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Match Reports

Afobe at the double as Lions beat Ipswich

Our take from Portman Road...

31 July 2021

Benik Afobe (2) and Jed Wallace found the net as Millwall cruised to a 3-0 pre-season victory over Ipswich Town at Portman Road on Saturday afternoon.

The loanee showed anticipation to pounce on a rebound and give The Lions a half-time lead, before the striker doubled his tally early in the second-half by finishing off a fantastic move.

Jed Wallace added the third and final goal four minutes later after quick thinking from a corner-kick by Scott Malone.

Gary Rowett opted to bring Shaun Hutchinson, Maikel Kieftenbeld and Jed Wallace back into the starting line-up for the visit to Suffolk, with Afobe partnering the latter in attack.

The Lions started the brighter against their opponents - playing in their new away kit on home soil - but the first chance of the game went to Ipswich. After George Saville was robbed of possession by Wes Burns the ball made its way to Macauley Bonne, but his shot was tame and easily gathered by Bartosz Bialkowski.

With eight minutes on the clock came a huge chance for The Lions, but after Danny McNamara's cross found the head of Saville, Vaclav Hladky pulled off a smart save from close-range.

Maikel Kieftenebeld was then closed down by Joe Pigott and the Ipswich man was allowed to have a shot on goal, but once again the effort was comfortable for Bialkowski.

With the game becoming a midfield battle during the midway point of the half, it was Millwall who fashioned the next chance on 33 minutes, but after Afobe's lofted pass found the onrushing Scott Malone, his drive from the edge of the penalty area was parried by Hladky before being cleared to safety.

Shortly after that, Daniel Ballard almost put the ball into his own net but his sliced clearance rolled inches past the far post, with a duo of corners ending with Burns battering his way through the defence before striking the base of the post from around 12 yards out.

Six minutes from the break, the deadlock was broken - and mostly through the hard work of Afobe. Picking the ball up from deep, Saville's pass sent away Afobe who, despite being fouled, managed to turn and find Malone. The left-back's pass to Jed Wallace allowed the winger space to shoot, but after Hladky parried the attempt, Afobe was well-placed to tap home the rebound and open the scoring.

The Lions upped the tempo from there and could have doubled their lead with half-time approaching, but an attack was to end with Hladky extending himself to claw a Shaun Hutchinson goal-bound effort away from danger on 43 minutes.

Former Ipswich fan favourite Bialkowski had to be on guard to tip a Lee Evans free-kick away from goal as the second-half got underway, and on 50 minutes, that save was to prove pivotal as Millwall scored a fantastic second goal - Malone and Saville probing for the opening on the left-hand side before threading a ball through to Jed Wallace, with his cross finding an unmarked Afobe for his and The Lions' second goal of the afternoon.

Four minutes later, it was three - and easy. With a bout of pinball inside the Ipswich six-yard area forcing a corner, the quick-thinking of Malone saw the left-back find a completely unmarked Jed Wallace, who had the simplest of tasks in slotting home past Hladky.

Now oozing confidence, Millwall could have had a fourth with 57 minutes on the clock, but after a cross from Danny McNamara found Malone on the opposite side, his volley went over the crossbar.

Rowett opted to make seven substitutions just after the hour-mark, including the likes of Ryan Leonard, Connor Mahoney and Matt Smith, with the next chance going the way of the hosts, but a superb intervention from one of those changes - Billy Mitchell - prevented Bialkowski from being tested from close-range.

A plethora of Ipswich subs broke up the game in the final quarter, but The Lions did have a couple of opportunities for a fourth, however Smith struck tamely at Hladky, before Tom Bradshaw's poke at goal was cleared off the line by Luke Woolfenden.

Ipswich Town: Hladky, Vincent-Young, Nsiala, Woolfenden, Penney, Burns, Harper, Evans, Dobra, Pigott, Bonne. Subs: Holy, Donacien, Ndaba, Humphreys, Ward, Jackson, Norwood.

Millwall: Bialkowski, McNamara (Romeo 62'), Hutchinson (M, Wallace 62'), Cooper (Pearce 76'), Kieftenbeld (B. Mitchell 62'), J. Wallace (Bennett 62' (Bradshaw 82')), Malone, Saville (Leonard 62'), Ballard (Mahoney 62'), Afobe (Smith 62'), Evans (Thompson 72'). Sub not used: Long.

Scorer: Afobe 39' 50', J. Wallace 54'

Booking: McNamara

Referee: Andy Woolmer

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