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Match Reports

Afobe at the double as Lions tame Terriers

Our report from Wednesday night...

16 March 2022

Benik Afobe's double handed Millwall a 2-0 Sky Bet Championship victory over Huddersfield Town on Wednesday night at The Den.

The striker found the net with two classy finishes either side of half-time to extend The Lions' unbeaten run to eight matches, ending The Terriers' 17-game period without defeat in the process.

Millwall have also now kept five clean sheets in a row - and six in their last seven fixtures.

Gary Rowett named an unchanged side for the visit of The Terriers, with two changes coming on the bench as Besart Topalloj and Sheyi Ojo - back from injury - replaced the injured George Evans, and Zak Lovelace.

The Terriers started the evening by seeing the majority of the ball and could have created a chance with just four minutes on the clock, but despite Danny Ward beating Bartosz Bialkowski to the ball, the striker nodded out of play. Mason Bennett then robbed Matty Pearson of the ball at the other end, but his left-footed cross was gathered by Lee Nicholls.

In a lively opening, Lewis O'Brien then struck on the half-volley from around 20 yards out, but Bialkowski parried behind. From the resulting corner Duane Holmes tested the stopper, but he saved again, sprawling to his left and sticking out an arm to direct the ball to safety. Holmes then sent a dipping effort just over on eight minutes as Huddersfield sought the opening goal.

Ward nipped in to touch the ball over as the visitors enjoyed an attacking spell in the first 10 minutes, but The Lions had the next chance courtesy of a crunching - and fair - tackle from Murray Wallace in the centre-circle. He set away his namesake, Jed, but his inviting cross travelled across the box without a touch. Benik Afobe then slid past his marker to have a go at goal, but Nicholls was equal to his effort.

Half-chances for Billy Mitchell and Jed Wallace went begging as The Lions saw more of the ball towards the halfway point of the first-half, with Afobe breaking through on 23 minutes in a one-on-one situation with Nicholls, but a combination of the forward taking too long to strike and an expert challenge from Pearson prevented the striker from testing the goalkeeper.

Neat and close passing between Afobe, Mason Bennett and Scott Malone saw the latter cross from inside the area on 25 minutes but the ball was cleared away, but the opening goal was to arrive two minutes as Afobe found Bennett - his shot was blocked, but Afobe mopped up the rebound from the edge of the penalty area to break the deadlock.

The aforementioned attacking duo combined again shortly after the half-hour as Bennett struck just over the crossbar, with Malone driving forward to send a deflected attempt behind as the half drew to a close.

Malone shot into the side-netting from an acute angle as the second-half got underway, with a huge chance falling at the feet of Afobe on 54 minutes, but after fantastic work from Bennett on the left-hand side, his cross saw Afobe strike tamely at Nicholls.

Three minutes later, however, Afobe earned his redemption once again as he doubled his - and Millwall's - tally by striking home a classy effort across the penalty area and into the far corner of Nicholls' net.

On what was now a slippy surface, Ward's effort went awry as he lost his footing in an attempt to bring The Terriers back into proceedings, before Afobe was just a lick of paint away from a hat-trick as his header hit the crossbar, with Daniel Ballard's follow-up being heroically tipped off the line by Nicholls.

A combination of George Saville and Murray Wallace somehow could not force the ball home with 10 minutes to play, as Huddersfield managed to hack clear from under the nose of their own goal, with Ballard the next to try his luck as he saw a shot blocked inside the area, with another opportunity from Afobe being saved by Nicholls shortly after.

Nicholls' personal vendetta to stop Afobe claiming a hat-trick continued in injury-time as the goalkeeper saved a low shot from the striker on the goal-line, but with no further goalmouth action, referee James Linington blew his final whistle to a standing ovation from three sides of SE16.

Millwall: Bialkowski, McNamara, M. Wallace, Cooper, J. Wallace, Malone, Saville, Bennett (Burey 80'), Afobe, B. Mitchell, Ballard. Subs not used: Long, Ojo, Pearce, Mahoney, Muller, Topalloj.

Scorer: Afobe 27' 57'

Booking: Bennett, J. Wallace

Huddersfield Town: Nicholls, Toffolo, Pearson (Turton 56'), Hogg (Sinani 46'), O'Brien, Thomas (Anjorin 69'), Holmes, Ward, Colwill, Lees, Russell. Subs not used: Blackman, Pipa, Rhodes, Koroma.

Referee: James Linington

Attendance: 10,792 (535)

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