Lions bow out of FA Youth Cup
Millwall's U18s were left to rue letting a 2-0 half-time lead slip after exiting the FA Youth Cup on penalties against Sheffield United.
Goals from Kyron Farrell and Ben Thompson gave The Lions a deserved advantage at the interval, but The Blades hit back through Jake Eyre and Ben Whiteman to ensure extra-time.
Neither side could carve out a dramatic late winner, and it was left to Louis Reed to secure his team's Fifth Round tie with Everton, slotting home the decisive spot-kick after Lions captain Sid Nelson had hit the bar.
Millwall began the game brightly and came close to opening the scoring in the fourth minute. The Blades struggled to clear two corners, and on the second Alfie Pavey headed over from six-yards following a spell of pinball in the box.
Justin Skinner's side kept up the pressure and Farrell, breaking from left-back, fired just over from 25-yards with United keeper Jake Eastwood rooted to the spot.
At the other end, Blades midfielder Whiteman could only fire a tame effort into the arms of Lions keeper Tom Beadle, and they were made to pay for missing that chance 90 seconds later.
Pavey, a constant threat, worked his way past his marker on the edge of the area to earn a free-kick which Farrell struck straight at Eastwood. The shot, however, had too much power on it for the keeper who let it slip through his fingers into the empty net.
The action was one way, and Fred Onyedinma, latching onto Jamie Philpot's neat through ball, nearly made it 2-0 but edged his shot just wide under pressure from marker Ioan Evans.
But the home fans, packed into the Barry Kitchener Stand, didn't have to wait long for a second goal. Midfielder Ben Thompson, booked minutes earlier for a late challenge, beat his man expertly 20-yards from goal before firing an unstoppable strike into the bottom corner to secure a 2-0 half-time lead.
Undeterred, The Blades raced out of the blocks in the second-half and had two chances in quick succession; Jake Eyre and substitute Diego De Girolamo both going close to halving the deficit.
With 54 minutes gone, however, the visitors did find a goal through striker Eyre, who turned well in the box before firing past Beadle into the roof of the net.
The strike gave United renewed belief and they soon pulled the scores level with a penalty. Eyre, running away from goal, was brought to ground by Sid Nelson, leaving referee Anthony Serrano with no choice but to point to the spot, and midfielder Whiteman sent Beadle the wrong way from 12-yards.
The Lions responded well with Pavey at the heart of the hosts' best work. He raced on to a hopeful ball upfield and found Philpot, who could only lift his chip into the grateful arms of Eastwood who gathered at the second attempt.
In an increasingly open and end-to-end encounter, Eyre, one-on-one with keeper Beadle, then saw a left-footed effort edge inches wide of the post, before De Girolamo, United's biggest threat, missed the target from eight-yards.
After a hard-fought 90 minutes the game headed into extra-time but chances, with the players tiring, were few and far between. Dominic Calvert-Lewin's off-target curler was the closest United came before Millwall subs Tomi Adeloye and Kris Twardek spurned good opportunities, and so it went to penalties.
Fred Onyedinma, Joe Guinchard, Kris Twardek all scored to send the shootout to sudden death, but at 7-7, Nelson slammed his effort against the crossbar, allowing Blades sub Louis Reed to slot home the decisive penalty.
Millwall: Beadle; Brown (Guinchard, 90'), Nelson, Wood, Farrell; Thompson (Twardek, 76'), Danquah; Rylah, Philpot (Adeloye, 82'), Onyedinma, Pavey. Subs not used: Peter, Goodman.
Goalscorers: Farrell 21', Thompson 42'
Sheffield United: Eastwood; Scarisbrick, Evans, Whiteman, Paling; Dimaio; Coustrain (Reed, 76'), Ishmail (De Girolamo, 46'), Whiteman, Calvert-Lewin; Eyre (Cockerline, 110'). Subs not used: Owen, Cheeseman.
Goalscorers: Eyre 54', Whiteman (pen) 64'
Referee: Anthony Serrano