The Bees continued their pre-season preparations with a behind closed doors training ground friendly at Championship side Millwall.
First Half Team
Trialist GK, Thomas, Turley, Richards-Everton, Doherty, Brundle, Payne, Vasiliou, Trialist A, Mason-Clark, Marriott
The first-half started at a good pace with both sides feeling their way into the game which was played in the blistering sunshine in South London.
The Bees started brightly against a Lions team that featured several First Team regulars, albeit despite some early set-pieces we couldn’t gain the lead.
The Lions weren’t shy of an early chance either with a free-kick that whistled inches wide of the post after the effort deflected off the Bees wall.
On 15 minutes, the hosts created the first big opportunity of the match, as a cross found the imperious Matt Smith, but the striker couldn’t hit the target.
Smith didn’t spurn his next opportunity however as he headed home from six yards out after a fast Lions breakaway punished the Bees.
The Bees looked to make an immediate response and had a sight of goal as Antonis Vasiliou broke away on the left hand side but his cross didn’t find any Bees attacking the area.
Kewell’s men played with plenty of purpose but were stifled by a very experienced and organised Lions backline. The centre midfield pair of Josh Payne and Mitch Brundle did well again to break up play and try to orchestrate attacks.
As half time approached Millwall had another good opening as they broke forwards only for the attacker to fire over from 12 yards as he broke away from Josh Doherty.
Up the other end, we created a fantastic chance to level as Vasiliou’s cross found Adam Marriott who just misguided his header, before the ball broke for Brundle on the edge of the box, but his effort went over the crossbar.
Ultimately, we were punished on the stroke of half time as a Lions free-kick found Smith who guided his header into the bottom corner.
We continued to press and had another good chance to pull one back, as Mason-Clark’s teasing ball found Marriott who picked up Brundle, but again the effort whistled over the crossbar.
The Bees trialist goalkeeper then made an outstanding stop just before the whistle as he scooped away a powerful downward header.
HALF TIME – MFC 2-0 BFC
Second half team:
Trialist GK B, Trialist B, Trialist C, Nugent, Beard, Trialist D, Trialist E, Granville, Taylor (74’ Trialist H), Trialist F, Trialist G.
Both sides made 11 changes at the break and it was another strong Millwall lineup for the Bees to face, lead up front by the experienced striker, Benik Afobe.
Kewell’s side started well with Trialist F breaking away on the left flank, but his low cross just evaded the on-rushing attackers who were approaching the six yard box.
The start of the second half produced very little in the way of goalmouth action, the Championship side enjoyed lots of possession, but the Bees were well structured and organised in defence.
The Bees posed a threat on the counter attack and midway through the half enjoyed some good spells of possession, albeit much like their Championship counterparts they couldn’t create anything too clear cut. Gary Rowett’s side eventually did carve a clear opening on goal and it fell to Afobe, but the former Bournemouth man headed wide from six yards out.
After an extended water-break, the action got back underway and the game continued at a similar tempo with both sides trying their best to dictate the play by keeping possession.
After a collision with a Millwall man, Harry Taylor was withdrawn as a precaution, with no risks being taken at this early stage of pre-season.
The Bees thought they had one back on the scoreline but the linesman’s flags ruled out Trialist G’s close range finish.
All in all, another good workout for Harry Kewell’s side against a high level of opposition and 45 minutes in the tank for the vast majority of the squad.
It’s Championship opposition up next for the Bees, as they welcome Peterborough United to The Hive London, stay tuned for ticket information.