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Match Reports

Lions sign off 2019 with victory over Bees

Our report from a frantic Den...

29 December 2019

Aiden O'Brien netted his third goal in as many home matches as Millwall defeated Brentford 1-0 in the Sky Bet Championship at The Den on Sunday afternoon.

In a decade that began with a 1-1 FA Cup Third Round home draw against Derby County, The Lions ended the 10's with all three points against Thomas Frank's side in SE16. 

Gary Rowett made two changes for the game against The Bees and opted to field the 5-2-3 formation seen away from home in recent times. Murray Wallace and Aiden O'Brien returned to the starting XI in place of Shane Ferguson and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, whilst there was a place on the bench for Billy Mitchell.

After a strong start, The Lions had the ball in the net after just four minutes, but Murray Wallace was judged to be in an offside position after meeting Jed Wallace's free-kick with his head on the edge of the six-yard box.

The pressure on the Brentford back-line continued from there, with both O'Brien and Shaun Williams looking to test David Raya, but The Bees remained resolute - that was, however, until the eighth minute, when outstanding play from Jayson Molumby saw Raya closed down and allowed O'Brien the simplest of tasks to roll the ball into an empty net and give Millwall the lead.

The Lions' tails were up and Brentford were unable to cope with the high-intensity start from Rowett's outfit - Jed Wallace was the next to try his luck on the half-volley from around 25 yards out, but the ball sailed just over the crossbar.

Williams' half-volley then dipped just over the bar as The Lions looked to double their lead, whilst at the other end, any attempt at a Brentford attack was being stopped dead in its tracks by a firm Millwall defence.

There was a first moment of action for Bartosz Bialkowski on 31 minutes, though, as the goalkeeper was almost wrong-footed by Bryan Mbeumo's effort from the edge of the penalty area; the Pole, however, adjusted well and got a hand to the ball before it was cleared away.

Millwall were winning back possession sometimes with ease and Tom Bradshaw threaded the ball through to Jed Wallace 10 minutes before the break, but the winger's shot was blocked. Mathias Jensen then sent a teasing free-kick into the six-yard box two minutes later, but Mahlon Romeo headed behind.

In an eventful first-half it was Rico Henry who had the next opportunity at goal, but his deflected shot bounced into the arms of Bialkowski. A fantastic cross-field ball then found Ollie Watkins at the back post as Brentford looked to equalise, but the attacker's cross was harmless and cleared to safety.

The Millwall pressure and chances kept on coming as the second-half got underway, with Bradshaw, Jed Wallace and Romeo all in the mix, but the lead was kept to just one by the Brentford defence. 

With 62 minutes on the clock The Bees threatened, but Mbeumo's header from a Watkins cross was blocked. From there came a period in which both sides battled to gain control of the midfield, with the next half-chance going the way of the visitors, but Alex Pearce was well-placed to clear Watkins' header back across goal.

Pontus Jansson got his header wrong as Brentford looked to get back into the game, but the best chance fell to substitute Jan Zamburek on 87 minutes - he fluffed his lines, though, slicing his effort wide after Watkins' cushioned header presented him with a clear shot on goal.

As four minutes of stoppage-time began The Bees were forcing the issue, but backed a loud Den crowd, The Lions were standing firm - and they did until the final whistle, which was greeted by a huge roar.

See you in 2020!

Millwall: Bialkowski, M. Wallace, Hutchinson, Cooper, Williams, J. Wallace (Skalak 87'), Bradshaw (Bodvarsson 81'), Romeo, Pearce, Molumby, O'Brien (Ferguson 81'). Subs not used: Steele, Smith, Mahoney, Mitchell.

Scorer: O'Brien 8'

Booking: J. Wallace, M. Wallace, Williams

Brentford: Raya, Henry (Valencia 80'), Pinnock, Jensen (Zamburek 71'), Benrahma, Watkins, Mokotjo, Da Silva, Jansson, Mbuemo, Dalsgaard. Subs not used: Daniels, Yearwood, Jeanvier, Sorensen, Roersley.

Booking: Benrahma

Referee: Robert Jones

Attendance: 15,464 (2,009)

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