REPORT: Concord Rangers 0-4 Millwall

By Jake Sanders

TOM Bradshaw made his long-awaited return from a serious knee injury as Millwall began their pre-season campaign by thrashing National League South side Concord Rangers on Saturday afternoon.

Shaun Williams started the scoring midway through the first-half before two goals in the space of 60 second-half seconds from Ben Thompson and Reuben Duncan made it 3-0. Fred Onyedinma added a fourth with the last kick of the game.



Neil Harris named a strong starting line-up and handed debuts to summer signings Frank Fielding, who recently joined on a free transfer after his release from Bristol City at the end of the 2018-19 season, and Matt Smith, who signed from London rivals Queens Park Rangers earlier this week.

Bradshaw, who missed almost the whole of last season after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament at Brentford in early November also started, as did youngsters Danny McNamara, Billy Mitchell and 18-year-old left-back Junior Tiensia.

Shane Ferguson was absent from Neil Harris' squad at The Aspect Arena after his international commitments with Northern Ireland early last month meant he missed the start of pre-season, while Aiden O'Brien and James Brown were ruled out with groin and knee injuries respectively.



Millwall started well and Smith struck the bar with his first touch in a Lions shirt before the former QPR striker nodded narrowly wide moments later.

Smith, who was everywhere in the opening quarter, went close on again on 14 minutes, but couldn't beat Chris Haigh at his near post after he was found by Jed Wallace on the right.

But despite their domination, it was Concord that almost broke the deadlock in fortuitous fashion as space opened up for Decarrey Sheriff, but his deflected effort was well-held by Fielding.

Concord continued to remain a threat, but it was the Lions that took the lead just past the half-hour mark. Fielding's long pass was flicked on by Smith into the path of Wallace, who picked Shaun Williams to lash home into the far corner after a clever dummy from Bradshaw at the near post.

Smith was inches away from doubling Millwall's lead, but Wallace's cross was just too far in front of him, while up the other end, Fielding needed to be at his best to stop David Nouble from levelling, making a sharp save to keep it at 1-0.

Millwall should have gone into the interval further in front, but both Bradshaw, after a good flick from Smith, and then Jiri Skalak from close range, were lacking the finishing touch.

Harris changed his entire XI at the break, introducing a youthful side and giving 20-year-old goalkeeper Ryan Sandford, who recently signed a new deal with the club, his first taste of senior action in a Lions shirt. Harry Ransom, Sam Skeffington and recent signing from AFC Wimbledon, Tyler Burey, were all given minutes.

But just 10 minutes into the second period, Millwall were dealt a blow as Tom Elliott hobbled off with a hamstring injured and was replaced by Duncan. That moment came soon after Thompson was denied by Dan Confrey after excellent work from Mahlon Romeo as the Lions went in search of that second.

Thompson had another go on the hour mark, but his deflected strike from distance was comfortably held by Confrey.

On 73 minutes Thompson went one better as he marked his return from a hamstring injury with a well-deserved goal, slotting home from close range after another perfect Romeo cross.

And less than a minute later Millwall had a third. Ryan Leonard was the provider this time, picking out Duncan, who arrived with a powerful diving header to make it 3-0.

Onyedinma headed home a fourth from a Burey assist to complete the scoring for Millwall, who next travel to Portugal on Friday to play two behind-closed-doors friendlies, before resuming their pre-season schedule on home soil with a trip to neighbours Gillingham on July 21.

First-half XI: 4-4-2: Fielding, McNamara, Pearce, Cooper, Tiensia, J. Wallace, Williams, Mitchell, Skalak, Bradshaw, Smith.  

Second-half XI: 4-4-2: Sandford, Romeo, Hutchinson, Ransom, M. Wallace, Burey, Leonard, Thompson, Skeffington, Onyedinma, Elliott (Duncan, 55).

Staff

(@NewsAtDen)