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Match Reports

Millwall earn friendly victory over Motherwell

10 July 2021

Ben Thompson and Matt Smith were on target as Millwall opened their pre-season campaign with a 2-0 victory over Motherwell on Saturday afternoon.

Summer signings Daniel Ballard, Scott Malone, George Saville and Benik Afobe all started against The Well, who were playing their final friendly before the start of their competitive season next Wednesday.

But it was The Lions who started the brighter, creating the first two opportunities of the game with Jed Wallace seeing a shot saved following a neat exchange of passes down the left moments after Jake Cooper had headed wide from a corner.

That was only a temporary reprieve for the Scottish side though as inside six minutes Millwall took the lead. Cooper found time and space to produce a superb ball out wide to Malone, whose expert cross was turned in at the far post by Thompson.

Gary Rowett's men continued to play with confidence and control, keeping the ball well throughout the opening half in a game played with real competitiveness and at a fast tempo.

It was almost two on the half-hour mark as Malone switched play out to Romeo, whose low cross was turned towards goal by Thompson only for the keeper to save down to his right. At the other end, Bartosz Bialkowski's first stop of the match denied Kevin Van Veen from the edge of the box.

That was the Polish keeper's final meaningful action of the game as he was replaced by debutant George Long in one of 11 changes for the second-half.

Tyler Burey, operating on the right of a front three for the second period, made a wonderful run down the wing on 50 minutes but his eventual cross just evaded Smith and Mason Bennett as The Lions continued their hunt for a second.

And it duly arrived shortly before the hour when Bennett crossed towards the far post where Smith towered above two markers to nod home.

As the half wore on, Bennett in particular continued to cause significant problems for the Motherwell defence, while youngster Alex Mitchell - fresh from a successful loan at Bromley last season - looked assured as part of a back three alongside Shaun Hutchinson and Murray Wallace.

Billy Mitchell threatened to score a third for The Lions in the closing stages but his shot from 20 yards was well held by Well stopper Liam Kelly. 

That was to be the final opportunity of the game, which marked the successful conclusion of Millwall's training camp in Edinburgh. The players head back to England on Sunday before a return to business at Calmont Road 48 hours later.

First-half Xl: Bialkowski, Cooper, J.Wallace, Thompson, Malone, Romeo, Pearce, Saville, Afobe, Ballard, Evans.

Second-half Xl: Long, McNamara, M.Wallace, Hutchinson, Kieftenbeld, Smith, Bennett, Mahoney, B.Mitchell, Burey (Bodvarsson 68'), A.Mitchell.

Goalscorers: Thompson 6', Smith 58'

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