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Match Reports

Report | Millwall 1-1 Brentford

30 July 2016

Full-time score from The Den

Steve Morison powered home a first-half equaliser as Millwall held Championship side Brentford to a draw in skipper Tony Craig's Testimonial at The Den.

It was a day to remember for TC, celebrating his fantastic service to The Lions with a special game against former club Brentford.

Craig proudly walked out on to The Den pitch as both sets of players formed a guard of honour, including special mascot for the day Harvey Brown. TC, flanked by his daughter Scarlett, rightly received a standing ovation from everyone, including Lions chairman John Berylson who had made a special Atlantic crossing just for the game.

The emotion of the day was soon put to one side, however, when referee Andy Woolmer blew the whistle and the two teams got down to the serious business of the match.

Millwall had  great opportunity to open the scoring with 22 seconds on the clock. Gregory out-muscled Harlee Dean after the Bees captain miscontrolled the ball and cushioned a smart square pass to Morison, who unfortunately directed his first-time shot straight into the hands of keeper Daniel Bentley.

Brentford responded and Scott Hogan spurned a one-on-one with Archer, driving his shot wide of the left upright with just the keeper to neat after getting behind the home defence.

The visitors didn't have long to wait before breaking the deadlock on six minutes when Yoann Barbet curled a 20-yard freekick beyond the reach of Archer.

In the moments between the free-kick being awarded and Barbet stepping up to score, the visitors certainly employed a unique technique of trying to unsettle keeper Archer. Not content with three Bees players standing in front of Archer as he tried to get his defensive wall lined up, they 'shadowed' as the keeper attempted to get his position, almost comically shuffling in a pack along the goal-line.

The damage was ultimately done by the boot of Barbet, however, whose shot curled over the wall and beyond Archer's reach.

It took a splendid double save from Millwall's Player of the Year to keep out Sam Saunders' low drive and then divert Hogan's follow-up with a lower body block.

Morison had an effort blocked for a corner, from which David Worrall's delivery was powerfully headed over by Shaun Hutchinson, as The Lions responded positively.

Centre-half Hutchinson was forced off injured moments later, with Aiden O'Brien taking his place on the left wing in a switch that saw Shane Ferguson drop to left-back and Craig move alongside Byron Webster in the heart of the back four.

It was right winger Worrall who twice nearly made Brentford pay for sloppy defending, first intercepting  the ball in midfield, driving forward and lashing over and then with arguably the better of the two chances, firing wide in a one-on-one with keeper Bentley.

The Lions were certainly posing a threat to the visitors and let Brentford off the hook again midway through the half when Gregory and Worrall combined on the right to set up Shaun Williams, but the midfielder shot straight into the keeper's arms from 12 yards.

Millwall eventually made their pressure count on 28 minutes when Williams overpowered Ryan Woods and did well to loft an inviting ball into the danger zone that was met by the trusty head of Morison, who powered into the back of the net for the equaliser.

Gregory was denied a second goal by a defensive boot after controlling Morison's sublime flick from Craig's excellent searching forward pass.

Morison tried his luck from distance a couple of minutes before the break but saw his effort flash wide of the mark as the teams went in level at half-time.

Brentford had an early chance to test the home defence after the restart when, from a near identical position to their opening goal,  Saunders saw his 20-yard effort blocked by the wall.

A trademark impeccably timed interception from Craig denied Hogan as the Brentford man shaped to shoot in the penalty area, but thereafter it was virtually relentless Millwall pressure as Harris' side stacked up the scoring chances.

Morison had a low shot saved, O'Brien's looping header from Ferguson's corner landed on the roof of the net and then Webster's bullet header from another Ferguson delivery was brilliantly tipped over by Bentley as The Lions prised and probed for a second goal.

At the other end another strong challenge by Craig averted the danger as The Bees tried to relieve the pressure with a rare forward foray.

Both teams used the last quarter of an hour to make a flurry of substitutions, getting in some more vital match minutes for squad members ahead of the season's opening games next weekend.

With three minutes remaining Millwall made their final change of the afternoon and skipper Craig again saw The Den faithful rise to their feet for a second standing ovation of the afternoon as he was replaced by young Academy prospect James Brown.

Bees' sub Emmanuel Ledesma saw his stinging angled drive flash a foot wide of the upright and then the linesman's flag denied Alfie Pavey a clear run at goal with a narrow offside decision in the dying embers of an entertaining game.

Millwall: Archer, Romeo, Webster, Hutchinson (O'Brien, 19mins), Craig (Brown, 87mins), Ferguson (Nelson, 76mins), Williams, Thompson (Abdou, 46mins), Gregory (Onyedinma, 80mins), Morison (Pavey, 80mins), Worrall (Wylde, 76mins). Subs not used: King.
Scorer: Morison (28mins)

Ref: A. Woolmer

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