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Report: Bristol City U23s 3-0 Millwall U23s

City Under-23s extended their unbeaten run to five matches with a 3-0 win over Millwall in the Professional Development League. 

Luke Williams’ starting XI was bolstered by the experience of Milan Djuric, who returned to competitive action for the first time since the groin injury he sustained in the club’s opening pre-season fixture in Guernsey. 

Jake Andrews opened the scoring from the penalty spot just before the half-time whistle, before Arnold Garita and Conor Lemonheigh-Evans both found the target in the second period, to ensure a comfortable victory for the development group.

REPORT IN DETAIL

In testing conditions at the Stoke Gifford Stadium, both sides struggled to find a real foothold in the opening stages. 

The first notable opportunity didn’t arise until the 13th minute when Opanin Edwards raced clear of his marker before striking inches wide of Ryan Sandford’s near post from a closing angle. 

The home side continued to push forward in search of the opener, and Jake Andrews came closest when he stung the palms of Millwall’s shot stopper with a powerful effort from the angle of the box, who smothered the loose ball at the second attempt. 

Next came a moment of controversy when Djuric went to ground under Christian Mbulu’s challenge and with all eyes on the referee, Mark Whaley confidently waved away all protests. 

Moments later, the lively Edwards again surged down the right flank and his angled shot flashed past Sandford, who watched the ball crash against his far post, with the rebound agognisingly evading the onrushing Garita and Andrews.

City finally had their deserved breakthrough minutes before the interval when Edwards tricked his way into the area and was forced to ground when he was caught by Noah Chesmain’s outstretched leg. 

Andrews authoritatively placed the ball on the spot and found the bottom corner from 12 yards, sending Sandford the wrong way. 

The hosts started the second half on the front foot - similar to how they ended the first - and their advantage was doubled just 12 minutes later. 

Lemonheigh-Evans broke from a central position and slipped a perfectly weighted pass through to the advancing Garita, who shrugged off a challenge before guiding his side-footed effort into the far corner. 

The Welsh midfielder then went from being the architect to the goalscorer within eight second half minutes. 

Lemonheigh-Evans latched on to Tyreeq Bakinson’s pass and individually carved open the Millwall defence before beating a frustrated Sandford at his near post.

As the game wore on, Millwall threw bodies forward in an attempt to reduce the deficit, but Max O’Leary snuffed out all the danger to ensure he kept his clean sheet, and City secured a merited three points.

REACTION

On the victory, the Under-23s boss said: “I wasn’t delighted with the overall performance but I am pleased to get the win and extend our unbeaten run. 

"We haven’t had many clean sheets this season so I am happy with that, and we needed Max to make a few good saves, but saying that, I thought the team protected him well.”

City Under-23s: O’Leary, Parsons, Nurse, Bakinson, Plavotic, Baldowin, Edwards, Lemonheigh-Evans, Andrews (Holden), Djuric (Richards), Garita (Akpobire). Subs not used: Sesay, Morton.