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Report: Millwall 3-0 Granada

MILLWALL picked the right time to raise their game as they crusied to their first pre-season win of the summer six days before their first league game of the season.

Jed Wallace scored one and got two assists as Lions boss Neil Harris gave six of his close-season signings time on the pitch ahead of next Friday’s Championship opener against Nottingham Forest.

Wallace put Millwall in front in the 27th minute when he curled a free-kick into the bottom corner, before twice in a minute early in the second half he set up Shaun Williams and then Aiden O’Brien.

Tom Elliott twice went close to making it four after he had come on for Steve Morison, but Granada goalkeeper Rui Silva batted away his long-range effort and then the big striker saw his shot cleared off the line. In between, Silva came for a free-kick but was nowhere near the ball as Shaun Hutchinson’s header from Shane Ferguson’s delivery crashed back off the post.

It probably wasn’t the stern test Millwall would have been hoping for, but confidence should be high heading into next week.

Harris said the side he named this afternoon would be an indication of what he saw as his strongest XI and the one likely to start against Forest.

Millwall announced before kick-off they had completed the signing of former Manchester United and Fulham midfielder Ryan Tunnicliffe, and he was at The Den to watch his new team.

Jake Cooper was on the bench after joining from Reading on Friday, alongside Elliott.

Conor McLaughlin and James Meredith appear to be in pole positions ahead of Mahlon Romeo and club captain Tony Craig to start at the City Ground. The two other captures this summer, Wallace and George Saville, were part of a four-man midfield.

With Granada not starting their league campaign until August 20 Millwall would have expected to be the sharper side, and it was obvious they had raised their levels after no wins in their three previous friendly games.

Millwall’s quicker thinking was evident from the fourth minute when Byron Webster tried to lob Silva from a free-kick near halfway, and there wasn’t much to spare between ball and crossbar with the stopper backpedalling.

Ten minutes later, in front of the only open stand on Saturday, O’Brien skipped over a tackle but couldn’t pick out a team-mate. O’Brien, though, was full of confidence, going through his skills repertoire as the Lions imposed themselves on their Spanish second-tier opponents.

Saville demonstrated his goal-scoring ability when he returned to Wolves following his loan spell with Millwall in 2015-16, but he was off-target with a volley in the 17th minute after Morison had set him up.

Minutes later there were a couple of penalty shouts, first when Wallace tried to find a way through and then after O’Brien had a shot blocked.

O’Brien was a constant nuisance for Granada, and he won a free-kick on the right-edge of the box in the 27th minute, instinctively judging it was a more promising option than potentially losing the ball. Wallace stepped up and sent a dipping shot just inside the near post and Silva couldn’t get there in time.

Jordan Archer didn’t have a save to make until the 40th minute, and even then it was relatively straightforward as he got down low at his near post to keep out Angel Montoro’s low shot from a planned corner routine.

It was 2-0 in the 52nd minute and it was a well-worked goal on the edge of the box as Williams combined with Wallace before sending a low shot out of reach of Silva into the bottom corner.

Granada barely had time to regroup before it was three, and they could only blame themselves after some awful defending when they gave their opponents too much space, allowing Wallace to clip a cross to the far post and O’Brien had time to carefully plant a header past the hopelessly exposed Silva.

Elliott and Hutchinson could have made it an even more emphatic win, but after two successive blanks the Lions will be happy to have rediscovered their scoring form.

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly

(@jkelly1882)