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Stevenage 2 Millwall 2

19 July 2014

Full-time score from the Lamex Stadium

Millwall continued their pre-season preparations with a tough 2-2 draw at League Two newcomers Stevenage.

It proved to be a physically tougher game than Tuesday's 1-0 win at Dartford, but was another useful exercise as Ian Holloway's men continue to work on upping fitness levels ahead of the Championship opener in three weeks.

Once again boss Ollie used the game as an opportunity to give his squad 45 minutes of match action each, including a full senior debut for Sid Nelson, who partnered Alan Dunne in the heart of a back four that also included trialist Matthew Briggs.

The Lions had an early scare when midfielder Nicky Bailey had a lengthy period of treatment following a collison in the centre circle with Simon Walton.

However seconds after being waved back onto the pitch, Bailey was on hand to tuck home the opening goal on eight minutes. Lee Martin jinked his way into the area on the right, fed Scott McDonald and his sublime cut-back was slotted past keeper Sam Beasant by Bailey at the far post.

A nice passage of play midway through the half looked promising for Millwall as the ball was worked from the right to left flank, but the final delivery from left-back Briggs was too deep and dropped wide for a goal-kick.

Stevenage created their first clear chance after 27 minutes when Roarie Deacon's snap shot from 16 yards took a deflection and fizzed wide of David Forde's post. Simon Walton's resulting corner was comfortably dealt with by the visiting defence.

Centre-half Nelson's long raking pass was gathered by Beasant after Gregory miscontrolled just past the half-hour mark, before the defender made a superb interception moments later to nick the ball off Deacon as he shaped to shoot.

Lions skipper Dunne headed wide from a Martin corner whilst Gregory came within a whisker of opening his account in a Millwall shirt 60 seconds before the break, latching onto Bailey's sweet pass but firing narrowly over.

At the other end Forde made a smart stop from Chris Whelpdale's angled drive but commanded his area as confidently as ever and was barely troubled.

There were wholesale changes at the start of the second half with youngsters Josh Siafa, John Marquis and Fred Onyedinma included in an entirely different Lions XI.

It was nearly 2-0 within seconds of the restart when Martyn Woolford's weighted pass picked out Jermaine Easter, whose rasping drive was held at the second attempt by the keeper.

However it was Stevenage who levelled after 47 minutes courtesy of Walton's low free-kick that evaded a six-man wall and crept into the bottom right corner beyond the reach of Stephen Bywater.

Bywater prevented the home side taking the lead four minutes later, getting a hand to claw Tom Pett's goalbound curling effort away. But seconds later was again picking the ball out of the back of the net from another low Walton free-kick, this time the midfielder's effort bobbling over the line via the left hand post.

John Marquis looked to have levelled for Millwall in the 56th-minute with a firm header from Scott Malone's cross, only to see his effort ruled out for off-side.

Easter had a glorious opportunity to get The Lions back on equal terms when he latched onto Marquis' 61st-minute pass, but with the goal at his mercy, dragged a shot effort wide.

The striker made amends just two minutes later, however, sending Beasant the wrong way with a crisply converted penalty after the quick feet of Onyedinma drew a foul from a home defender.

Marquis was denied by the woodwork with a powerful header from Siafa's inviting 86th-minute delivery and Woolford's low left-foot effort was saved at full stretch as Millwall pushed forward for the winner.

That third goal nearly came with virtually the last kick of the game - an 18-yard thunderbolt from Shaun Williams that keeper Beasant gathered - seconds before the ref blew for full-time to end an entertaining encounter.

Stevenage:  Beasant, Lee (Ashton, 65mins), Worley (Jackson, 83mins), Wells, Dembele, Pett, Bond, Walton, Whelpdale (Johnson, 67mins), Deacon (Okenabirhie, 36mins (Gordon, 88mins)), Marriott (unnamed trialist, 77mins). Subs not used: Day, Calcutt.
Scorer: Walton (47, 51mins)

Millwall first-half: Forde; Edwards, Nelson, Dunne, Briggs; Bailey, Upson; Chaplow, McDonald, Martin; Gregory.
Scorer: Bailey (8mins)

Millwall second-half: Bywater, Siafa, Beevers, Webster, Malone; Williams, Wright; Onyedinma, Woolford, Easter; Marquis. Sub not used: Goodman.
Easter (65mins, pen)Scorer:

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