New-look Eastbourne Borough side face early test against powerful Millwall side
Lee Bradbury’s new-look Borough faced a searching early test when they entertained a powerful Millwall Under-23 side at Priory Lane on Tuesday.
Under-23 football at the major professional clubs can often mean stylish but easy-paced contests, but Millwall teams don’t do easy-paced. From the first whistle the combative Londoners, who included several players with Football League experience, were winning challenges and pinging quick passes to stretch Borough.
The home side held their own admirably, though, and in a very even first half chances came and went at both ends. Elliott Romain sent a curling header just too high, and Charlie Walker also headed wide from a Kiran Khinda-John free-kick.
Romain’s livewire first half continued with a dazzling run and final shot which only found the side netting. Then Walker’s own free-kick from 25 yards was inches wide. Bradbury’s selection of three centre-backs was giving free rein to wing-backs Adebayo-Rowling and Campbell, and the sizeable home crowd were impressed.
At the other end, as Millwall finished the first half strongly, new Borough keeper Tom Hadler brilliantly turned over a rocket shot from Jacob Munting, and the half ended goalless.
As so often happens in friendlies, the second half was less meaningful. A procession of Sports changes gave useful game time to several other players, including new forwards Nicky Wheeler and Greg Luer, but it also cost the home side. Millwall took advantage of an error on the left of the borough defence for an easy tap-in goal on 57 minutes, and late in the game Junior Tiensa’s drilled cross-shot doubled the lead.
But on the night the result was secondary, and both management and supporters will have liked much of what they saw from Borough.
Bradbury takes his squad to the Dripping Pan tomorrow (Saturday) for a further friendly against Lewes, kick-off 3.00pm.
Harry Watch: there was no early return to the Lane for former Sports centre-back Harry Ramsden, signed Millwall at the end of last season. The 19-year-old has travelled to Portugal with the Millwall first team squad on their pre-season training camp, and was on the bench on Tuesday when the Lions took on FC Porto.