Millwall kicked off pre-season last night with a 1-0 win over non-league Dartford. The Lions, as expected featured two teams with a mixture of senior, youth and trialist players.
Last night’s result has given Millwall fans an insight into how the team are playing. One major thing for fans to be pleased about is the drastic changes in fitness. Players such as Nicky Bailey and David Forde looked slim and raring to go.
The Lions had a mixed style of play, which shows how they’ve worked at the pre-season training camp in the Algarve. Players were switching from long cross field balls, to short passes and through balls. Millwall players also looked confident to take on the opposite and weren’t afraid to try a skill or two.
The two trialists who featured yesterday should be pleased with themselves. Matt Briggs at left back had a quality game, he attacked well and was solid defensively also. He made some good crosses and looked good going forward but unfortunately no one was on the end of the crosses. The other trialist Magaye Gueye also played very well, especially with the ball at his feet. The former Everton man created himself a few chances with his trickery and had a couple of shots that he placed just over the bar. But, Gueye didn’t look the best player in the air, which could be his downfall. French striker Jean-Eudes Maurice did not feature.
The two new signings all played well; Byron Webster really pleased me, he’s a great communicator and has a brilliant header on him. Lee Gregory looked promising alongside Jernaine Easter. Gregory held the ball up well and made some good runs inside the opposition’s back four. He could prove to be a major influence in the Millwall squad next year.
One of the players who shocked me was Justin Hoyte. Since Holloway’s reign at The Den he hasn’t featured because the manager regarded him as ‘not fit enough’. But, last night he came back and looked a different player! He was getting forward a lot and pressing the opposition before being forced off by injury.
Three of Millwall’s youth players who featured all had an exciting game. Sid Nelson, who’s never featured in the first team before had his chance after Carlos Edwards, the man who replaced Hoyte, was forced off with injury. He certainly took it. The defender has shown he has the ability to compete for a place in the first team with his committed tackles and running off of the ball. John Marquis, was his usual self, chasing down the ball and holding up the play for others. He had a terrific chance at the back post after a cross from the right side but put it wide. Aiden O’Brien also played and was impressive, he had a good chance but he couldn’t quite get to the ball. O’Brien also had the same attitude as Marquis, which is good to see.
Overall, a good performance by everyone, signs of a real strong team emerging who can compete for a top space in the championship. The team looked exciting going forward aswell.
Millwall’s man of the first half, for me would have been Gueye for his running and crossing ability. For the second half, it would of been Lee Martin, as he was brilliant down the wing and played some good balls into the box!
Dartford gave Millwall a real game and proved a test for our boys playing some good football and they got in behind a few times, but couldn’t provide the finish.