MILLWALL completed their first-team pre-season friendly schedule with a 1-0 win over Vfl Bochum in Jimmy Abdou’s testimonial at The Den.
Jed Wallace gave Millwall the lead just before the break when he fired in off the crossbar from Steve Morison’s lay-off.
Wallace was Millwall’s main attacking threat and twice he won free-kicks on the edge of the box after the break but the Lions couldn’t profit from them.
Bochum offered little in attack in the second period, registering only one shot on target that Ben Amos saved.
Saville comes on for Abdou after five minutes
Millwall had just won a corner at Abdou’s planned departure time, so Neil Harris delayed bringing on George Saville.
Instead he instructed Abdou to go into the box. Goal scoring was never Abdou’s forte – only nine in 342 Lions appearances – so it was a long shot he would get on the end of something here.
It did lead to Millwall’s first chance, Shaun Hutchinson heading over, before Abdou’s number 26 went up. As you’d expect he got a standing ovation from Lions fans, with every Millwall player including goalkeeper Jordan Archer embracing him as he went off.
Abdou had worn the captain’s armband and passed it to Aiden O’Brien to give to Morison before sharing a hug with his former team-mate and manager Harris.
The big screen showed Abdou’s goals for the club but it was all fairly low-key for a player that never demanded the limelight and was happy for others to shine in it.
Abdou got one touch, an appropriate one as he disrupted a Bochum passing move and was cheered by the crowd. He played for those five minutes as if he was still part of the Millwall squad competing for a place next weekend, and he leaves firmly a positive part of the club's history.
Millwall flat before kicking on
It took Millwall a long time to be an attacking force. Bochum goalkeeper Felix Dornebusch spent some of the first 45 minutes halfway between his goal and the halfway line as his side passed well but never really looked a threat.
Wallace has been Millwall’s form player this pre-season and he scored another superb goal after his brilliant curled effort at Colchester.
He slammed in his shot off the crossbar and continued to be a menace after the break, drawing a foul and a yellow card from Timo Perthel midway through the second period.
Jan Gyamerah was then in the book for scything down substitute Conor McLaughlin. That was really the only impact Bochum were having in the game.
They did manage to once test Amos – who had come on for Jordan Archer at half-time – but he showed strong hands to palm away Lukas Hinterseer’s shot.
Starting XI for Middlesbrough
The one player with the most to gain today, you suspect, was Fred Onyedinma. He started up front with Morison and had chances to stretch his legs and use his pace…but more often than not he didn't make the most of those moments.
He still seems unsure sometimes what to do in possession, especially when it comes to that final incisive pass. At one point in the second half Millwall had a chance to break through Onyedinma, Morison and Wallace, but when Onyedinma had the opportunity to play in one of the other two his pass lacked conviction. He has shown with performances against Leeds and Villa here last season what he is capable of. It’s now a question of how Millwall’s coaching staff harness and unleash that talent. A lot of that is down to the player himself, though.
Millwall are hopeful of getting a deal for Czech international winger Jiri Skalak over the line ahead of next Saturday.
Otherwise, the first team next weekend almost picks itself.
We expect it to be:
4-4-2: Archer; Romeo, Hutchinson, Cooper, Meredith; Wallace, Williams, Saville, O’Brien; Morison, Gregory.
Image: Millwall FC