Pre-season friendly: Southend United 2 Millwall 1
JOHN CHUBB at Roots Hall
Supersub Theo Robinson came off the bench for Southend United and secured victory for them In a keenly contested game against EFL Championship side Millwall, managed by ex-Blues striker Neil Harris who included former Roots Hall favourite Ryan Leonard in their line-up.
In what was a fairly even contest during the first quarter of an hour, there was little in the way of genuine chances although the Lions’ Jiri Skalak had a shot blocked early on, then at the other end Southend’s Stephen McLoughlin was thwarted by visiting goalkeeper Ryan Sandford.
On 24 minutes Southend won a free kick after Stephen McLoughlin was adjudged to have been fouled, but it was fired a long way over the bar by Stephen Humphrys.
As the half wore on Southend began to gain some momentum and put together some decent passing moves, and with 6 minutes of the first half left midfielder Sam Mantom whipped in a very good cross from the left flank for Dru Yearwood, which was only just cleared by a Millwall defender.
About a minute later the visitors had a chance to score at the other end, after Yearwood fouled Ferguson but the resultant free kick was way off target.
Southend looked more threatening going forward and certainly had the better chances of the first 45 minutes. Many of their attacks were played out from the back four, often being started by Australian international and new signing Mark Miligan.
Full backs Elvis Bwomono and newcomer Nathan Ralph also impressed, creating good chances and making some decent runs from the back.
Blues made one change at the start of the second half, with Luke Hyam replacing Dru Yearwood in the midfield.
But it was Millwall who took the lead in the third minute after the restart, in bizarre circumstances.
Southend centre half Harry Lennon attempted a clearance but it only went as far as his defensive colleague Ralph, who was powerless to stop it from striking him, then from the ball looping over blues goalkeeper Mark Oxley and into the net to make it 1-0 to the visitors.
But just after the hour mark Milligan had a great chance to equalise as did Luke Hyam a few minutes afterwards. Then Humphreys also had an effort, but it was comfortably caught by Sandford.
Then came a double substitution that really paid off for Shrimpers manager Kevin Bond. Theo Robinson was one of the players brought on 16 minutes from time, and just two minutes later he equalised, crashing the ball superbly into the top of the net to level the scores.
And three minutes later Robinson pounced again, heading the ball past Sandford at the near post to make it 2-1 to the Blues, following a well placed corner from fellow forward Brandon Goodship.
The Lions had a couple of late chances from Skalak and Jed Wallace, but Southend held on to earn a well earned win against the side a league higher than them.
Southend United: Mark Oxley, Elvis Bwomono, Trialist, Harry Lennon, Nathan Ralph, Stephen McLoughlin (Trialist 74), Dru Yearwood (Luke Hyam 46), Sam Mantom (Charlie Kelman 70), Mark Milligan, Brandon Goodship (Trialist 84), Stephen Humphrys (Theo Robinson 74).
Millwall: Ryan Sandford, Murray Wallace, Shaun Hutchinson, Jed Wallace (Junior Tiensa 87), Ben Thompson (Billy Mitchell 76), Tom Bradshaw (Tyler Buddy 80), Shane Ferguson, Ryan Leonard, Jon Dadi Barvarsson (Matt Smith 60), Dan McNamara, Jiri Skalak.
Attendance: 2070 (including 509 from Millwall)