- English Football League - Championship
- Saturday, May 1st 2021
- The Den
James Crawley reports from The Den
Report: Millwall 4-1 Bristol City
Saturday, May 1st 2021
Tommy Conway’s first professional goal proved in vain as City were beaten 4-1 by Millwall at The Den.
It was not the start Nigel Pearson planned for, this being his first game since signing a three-year contract as manager but he did see his side battle back in the early exchanges, after falling behind.
Jed Wallace broke through on goal to open the scoring early on, before Conway rounded Bartosz Bialkowski to equalise.
However, Scott Malone put Millwall ahead with a shot in off the post, before second-half goals from Tom Bradshaw and Billy Mitchell rubbed salt into the wounds in South London.
Pearson made five changes to his squad, one of those in goal with Max O’Leary named behind a back five which consisted of a first campaign appearance for Nathan Baker, following his long road to full recovery. Jack Hunt started at right-back with Adrian Mariappa brought back into the starting XI too, while Kasey Palmer returned to midfield. Teenage striker Conway kept his place in the side following his full debut a week ago, while fellow youngster Louis Britton, who scored for the Under-23s on Tuesday, was named on the bench for the first time. Jay Dasilva, who had been absent through injury since December, was also on the bench but Zak Vyner, Tyreeq Bakinson and Famara Diédhiou were all out as a precaution with knee knocks.
City were a force here when they knocked Millwall out of the Emirates FA Cup back in January, but they were quickly behind on this occasion.
There was a potential handball missed by referee Joshua Smith in the build-up but Ryan Woods got away with it amid a close tussle with Han-Noah Massengo. Instead, the ball broke for Malone who sent Wallace away with a searching through ball. Only Hunt was back to try and put him under pressure, but Wallace fired low into the bottom left corner inside the fifth minute.
But City weren’t behind for long as ten minutes later Conway delivered with his first senior goal. It came after a good counter-attack from City and Lansbury played a perfectly-weighted pass for Conway. He latched on to it, just beating he onrushing goalkeeper and defender, before keeping a cool head to finish into the empty net.
It was a moment of pure delight for the Academy graduate who slid on his knees in celebration, and he might have done similar soon after when he had the chance to put the Robins in front.
Kasey Palmer disposed Billy Mitchell in the Lions’ own half and the attacking midfielder raced away before squaring a ball to Conway in the box. He was unmarked and opted to shoot first time when he could have taken a touch instead, and he ended up firing wide.
It was a let off for the hosts who would make City pay just after the half-hour mark. George Evans whipped in a delivery which was flicked int the path of Malone, who struck the ball past O’Leary on the half-volley, his shot kissing the post on its way into the goal.
It meant City would go into the second half behind and Pearson decided on a double change with Dasilva and Alex Scott – handed his City debut - brought on for Rowe and Lansbury, respectively.
But Millwall soon stretched their lead after good defending from Adrian Mariappa who frustrated Mason Bennet. From the corner, O’Leary made a point-blank range save and Tomas Kalas cleared off the line amid pinball in the penalty area, but ball eventually broke for Mitchell who blasted the ball into the top corner.
The Lions struck a fourth before the hour-mark too. Mariappa’s pass to Kalas was a little short and as the captain tried to turn he was robbed of the ball by Bradshaw, who was raced through on goal before clipping the ball past O’Leary.
Another double change soon followed for City as Conway and Hunt made way for Antoine Semenyo and Steven Sessegnon, respectively.
It could still have got worse for the visitors with 18 minutes remaining, but O’Leary denied Bradshaw a second goal of the day. Danny McNamara played a one-two two advance down the right-hand side, clipping a cross for the head of Bradshaw but his header was placed straight into the arms of O’Leary.
Ádám Nagy’s introduction saw Wells depart the pitch in the final change of the day as both sides battled out the remaining moments. Semenyo did strike narrowly wide and Baker blazed over from distance but those chances came to nothing in a disappointing trip for Pearson’s side.
The curtain closes on City’s season next weekend when they host Brentford at Ashton Gate (May 8th, 12.30pm KO).
- Jed Wallace (5') , Malone (31') , Mitchell (52') , Bradshaw (58')
- Billy Mitchell, Ryan Woods, Dan McNamara, Jed Wallace, Tom Bradshaw
- Conway (16')
- Tommy Rowe, Jack Hunt, Henri Lansbury, Nahki Wells, Tommy Conway