Brave Woodbridge beaten 9-1 away at Millwall in FA Youth Cup
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Woodbridge Town Under 18’s fairytale run in the FA Youth Cup came to an abrupt end as they lost 9-1 at League One Millwall last night.
The Lions never gave the Suffolk youngsters time to settle on the big stage, scoring five times in the opening 27 minutes, and netting nine in total as they cruised into the Third Round Proper to set up a derby match against Charlton.
Victory over a full-time academy team on their own patch was never likely, but Woodbridge never gave up, and got their memorable moment in the 62nd minute when Calum Sinclair scored.
Woodbridge barely had time to adapt to The Den’s surroundings when Millwall opened their account for the evening.
After a flowing move forced Harry Knights to concede a corner, centre-half Rian Bray saw his firm header cleared off the line by the midriff of Niki Shopov, only for fellow defender James White to react the quickest and prod home the rebound in the third minute.
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Just five minutes later, things got worse for the Suffolk side as the unfortunate Cameron Panich slipped on the half-way line, with Ebere Eze putting through the perfect pass for Mikael Ndjoli to calmly slot past Alfie Stronge.
Good defensive clearances from Brad Docker and Panich prevented Millwall from adding further goals to their rampant start, but in the 13th minute, the London side scored a third. James Brown sent in a teasing cross which Knights turned into his own net from close-range.
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It was almost four in the 16th minute when Eze dazzled past three or four challenges, but Stronge made a fine block with his legs.
The Woodpeckers regathered themselves for a short spell, but then conceded twice inside a minute.
The clinical Ndjoli shot home number four in 26th minute from another Eze pass, while left-winger Matthew Campbell-Mhlope got in on the act moments later with a cheeky chip, despite Ndjoli trying to steal the strike from on the goal-line!
Millwall’s attack was relentless and at times a joy to watch, but the Woodpeckers – who defeated Football League opposition in Dagenham & Redbridge in the last round – didn’t let their heads drop, keeping the score-line at five until half-time.
Ndjoli thought he’d got his hat-trick in the 51st minute, only for the linesman’s offside flag to scupper his celebrations, before Noah Chesmain scored a stunning left-foot shot three minutes later, taking on three Woodbridge defenders before arrowing into the top corner.
Striker Ndjoli then did grab his hat-trick from the spot in the 58th minute after Shopov brought him down, but Woodbridge’s big moment came in the 62nd minute when Sinclair produced a tidy finish from George Bowman’s flick, much to the delight of the strong travelling support.
It was the least Woodbridge’s efforts deserved in a memorable FA Youth Cup run which has seen them get further than a host of Football League clubs.
Ndjoli scored his fourth, and Millwall’s eighth in the 81st minute, with substitute Lewis White’s solo goal rounding off the scoring in the 88th minute.