MILLWALL lost 1-0 to Barnet in their pre-season friendly at The Hive Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
John Akinde put Barnet ahead in the 18th minute and the striker almost made it 2-0 10 minutes before half-time but couldn’t keep his back-post header down.
Barnet goalkeeper Jamie Stephens had little to do before the break, but seven minutes before half-time the Bees goalkeeper made a double stop to keep out Steve Morison and then Shane Ferguson.
Five minutes into the second half it was Akinde again who should have doubled the lead. His pace took him away from Shaun Hutchinson and Byron Webster but with just substitute goalkeeper Tom King to beat the striker made a mess of the finish.
David Worrall tested Stephens with a snap-shot from outside the box in the 63rd minute but the stopper did well to keep hold of the ball in testing conditions.
At the other end Barnet substitute Mauro Vilhete headed off target after an impressive move by his side.
It was Akinde again threatening with just under 20 minutes left as he flashed a left-footed shot just wide of King’s right-hand post.
Lions boss Neil Harris left a number of first-team players at the training ground on Calmont Road on Saturday, and they will start at Stevenage on Tuesday evening as Millwall aim for a first win in pre-season.
Wembley’s arch can be glimpsed on the pathway leading to The Hive Stadium but Millwall moved on quickly since that day just over two months ago when they won promotion, adding quality to the squad ahead of their return to the Championship.
Both full-backs on Saturday were in last season’s League One team of the year, Conor McLaughlin making his first start in pre-season, with James Meredith at left-back.
But in incessant rain in north London it was Barnet who were the slicker side in the first half. Jack Taylor and Akinde tested Jordan Archer with low drives that the goalkeeper did well to hold.
Archer was left completely exposed in the 18th minute, however, after Harry Taylor had slid a ball behind Millwall’s defence, and Akinde, Barnet’s top scorer last season, finished at the near post.
Akinde was in one of those moods that made you wonder why he is still playing fourth-tier football, and before half-time it was Webster who was bouncing off him on halfway.
Archer was the busier goalkeeper, and he had to claw a cross from Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro from under his crossbar and then he was scampering across his goal to make sure he had midfielder Ruben Bover’s free-kick covered as the ball went wide.
Millwall could have levelled in the 38th minute. Stephens had up to then only had to deal with a Shaun Williams volley that was straight at him, but after a fingertip save from Morison’s carefully placed shot he was on his feet to save Ferguson’s follow-up header on the line.
Akinde had earlier headed over after the ball had glanced off Hutchinson’s head from Bover’s cross.
Akinde should have extended Barnet’s lead when he was through with just King to beat, but at the last moment he shifted the ball from his right to his left foot and mis-kicked when it seemed he would have a relatively easy finish.
Things started to heat up in midfield when Williams clashed with Bover, before Worrall and Jamal Campbell-Ryce had to be separated after the latter had tackled the Millwall midfielder with the whistle already gone for a foul.
Campbell-Ryce, playing just off Akinde, was running things in the attacking third for Barnet. He was involved several times in a move of more than 20 successive passes before Vilhete rose in the box but couldn’t direct his effort inside the post.
Harris made a double change with 10 minutes left, James Brown and Kris Twardek coming on for McLaughlin and Ferguson.
But Barnet held on relatively comfortably against their Championship opponents.
Image: Millwall FC