Report | Southend United 0-4 Millwall
Millwall returned to winning ways and signed off 2015 with a thumping 4-0 win at Play-Off rivals Southend United.
The Lions roared into a 3-0 half-time lead courtesy of goals from Joe Martin (27mins), Shaun Cummings (35mins) and Fred Onyedinma (45+1min) with Aiden O'Brien's 70th-minute strike the icing on the cake.
It was a timely return to form for Neil Harris' side, who not only ended Southend's eight-game unbeaten League run, but handed The Lions their first League points in four starts.
Manager Neil Harris made four changes to the side that started against Walsall; Cummings and Byron Webster replaced right-back Carlos Edwards and centre-half Sid Nelson respectively, whilst Ed Upson and George Saville returned to midfield with Jimmy Abdou and Shane Ferguson dropping to the bench.
Millwall started on the front foot, forcing three corners in the opening four minutes, but without really testing Dan Bentley in the home goal.
At the other end Southend had a couple of efforts on goal in the opening quarter of an hour with a hooked seventh-minute effort from Noel Hunt dropping wide of the upright and an Adam Barrett header flying over the bar from the Shrimpers' first corner of the game.
Although there was plenty of effort from both sets of players, clear scoring chances were at a premium as the first-half approached the halfway mark with the defences well organised.
However once The Lions made the breakthrough on 27 minutes, the home side self imploded in quite spectacular fashion.
Millwall's opening goal owed as much to the determination of Onyedinma, who worked his magic on the byline before seeing his cross cleared. The ball fell invitingly to Martin, lurking on the edge of the penalty area, and the left-back took aim from 16 yards and drilled a low shot that flew into the back of the net via the inside of the left post.
The home side were close to silencing the 1,745 jubilant travelling fans just 60 seconds later as an acrobatic close range volley from David Worrall flew straight into the arms of David Forde.
Millwall were soon back on the attack and doubled their lead on 35 minutes. Rampaging right-back Cummings eased his way into a good position and sent over a deep cross that drifted over everyone, smacked the woodwork and then bounced off keeper Bentley and rebounded into the back of the net. Technically it may have been an own goal, but you try taking it away from Cummings!
Onyedinma was inches away from adding a third goal, wriggling into the penalty area and sending an angled shot agonisingly wide of the far post as The Lions really took a hold of the game.
Morison nearly made it 3-0 after 39 minutes, latching onto the loose ball following a misunderstanding between Leonard and keeper Bentley, and although the skipper did well to win possession, he squeezed his shot a yard off target.
The rampant Lions were not to be denied, however, and chief tormentor Onyedinma grabbed a third goal in first-half injury-time, lashing home from close range after Morison's initial shot had been blocked on the line by Bentley.
Southend responded to their first-half collapse by bringing on Stephen McLaughlin and Gary Deegan for Ben Coker and Worrall, and made their third substitution - Joe Pigott for Noel Hunt - within nine minutes of the restart.
It was The Lions who picked up where they left off, and O'Brien was denied his first goal in nine games when Bentley produced a superb reaction save to claw the striker's goalbound header away following another Onyedinma delivery.
The Shrimpers tried desperately to get a foothold back in the game, but were thwarted as superb defensive blocks from Webster and then Martin denied sub Pigott.
Millwall were not rattled by this small spell of Southend pressure, and made sure of all three points on 70 minutes with a goal that started at the back courtesy of Forde's clearance, was picked up by Saville who played it on to Morison. His one-two and superbly weighted pass with O'Brien sent the striker clear and he dispatched a cool low finish that arrowed into the bottom corner.
Academy graduates Ben Thompson and Alfie Pavey entered the fray for Millwall in the last 10 minutes, along with loanee Shane Ferguson, but the game had already been won and Millwall saw out the final stages with confidence and composure.
Southend United: Bentley, White, Coker (McLaughlin, 46mins), Thompson, Worrall (Deegan, 46mins), Mooney, Payne, Atkinson, Hunt (Pigott, 54mins), Leonard, Barrett. Subs not used: Smith, Prosser, Hurst, Rea.
Bookings: Deegan (57mins), Mooney (77mins)
Millwall: Forde, Cummings, Martin, Beevers, Webster, Onyedinma (Ferguson, 86mins), Saville, Williams, Upson, Morison (Pavey, 88mins), O'Brien (Thompson, 80mins). Subs not used: Archer, Nelson, Philpot, Abdou.
Booking: Williams (59mins)
Scorers: Martin, 27mins), Cummings (35mins), Onyedinma (45+1min), O'Brien (70mins)
Ref: K. Wright
Att: 10,099 (away 1,745)
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