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Report: O'Brien hits a hat-trick in 7-3 win

17 February 2015

Powell (2), Thompson & Casey also on target against Bristol City

Millwall U21s coach Neil Harris hailed the 'outstanding' attacking play shown as his young charges bounced back to winning ways with a 7-3 thrashing of Bristol City at Calmont Road on Monday afternoon.

A hat-trick from Aiden O'Brien coupled with a brace from Jack Powell, plus efforts from Ben Thompson and Dylan Casey secured Millwall's biggest win of the Professional Development League campaign.

"That was a crazy game of football!" said Chopper after Monday's goal fest. "We played some fantastic attacking football in the first 30 minutes of the game and scored two. With no disrespect to Bristol, it could have been three or four at that stage. We were really composed in possession, built lots of attacks through our centre halves and the midfield."

O'Brien got The Lions off to a perfect start when he latched onto a quickly taken Powell free-kick and produced a good finish before Thompson made it 2-0, picking up the ball in the middle, skipping past two players before despatching a perfect finish that gave the City keeper no chance.

"When you are so dominant in fixtures you have to really concentrate, focus on your job and keep the ball away from your goal," said Chopper, "Unfortunately we then made a couple of poor individual errors and let Bristol back in to the game at 2-2.

"You could see the disappointment of the lads, but they managed to nick a goal just before the break to go in 3-2 ahead when Powell made a terrific forward run and got behind the defence before squaring for Aiden to tap home from close range."

It took The Lions just four second-half minutes to increase their tally when Jamie Philpot, a first-half sub for the injured Kris Twardek, broke down the left and sent over a delightful cross that the onrushing Powell met with a thumping header from 12 yards out for a 4-2 scoreline.

Powell, who along with O'Brien bossed this match, was at the heart of Millwall's fifth goal. Picking up the ball in midfield, Powell exchanged a neat one-two with O'Brien, carried on running and following another slick one-two, O'Brien slipped the ball under the keeper to complete his hat-trick in some style.

Left-back Dylan Casey made it super six with his second goal of the campaign, volleying home the loose ball from an acute angle after his initial cross was blocked.

"We then switched off again," explained Chopper, "And conceded a third goal following a long forward ball, which was really avoidable to make it 6-3."

However midfield maestro Powell restored Millwall's four-goal cushion with a super volley following more good work by sub Philpot to put the seal on an excellent 7-3 result for the home side.

"There was some outstanding football played," added Chopper, "But we have to look at how we can learn from these Development games, that is the whole point of them. We will be looking at the three goals we conceded very closely, trying to eradicate those sloppy errors.

"We will also want to take and learn from the positives; the way we passed and moved, the way we got into dangerous positions and made good decisions. We can learn from that and work towards trying to recreate that in the future."

Monday's game also provided a solid 45 minutes of match action for Nicky Bailey, and the midfielder was highly praised by Chopper, who said: "It was great to see Nicky back, to see his enthusiasm and excitement. He played like a young kid at times, chasing everything. He is a real example of how to play in a Development game as a senior pro. First class."

The one dampener on the afternoon was a facial injury to youngster Kris Twardek in the 42nd minute of the game, who was stretchered off the field and taken to hospital.

"It was an accident and everyone obviously wishes Kris the very best," added Chopper.

Team: Tom King, Josh Siafa, Dylan Casey, Sid Nelson (Chris Parr, 80mins), Keaton Wood, Nicky Bailey (Kyren Farrell, 46mins), Jack Powell, Ben Thompson, Aiden O'Brien, Alfie Pavey, Kris Twardek (Jamie Philpot, 42mins). Subs not used: Harry Girling, JP Rylah.

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