 and 73 minutes to crown an excellent night for The Lions.
Den boss Kenny Jackett made changes to both his team and tactics for the visit of League Two outfit Bournemouth.
Out went Adam Bolder and Dave Martin from the team that started at Southampton, and in came Ali Fuseini and Harris as The Lions lined up in a 4-3-3 formation.
Jackett's men wasted no time setting out their stall with Scott Barron's cross well held by Shwan Jalal in the visiting goal.
Jalal was called into action again on three minutes when he took the sting out of an Alan Dunne drive as The Lions took early control.
With the exception of a five-minute spell midway through the opening half when Bournemouth forced two corners in four minutes it was pretty much one-way traffic with Millwall enjoying large chunks of possession.
Fuseini, whom impressed throughout with a tidy perfomance pulling the strings in midfield, was denied by Jalal on 23 minutes when his 20-yard piledriver was pushed away by the keeper for a corner.
Barely 60 seconds later the 20-year-old slipped a slide-rule pass through to Barron on the overlap and his neat cut-back unfortunately came off Harris' shins and flew wide.
Sooner or later Millwall's pressure was going to pay off, and the opening goal duly arrived with 31 minutes on the clock.
Chris Hackett picked up an Alan Dunne pass and set off at high speed on a mazy run picking off Cherries' defenders with ease as he sprinted into the danger zone. Although his shot was blocked, the ball fell invitingly for Alexander who hit the crispest of 20-yard strikes into the back of the net.
Within seconds of the restart a magnificent crossfield ball by Alexander picked out Harris on the left, he in turn cut into the box but unfortunately Steve Morison was unable to take advantage from a central position.
The Lions continued to press forward and a second goal arrived five minutes before the break. Hackett's deep delivery from the right was headed back by Alexander and there was Harris nipping in at the far post to bag a real poacher's goal.
Bournemouth could have reduced the arrears just before half-time, but an unmarked Lee Bradbury somehow contrived to fire over from six yards.
Cherries boss Eddie Howe made a couple of substitutions early in the second-half in a bid to steady the ship and for a while, the additional physical presence of Steve Fletcher and then Marvin Bartley did just that.
But once Millwall enjoyed a brief spell of pressure around the hour mark when Morison and Abdou went close in quick succession, Jackett's men seemed to get second wind and kicked on in style.
Harris added his second - and Millwall's third - following a stunning passage of one-touch play involving more than half a dozen passes that sliced the visiting defence apart before Chopper buried a shot that gave Jalal no chance.
The Lions striker was now clearly on a mission - he wanted hat-trick number six for the club - seven including a pre-season friendly against Crystal Palace - and nothing was going to stop him.
With 17 minutes remaining Harris got his wish with an absolute belter, cracking a ferocious angled effort from the right side of the penalty area that flew past Jalal and into the roof of the net.
In fact the hitman could have added his fourth five minutes later, only to see his 18-yard shot-on-the-turn flash inches over.
Harris was replaced by Ashley Grimes shortly after, leaving the field to a standing ovation with The Lions by this stage in total control.
The hard-working Morison was denied when his 82nd-minute effort was blocked following a delightful one-two with Grimes as Millwall kept their foot firmly on the gas right up until the final whistle - just the sort of attitude and application manager Jackett required.

Millwall: Forde, Dunne, Smith, Frampton, Barron, Fuseini, Hackett, Abdou (Laird, 74mins), Harris (Grimes, 81mins), Morison, Alexander (Grabban, 74mins). Subs not used: Sullivan, Bolder, Martin.
Scorers: Alexander (31mins), Harris (40, 68, 73mins)

AFC Bournemouth: Jalal, Pearce, Pitman, Igoe (McQuoid, 71mins), Bradbury, Goulding (Fletcher, 46mins), Cummings, Garry, Feeney, Robinson, Molesley (Bartley, 55mins). Subs not used: Pryce, Guyett.

Ref: Grant Hegley
Att: 3,552 (341 away)

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