Ebere Eze on target as young Lions share derby honours with Hoops
Millwall U18s shared the derby honours with QPR U18s in a keenly contested clash at Calmont Road on Saturday.
The Lions came flying out of the traps and the only surprise was that it took 12 minutes of intense pressure to break through and score the opening goal.
The irrepressible Ebere Eze had already seen a fine strike saved by the Hoops keeper before he got his name on the scoresheet with a stunning effort that saw him tricking his way past a defender and rifling an unstoppable shot from 16 yards.
Minutes later striker Mikael Ndjoli embarked on a positive run towards goal and then let fly with a stinging shot that keeper Marcin Brzozowski parried straight back into his path. Ndjoli was to be denied again, however, and his follow-up effort was superbly pushed away.
The Lions kept the pressure on and could have doubled their tally midway through the first-half in a move involving both full-backs.
A raid on the left flank saw Noah Chesmain pick out overlapping James Brown on the right, and it took a splendid save by the Hoops keeper prevented Brown's fierce drive from arrowing into the roof of the net.
The visitors only real serious threat on goal in the opening 45 minutes came midway through the half when Dominic Power's fierce shot was expertly pushed away for a corner by Millwall keeper Ryan Sandford.
The home side were close to adding a second goal twice in quick succession on the stroke of half-time, but The Lions were twice denied. A last-ditch tackle denied Ronnie O'Donnell from prodding the ball home just yards from goal and then another fine save by keeper Brzozowski thwarted Eze from grabbing his second of the game.
Millwall started the second-half as they had finished the first, on the front foot and posing a real attacking threat to their opponents.
However QPR weathered the storm and gradually began to enjoy more possession, creating more chances too, as the game wore on.
It was no surprise when, following a sustained spell of pressure, QPR pulled themselves back on level terms in the 70th minute. Millwall conceded a free-kick in a central position 20 yards out with Leo Donnellan's strike penetrating The Lions' defensive wall and taking a deflection on its way into the back of the net.
Millwall were a whisker away from regaining the lead just a couple of minutes later, but defender Rian Bray's bullet header from Chesmain's inviting free-kick flashed narrowly wide of the target.
However the visitors could twice have secured what would have been a fortuitous win right at the death when Brandon Barzey's fierce shot crashed against the bar and then keeper Sandford did well to deny Josh Bowler's follow-up effort.
In the end a draw was just about the right result in a game high on commitment and entertainment from the two young teams.
Sandford, Brown, Chesmain, Hanson, Bray, White, Ebuzoene, Eze, Ndjoli, Kiely (Campbell, 80mins), O'Donnell (Tiensa, 46 mins). Subs not used: Girling, Green.
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