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Match Reports

Bradshaw gives depleted Lions win over Sky Blues

Our report from the Coventry Building Society Arena...

29 December 2021

Tom Bradshaw scored the winner as a depleted Millwall picked up a 1-0 victory at Coventry City in the Sky Bet Championship on Wednesday night.

Although The Lions' squad was ravaged by injury and COVID-19, they were not deterred and managed to secure three priceless points with Bradshaw's fourth consecutive strike. 

Gary Rowett was able to select a relatively strong starting XI for the trip to the Coventry Building Society Arena, with Alex Pearce, George Saville, Sheyi Ojo and Mason Bennett drafted in, whilst the boss named Under 23s players Nana Boateng and Besart Topalloj on the bench, whilst Under 18s striker Zak Lovelace also took his place among the substitutes.

Both sides began the evening looking to play on the front foot and find the opening goal, but neither goalkeeper was tested until the 21st minute, when Bartosz Bialkowski had to pull off a smart save from Callum O'Hare, who struck from the edge of the area after the ball sat up nicely for him. Tyler Walker's rebound was deflected wide, before Dom Hyam's bicycle-kick from the resulting corner-kick went over the crossbar.

The Sky Blues continued to probe for the opener as the half-hour mark came and went, particularly through the typically impressive O'Hare, but The Lions' defence remained firm and prevented Bialkowski from being troubled. A cross found the head of Walker on 37 minutes, but he nodded over.

The first Millwall effort on goal came with seven minutes to play until the half-time break, but Shaun Hutchinson headed Ojo's free-kick wide of the post. Murray Wallace then set his sights on goal three minutes later, but his right-footed curler found the arms of Ben Wilson.

Saville poked wide at the beginning of the second-half, before The Lions won a free-kick which eventually landed at the feet of Jake Cooper, but he blazed over from just inside the penalty area. Bennett then glanced an Ojo free-kick wide as Millwall had the better of the opportunities in front of goal after the break, 

At the other end, however, Bialkowski fumbled a Todd Kane cross, which Danny McNamara had to hack away to safety, before penalty appeals were waved away as O'Hare tumbled inside the box.

With 11 minutes to play, however, The Lions were able to take the lead as a free-kick was lofted into the box - the ball bounced around before Bradshaw showed a striker's instinct to control and fire home from close range to score in a fourth consecutive game.

Lovelace entered proceedings deep into injury-time to become Millwall's second-youngest player in the club's history, with referee Geoff Eltringham blowing his full-time whistle shortly after to cap a fantastic night for Rowett's men.

Coventry City: Wilson, Rose (Jones 87'), McFadzean, Kelly (Allen 68'), O'Hare, Sheaf, Hyam, Maatsen, Walker, Kane, Godden (Gyokeres 68'). Subs not used: Tyler, Clarke-Salter, Shipley, Eccles.

Booking: Kane

Millwall: Bialkowski, McNamara, M. Wallace, Hutchinson, Cooper, Bradshaw, Ojo (Malone 78'), Pearce, Saville, Bennett (Afobe 66'), B. Mitchell. Subs not used: Long, Smith, Boateng, Topalloj, Lovelace.

Scorer: Bradshaw 79'

Booking: Bradshaw

Referee: Geoff Eltringham

Attendance: 18,500

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