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Seventh heaven for Millwall youngsters in FA Youth Cup rout at Bolton

Lions Under 18s advance to Fourth Round with thumping away win

4 December 2019

Millwall Under 18s set up an FA Youth Cup Fourth Round tie at The Den against Fleetwood Town following a ruthless 7-0 dispatching of Bolton Wanderers at the University of Bolton Stadium on Wednesday night.

Doubles for Sean O'Brien and Abdul Abdulmalik, along with goals for skipper Hayden Muller, Alex Mitchell and Oliver Bate and a neat penalty save from Leighton Fanshawe to deny Callum King-Harmes, handed Millwall a resounding victory.

Chris Perry and Larry McAvoy's young Lions approached the game in blistering form, having hit 17 goals in three previous games and with wins in all of the last five, topping the Under 18 Professional Development League's Southern section.

The momentum was evident from the first whistle, with sporadic Bolton chances being dealt with by a sturdy defence and dominated by opportunities for O'Brien, Bate and Nana Boateng.

And it would be The Lions to open the scoring 33 minutes into the tie in Greater Manchester, as Abdulmalik's header was kept out by Matthew Alexander in the Bolton goal, only for captain Muller to tuck away the rebound.

Muller then almost doubled the advantage with a header over the top from O'Brien's corner, just after Boateng had whistled a strike wide from the edge of the area.

Step forward Boateng once more with The Lions' next attack, surging into the box and being brought down by Myles Edmondson for a penalty kick three minutes from the break. O'Brien stepped up and hammered it high into the middle of the net, giving Alexander no chance.

There was remarkably time to squeeze in a third before the half-time whistle, as a rampant Millwall side took advantage of an O'Brien corner, headed home by Mitchell.

It was to be the hosts who earned the first sniff at goal after the restart, winning a penalty of their own three minutes into the second half as Muller conceded the spot-kick. Fanshawe however guessed the right way, and held onto a tamely struck King-Harmes attempt as The Lions' preserved the clean sheet longer.

And Perry and McAvoy's teenage starlets were far from stopping there, punishing Wanderers ruthlessly with an excellent passing move which ended with a simple finish for Bate.

Almost immediately, it was five and dreamland for Millwall. Another admirable move saw the ball find Abdulmalik, who fired a wonderful hit into the back of the net to register his name on the scoresheet.

Try as they might, Bolton struggled to pave a way through The Lions' assured back line and left themselves stretched at the other end, with Abdulmalik tucking away his second in quick succession and six of the best for the visitors.

The scoring was topped off nine minutes from time, as O'Brien capped an exquisite display by volleying home a rebound from Jayden Davis' initial strike, making it seven and wrapping up The Lions' passage to the Fourth Round to take on Fleetwood Town, who on Tuesday night secured a shock victory over Watford.

Following the impressive win, joint-manager McAvoy gave a glowing assessment of he and Perry's side's performance.

"It's been a long day for us, and Bolton were hard to break down in the first half an hour. They will have noticed our momentum going into the game and wanted to keep it goalless for as long as possible, but we know we will score goals, so we were patient and got our reward for that," McAvoy said.

"We controlled the game from then on, defended well, and it's important that we can share goals amongst the team - we had three centre-forwards out there today with one playing at the attacking tip of a diamond, and then two of our centre-halves also scored from set-plays.

"We want a good Cup run this season. Fleetwood at The Den will be a great night and we need as much home support as possible - some of these lads haven't played at The Den before. Fleetwood had a good win on penalties against the odds against a top Watford side, so we won't be underestimating them, but a good performance can rekindle memories of last year's display against Tottenham and hopefully we can build a run."

Millwall: Fanshawe, Bennett, Ezennolim, Barton, Mitchell, Muller (c), Boateng, O'Brien, Abdulmalik, Bate, Davis. Subs: Miller, Hammond, Roberts-Hutton, Penney, Okoli, Brooke, Briscoe.

Bolton Wanderers: Alexander, Riley, Edmondson, Colvin, Senior (c), Osigwe, Fitzmartin, Toure, Brown-Sterling, King-Harmes, Lockett. Subs: Assarsson, Hutchinson, Wilcox, Tweedley, Conway, Henry, Pettifer.

Referee: Richard Abson

Attendance: 207

Photography: Harry McGuire

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