Tolka Park hosted a pre-season friendly between Shelbourne and English Championship side Millwall on Monday night. The teams played out a scoreless draw but Shelbourne had chances to win the game, particularly in the second-half which they dominated.
For Millwall this game was a chance to gain valuable match practice in advance of the start of their season, while Shelbourne got the chance to test themselves against a team from the English Championship.
The Drumcondra side started brightly and strung together some good passing movements. However, both teams started to misplace passes and the first ten minutes descended into a scrappy affair. The first half chance of the game was for Millwall, when James Henry’s header found Jack Smith in the box. He poked his effort well wide. A minute later James Henry was involved again, as his powerful run and shot stung the hands of Jeffrey Wijnen in the Shels goal.
Millwall were almost gifted a goal in the 23rd minute when Robert Bayly passed back to his keeper without looking. Andy Keogh was the grateful recipient of the ball but his finish was poor and Wijnen made the save. Milwall were in the ascendancy and despite them only being in their pre-season, they looked the sharper team.
Millwall had another shot on target in the 28th minute when Chris Taylor brought another save from Jeffrey Wijnen with a powerful shot from outside the box.
Shelbourne failed to threaten the Millwall goal until the final five minutes of the first half. Sean Byrne blasted a shot over the Millwall goal on 40 minutes, while a minute later Brendan McGill found Barry Clancy in the box. His shot was blocked down by a Millwall defender. The first-half ended scoreless as Shels managed to hang on in the game, despite creating few clear cut chances.
As happens in these friendlies there were wholesale changes made to both teams at half time, with Shelbourne making eight substitutions at and Milwall making 11. For Shelbourne this meant the introduction of first-team regulars such as Philly Hughes and Philip Gorman. Millwall’s raft of changes saw Irish international goalkeeper David Forde making an appearance.
It was Shelbourne that benefited from the half-time changes as they started to look like a cohesive unit. The Reds almost broke the deadlock on 56 minutes when Liam Feeney left a backpass short and Philly Gorman nearly nipped in. David Forde was quick to clear and the game remained scoreless. Millwall went straight down the other end of the pitch and Dany N’Guessan blasted a powerful shot over the bar, as the game started to open up.
Conan Byrne went for the spectacular on 67 minutes when he spotted the Milwall keeper off his line and out of position. His long range effort had David Forde scrambling in the Millwall goal but he recovered to parry away. Kevin Dawson was following up, but he blasted his effort miles over.
Shels were almost in again two minutes later due to another mistake in the Millwall defence. Osborne stumbled at the edge of the box and lost control of the ball, which allowed Dave Cassidy in on goal, he tried to place his shot in the top corner but it drifted frustratingly wide.
Liam Feeney had a couple of rare chances for Millwall in the second half before Philly Hughes created a golden opportunity for Shelbourne on 84 minutes. His run in to the box and pull back deserved a goal but Dave Cassidy’s shot just drifted wide.
As the minutes ticked down it was Millwall that were hanging on and Kevin Dawson had two powerful shots that went just wide for Shelbourne in the final minutes of normal time.
Despite Shelbourne dominating the second-half, Millwall almost stole a victory in injury time. John Marquis’s free-kick hit the post as Chris Bennion was beaten in the Shels goal.
This was last chance of the game as Shelbourne got a deserved draw against Millwall and based on their second-half performance they were unlucky not to win.
Shelbourne: Jeffrey Wijnen (Chris Bennion 63); Gareth Matthews (Brian Shorthall 45), Stephen Paisley (Andy Boyle 45), Stephen Hurley (Stephen Sheerin 76), Sean Byrne (Lorcan Fitzgerald 45); Brendan McGill (Anto Murphy 45), Barry Clancy (David Cassidy 45), John Sullivan (Phily Gorman 45) (Dave Murphy 76) , Robert Bayly (Kevin Dawson 45), Conan Byrne (Paddy Kavanagh 76) ; Paul Byrne (Philly Hughes 45) .
Subs not used: None
Sendings Off: None
Millwall: Maik Taylor (David Forde 45); Darren Ward (Scott Barron 45), Jack Smith (Jake Goodman 45), Scott Malone (Alan Dunne 45), Shane Lowry (Karleigh Osborne 45); Chris Taylor (Conor Wilkinson 45), James Henry (Aiden O’Brien 37) (Jack Sammoutis 45), Jimmy Abdou (Liam Feeney 45), Josh Wright (Therry Racon 45),; Andy Keogh (John Marquis 45) , Sean Batt (Dany N’Guessan 45) .
Subs not used: None
Sendings Off: None
Referee: Neil Doyle
Attendance: 600 Estimate
Extratime.ie man of the match: Stephen Hurley