Millwall 2 Aston Villa 4
By Ian Malin
Bremner was twice on the score sheet in Millwall's friendly against Aston Villa on Saturday. But Den favourite Kevin only scored one goal, older brother Des spoilt things for him by restoring the First Division club's lead after a Millwall fight back.
With the cricket season still in full swing, it would be fair to say that Villa won this contest by about seven wickets. Like the West Indies this summer, when Villa were in trouble they were able to slip into a higher gear and easily win the game.
In all Villa used 18 players throughout the game and, at times, all of them seemed to be on the pitch. They appeared to have an extra five yards on the Millwall players and looked like winning the game by the interval.
But a fine individual goal by Dean Neal after 28 minutes put the Lions back in the match after Villa had taken a two goal lead.
Kevin Bremner looked sharp in the Millwall attack and with the game nearly an hour old he side-footed an equaliser after Cusack headed back a corner from new-boy Les Briley.
After Des Bremner had crashed home a third for Villa, Steve McMahon settled the game with a spectacular fourth a minute later.
Of Millwall's new players it, was Les Briley, a half-time substitute for Alan McLeary who caught the eye. Briley - gave a busy performance in midfield but missed a chance 20 minutes from time when Nigel Spink smothered his shot.
A large crowd for the game against the glamorous Midland outfit was 2,692 - a respectable enough turnout with the new season still three weeks away.
Millwall: Sansome (Wells), Lovell, Martin, Smith, Roffey, Mcleary (Briley), Kinsella (Cusack), Chatterton (Otulakowski), Neal, Bremner.
Above Right and Below Right: Bremner scores the Equaliser and his brother Des can't quite hide his pride.
Below: Lindsay Smith had a fine match against Villa
Millwall pulled back from 2-0 down to level at 2-2 with Dean Neal and Kevin Bremner getting their goals, but Aston Villa pulled out the stops and added two more goals in the match at the Den on Saturday.
George Graham said: “I hope the crowd (2,692) appreciate that we brought them top opposition and that they saw a good First Division side.“
“I told my players to take an example from Steve McMahon, who one minute was scoring a goal and the next as defending and fighting for the ball in his own penalty area. He's my idea of a class player”.
“Anton Otulakowski is one of the best players in his division, but only on the ball. He should copy Steve, on and off the ball. Third division players may not have his ability but that's no reason why they have the same application the job.”
“That's the difference between first and lower division players. They have the will to win. I thought David Martin had an outstanding match as did Dean Neal”.
But the referee John Moules, from Essex, spoilt the game. He awarded a disputed penalty when Nicky Chatterton unintentionally handled the ball - Nicky couldn't get his hand away in time, in the tenth minute.
”You can't give Villa a goal start, early on and really make a match of it” he said.
Graham was happy at the result at Wimbledon, on Tuesday, when his team fought back from 1-0 down to win 2-1.
Bremner beats Nigel Spink to the cross but puts it wide
Teddy Sheringharn and Steve Lowndes were the second half scorers.
Graham said: “I was very happy at the way the team played. We were without six of our players, through injury, Kevin Bremner, Neal, Chatterton, Mickey Nutton, Keith Stevens and Lindsay Smith, but the lads who came in for them did well.”
“All the pre-season matches we're playing a highly competitive. There's no way that the match with Wimbledon wasn't going to be just that and the derby with Charlton and the Luton game the following Friday will he real tests for us. There's going to be real competition for places in all departments this season.”
Millwall new-boy Les Briley will miss out on a return to his old club tonight.
Manager George Graham has pulled Briley and fellow midfield man Anton
Otulakowski out of the friendly, at Wimbledon.|
Briley, who played for Wimbledon before signing for Aldershot, completed the move back to London in a exchange deal with Millwall
But as he and Otulakowski will be suspended for the first two matches of the season, manager Graham will leave them on the side-lines. And Graham had some harsh wards for Otulakowski, voted Player of the Year last season after Saturday's 4-2 Den defeat by Aston Villa.
Graham said, “When we've got the ball Anton plays well, when we haven't got the ball he doesn't play. He should have learned a lesson from the Villa players, who worked hard right through the game. Anton thinks he's one of the best players in this Division, and probably right - but only when he's on the ball.”
“The impressive thing about Villa is their will to win.
Also missing from the outing win be Micky Nutton, struggling to shake off a leg injury.”
|Lions spoil the party|
Wimbledon 1 Millwall 2
by Ian Malin
WIMBLEDON came back to earth after their tour of Sweden when they surrendered a one goal lead to dogged Millwall.
Last week the Dons returned home after a spree in Scandinavia in which they won all three games an crashed in 19 goals.
But Millwall spoilt their homecoming and in this friendly it was difficult to tell which side will he lining up in Division Two in a fortnight's time.
At a rain-swept Plough Lane, Wimbledon took the lead after half an hour when substitute Andy Sayer headed home a Glyn Hodges corner
Wimbledon looked the better side in the first half with on-loan Paul O'Berg catching the eye.
After the interval. Millwall took the game by the scruff of the neck and were soon level. Wimbledon's defence stood still as a Tony Kinsella shot was saved by Beasant and Steve Lowndes forced the ball over the line.
Anton Otulakowski second half appearance seemed to act as a spur to the visitors and 20 minutes from time Teddy Sheringham side footed the winner from close range after a cross from another substitute John Neal.
WIMBLEDON: Beasant, Kay, Winterburn (Hatter), Smith, Morris. Handford (Galliers). Evans, Ketteridge, Cork, O'Berg, Hodges.
MILLWALL: Sansome (Wells), Lovell, Roffey, Mcleary, Martin, Cusack, Briley (Otulakowski), Lowndes (John Neal), Dean Neal, Sheringham, Kinsella.
Millwall's Dave Martin Heads clear in Tuesday's friendly at Plough Lane