Yesterday saw Neil Harris’s new youthful squad travel to Hayes Lane – Fortress Stadium – to play out a 2-2 scoring draw. The occasion itself was your typical first game of the summer, with both teams rarely getting out of first gear throughout. However when out of first, our best spell in the first 15 of the second half looked very promising. The weather was as always very welcoming with no sign of any sun, instead your typical rainy day in the summer; never ideal in a conference stadium with two stands… I for one was just excited to see a football get kicked around, having missed football for more than two months! Speculating on transfers when we’ve only signed THREE players is difficult, making scrolling through Twitter and rumour sites less entertaining.
All three new signings were in action yesterday, with Jordan Archer and Joe Martin both starting in the first half, and Tony Craig playing a part in the second. Our first half XI was as below:
The first half as a whole was a good indication for me in what we miss and require as a side, reaching the interval 1-0 to Bromley. The goal itself came within the first 10 minutes with pacy forward Emmanuel getting the better of Beevers, with a ball over the top and pacing through taking the shot on the half volley, which flew past the out rushing Archer. For me, Beevers should’ve done a lot better, it was clear already in that 10 minutes they were going to target Beevers for his lack of pace, this proved effective until Emmanuel came off holding his hamstring minutes after his goal. After this we seemed to settle, with Upson and Williams getting a lot of the ball to their feet and playing with not much pressure on them. However despite having much of the ball we lacked an attacking threat, with the only clear chance of the half coming to Marquis. Thanks to neat work down the right from Fred; a constant threat. The ball found its way to Marquis, who decided to take a touch and shoot, which flew over the goal and over the terrace from 6 yards out, a good achievement.
Despite having the ball for most of the half, it was obvious we missed the know how to break Bromley down, the most senior players in that half were Williams and Upson, both are not renowned for their leadership. We looked great going down the right with Fred quick and confident on the ball, however playing Thompson on the left, a midfielder by trade left spaces on the left and a lack of width going forward. New signing Martin tried to rectify this, getting forward on occasion and for the majority putting in good deliveries, with a chance created with Upson bringing a good save from Bromley’s keeper. With Cummings also backing Fred up on the right, if left a few of us thinking we needed a left winger on the pitch too. Lee Martin wasn’t risked yesterday but I believe with him and Fred on each flank we could have a good set of wingers to create the width for the team. O’Brien at times carried the ball with threat running directly at Bromley’s back four, and Nelson at the back looked solid and put in a good 45 minute shift.
We started the second half with the following, with the players in brackets coming on between 60 and 75 minutes:
The second half saw the team come out of the blocks a lot quicker than Bromley, playing at a higher tempo and getting the ball wide, Fred on the right had a big part to play in each of our goals. For the first, some neat footwork allowed him to cross the ball into the box which found its way to O’Brien, he then beat his man and was tugged on the shirt and went down. A soft penalty if it was given the other way but given nonetheless, before the penalty was taken both O’Brien and Marquis were tugging at the ball to take the penalty. However both looking to Harris who nominated Marquis to take, he made no mistake to convert and made it 1-1, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way in the process. Minutes later, Fred again on the right found himself on the edge of the 6 yard box, with his original effort blocked he cut back for Thompson to score his first for the senior side.
After this as always with friendlies the game died down due to subs slowing the pace of the game, standouts for me in the second were Fred and substitute Kris Twardek. The latter was extremely energetic and obviously keen to make his mark, having come through our ranks as a winger he played behind Pavey, drifting from side to side and was a constant threat with his natural pace. Having watched a couple of the under 18s games previously he wasn’t always a standout but it was clear to see his pace and ability when on the ball. If Harris had challenged the younger players to make their mark and have a role to play in the next game on Saturday, then Twardek for me definitely deserves another chance. At the back despite Craig scoring an own goal he looked solid and clam on the ball, as we would expect from him, I personally would love to see Nelson and Craig get time together on Saturday. Both are similar in their nature and playing style, and both are Millwall through and through, I’m sure a lot of fans agree with me when I say I’d love to see both line-up together on the 8th of August away to Shrewsbury.
Overall the game wasn’t a classic, but in friendlies the most important aspects in the game is to make sure no injuries occur and players gain their match sharpness. Harris was happy after citing the game as competitive, hopefully Saturday would provide another test for the side.
Thanks for reading, was you at the game yesterday? Who impressed you most? Let me know!