REPORT: Millwall 3-0 Newport County

CONNOR Mahoney scored and assisted Matt Smith for the second consecutive game as Millwall booked their place in fourth round of the FA Cup.

Smith gave Millwall the lead in the seventh minute when he finished from 10 yards from Mahoney’s low corner.

Mahoney made it 2-0 from the penalty spot in the 64th minute after Jon Dadi Bodvarsson had been clumsily bundled over in the box by Mark O’Brien.

Substitute Tom Bradshaw put the hosts 3-0 up with seven minutes left when he flicked Jason McCarthy’s cross over Tom King.

Millwall eventually tame Exiles – as Bradshaw moves ahead of Jed Wallace

After going ahead early Millwall failed to add to their advantage and it was Newport who could have levelled in the second half as they created at least two really good chances.

Millwall were sluggish in that period until Bradshaw came on and as he did against Luton gave them much more energy up front and linked the play well.

Newport struggled to cope with Mahoney who was full of confidence on the ball. He dispatched his penalty really well to put Millwall in a comfortable position.

And they put the game fully beyond the visitors when Bradshaw brilliantly lifted the ball over King at the near post for his 10th goal of the season.

It was the second game in a row the Lions scored three goals – with the same three scorers.

Mahoney and Smith combine again

If you give Mahoney an assist at Huddersfield – when Kamil Grabara dropped his corner to Smith – then it was the fourth time they had combined for a goal for the striker this season.

Millwall were given a helping hand – or a wild swish of the boot – by George Nurse who failed to clear Mahoney’s mis-hit low corner, and Smith reacted quickly to turn the ball past former Lions stopper King.

Mahoney put in a really promising display and was Millwall’s best attacking threat, playing a part in the third when he deftly chipped the ball into the path of McCarthy.

Youngster delivers composed display

Based on his two cup performances this season we should be seeing a lot more from Billy Mitchell in the first team.

He’s never afraid to show for the ball, even after one moment in the 60th minute when he was almost caught in possession with Millwall’s two centre-backs Alex Pearce and Jake Cooper split wide across the pitch.

But he was always there to tidy up and pick out a team-mate and he's the type of midfielder who could excel under Gary Rowett.

With Millwall set to strengthen in that midfield area in January that might not be this season, but he’s at the stage when he needs first-team football so a loan could be an ideal way forward.

Match details

Millwall made a good start and after Smith had given them the lead, Mahoney dribbled into the box but should have shot instead of trying to go past King and the ball went wide.

Mahoney went down in the box in the 26th minute after another thrilling run and claimed a penalty, but referee Tony Harrington played on and when the ball broke to Bodvarsson he forced King into a low save to his left.

Mahoney was central to most of Millwall’s attacking play and almost doubled the lead in the 32nd minute. In a pre-planned move Jiri Skalak directed a corner low to Mahoney appearing from the blind-side of the Exiles defence and Padraig Amond had to clear the winger’s right-footed effort away from close to the goal-line.

Bart Bialkowski saved Ryan Haynes’ effort from distance in the 38th minute and just before the break more neat footwork from Mahoney set up a shot but the winger fired over.

Newport stepped it up after the break and should have been level when Jamille Matt got through but Bialkowski made a superb block. Amond – who had scored in eight consecutive FA Cup rounds – followed up but blasted wide from six yards.

The Lions needed to wake up and the introduction of the so-lively Bradshaw re-energised them.

But Mahoney was the real star of the show and he planted his penalty low into King’s bottom-left corner before combining with McCarthy as Bradshaw scored the third.

Team news

Rowett made six changes from the side that started in the 3-1 Championship win over Luton Town on New Year's Day.

McCarthy made his first start since September as he came in at right-back. Murray Wallace returned to the side on the left side of the defence.

Mahoney and Skalak started in the wide midfield positions. Mitchell started his second senior game and Bodvarsson partnered Smith up front in a 4-4-2 formation.

4-4-2: Bialkowski; McCarthy (Brown, 83), Pearce, Cooper, M Wallace; Mahoney, Mitchell, Molumby, Skalak (Ferguson, 79); Smith (Bradshaw, 59), Bodvarsson.

Subs: Steele, Hutchinson, J Wallace, O’Brien.

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly