Millwall's U21 bravehearts battle to the very end in PDL2 Play-Off
Millwall U21s hopes of booking a place in the Professional Development League 2 final were shattered as a strong Huddersfield Town side recorded a 2-0 victory in Monday afternoon's semi-final clash.
Justin Skinner's young side gave their all against a Terriers outfit who showed just why they had finished as top goalscorers across both the PDL2 northern and southern sections with a brace of clinical first-half finishes.
Jake Charles had an early snapshot saved by Lions keeper Harry Girling with just two minutes on the clock and then Jack Senior drove forward from defence, hitting a long range shot that the keeper did well to save.
Huddersfield continued to ask questions of the visiting defence but it was Millwall who created the first clear scoring opportunity on 22 minutes. Jamie Philpot showed great vision to intercept a clearance and drove inside Senior before dragging a shot wide of the upright from 16 yards.
However it was at the other end that Millwall really did have to do their work as the home side continued to turn the screw with a succession of crosses into the danger zone.
The Lions defence was finally breached after half an hour courtesy of a 20-yard cracker from Regan Booty, who expertly curled the ball into the back of the net after Charles had played the ball into his path.
Philpot was inches away from grabbing an equaliser within seconds, only to see his cheeky chip float narrowly wide of the target.
Republic of Ireland U19 international Danny Kane was on hand to double Town's tally five minutes before the break, heading home Booty's corner and although Philpot nearly reduced the arrears with a snap shot saved by keeper Ryan Schofield, Huddersfield went in with a 2-0 cushion at the break.
Skinner's side came out on the front foot desperate to claw their way back into the game and striker Alfie Pavey saw his snap-shot flash past the post as The Lions pressed forward with real purpose.
Joseph Otudeko sent a 25-yard screamer a whisker wide and then Senior cleared a header from Pavey off the line as Millwall refused to give up without a fight.
With his side piling forward in increasing numbers there was always a danger that Skinner's charges would get caught on the break, but on the occasions that Town did threaten on the counter attack, The Lions defence stood firm.
As the game entered the final 10 minutes Kris Twardek saw a low drive smothered by keeper Schofield at his near post as the visitors showed the resilience, desire and application that has served them in such good stead this season.
Unfortunately on this occasion it was just not enough, but The Lions can hold their heads high following a gallant performance and campaign that has offered so much promise.
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