MILLWALL lost to Burnley in the third round of the EFL Cup as Troy Parrott’s competitive debut lasted just 45 minutes at The Den on Wednesday evening.
Josh Brownhill broke the deadlock after a tight first half between two evenly-matched sides when he struck a brilliant effort into the top corner from 25 yards.
Parrott, who had recovered from a quad injury, seemed to struggle with his movement in the first half and was replaced with Mason Bennett at the break.
Striker Matej Vydra sealed the win for his side in injury-time.
Main match details
5’ Shane Ferguson’s cross from the left is headed towards the bottom corner by Matt Smith and Bailey Peacock-Farrell tips the ball around the post.
9’ Second sight of goal for Millwall as Jon Dadi Bodvarsson fires towards an effort in but the ball is diverted away off a Burnley boot
16’ After heading over from a free-kick Jay Rodriguez lands awkwardly and is replaced with former Lions striker Chris Wood.
20’ Good again from Bodvarsson as he controls the ball and cuts in from the left to fire a low shot towards the bottom left corner that Peacock-Farrell saves well.
25’ Smith is proving a handful in the Burnley box. From Shaun Williams’ corner, Smith heads towards goal and Peacock-Farrell punches away. Williams puts it back into the box and this time Shaun Hutchinson nods just wide.
35’ Dwight McNeil drives towards a back-pedalling Millwall defence to shoot from 25 yards, but Bart Bialkowski is behind it.
36’ Mahlon Romeo earns Millwall a corner and Smith makes contact with his head again, but it’s an easy stop for Peacock-Farrell.
41’ Vydra turns on the edge of the box and shoots but it’s well wide of the right-hand post.
43’ Charlie Taylor’s cross from the left is hooked away by Hutchinson but only to Brownhill who takes a touch in the box and shoots, but well over.
45’ GOAL. Brownhill picks up possession 30 yards out before lashing an unstoppable shot into the top right corner.
46’ Bennett comes on for Parrott at the break.
65’ Taylor whips a ball in from the left and it looks like Erik Pieters is favourite to get there and head in, but the winger is put off by Murray Wallace’s presence.
67’ Brilliant from Romeo to rob McNeil before driving forward to cross. Burnley clear, Williams finds Bodvarsson who takes a touch on the edge of the box only to fire over.
69’ Hayden Muller comes on for Romeo.
75’ Wood heads narrowly wide from McNeil’s cross from the left.
76’ Vydra goes through and Bialkowski is quickly off his line to block. Moments later Jimmy Dunne shovels the ball across the six-yard box and Hutchinson clears close to the goal-line.
88’ It’s so close to an equaliser as Ferguson fires in a cross from the left but Hutchinson heads just wide. Moments later Wood just fails to get his foot to Anthony Glennon’s cross in front of an open goal.
90’ Vydra is in again, but Muller senses the danger to block in the box.
93′ This time Vydra makes no mistake, slamming past Bialkowski from Wood’s pass.
No regrets as Millwall bow out
The chance of a home fixture against holders Manchester City – who travel to Bournemouth on Thursday – is gone, but in truth without fans at The Den that’s not so much of an if-only. Certainly nothing on the same scale as the late collapse against Brighton two seasons ago that saw Millwall miss out on an FA Cup semi-final against Pep Guardiola’s side at Wembley.
With no match-day revenue there would only be the potential cost of injury. Lions boss Gary Rowett left Jake Cooper, Ryan Leonard, Scott Malone and Tom Bradshaw out of his squad. There are far bigger battles to come for those players in the league. That was also an obvious point when Romeo was taken off with 21 minutes left for Muller. It was a chance to test Muller against Premier League opponents, and he wasn’t afraid to get involved in his short time on the pitch. There was also a late moment that showed his ability to sense danger as he denied Vydra.
Burnley manager Sean Dyche named a strong side against his former club. The Clarets’ extra technical quality eventually made the difference. McNeil showed his class – and Brownhill’s wonder strike was Premier League excellence.
Striker’s debut lasts 45 minutes
Parrott’s previous competitive experience had amounted to 96 minutes. He made his senior debut almost a year ago to the day against Colchester in this competition. That’s best forgotten as Tottenham lost on penalties.
Coincidentally, the last time Millwall defeated Burnley there was another on-loan Spurs striker playing. Harry Kane scored in a 3-1 win at Turf Moor and then went on a run of six goals in his last 12 games for the Lions.
There was some concern early in the game as Parrott appeared not to be moving too well, but he indicated to the Millwall physio team in the 14th minute that he was okay to continue.
But he never looked comfortable as he struggled to get involved in the game. It was little surprise when he didn’t come out for the second half, with Bennett taking his place.
Ben Thompson plays with point to prove
Thompson was left out of the match-day squad at Rotherham and there was certainly an element of anger in his game. He raced into contact areas in the first half, consistently winning possession before getting his side moving forward.
As you’d imagine, Millwall versus Burnley wasn’t for the faint-hearted (at one point a Matthew Lowton clearance landed on the top of the Barry Kitchener Stand before rolling out into the car park). It was the kind of contest Thompson relishes.
But Burnley, through Brownhill and Josh Benson – helped by McNeil often occupying a narrower position – eventually gained control in midfield, giving their side the platform for the win.
Parrott was one of eight changes to the Lions’ line-up from the 1-0 at Rotherham last Saturday. Only Bialkowski, Romeo and Hutchinson were retained.
4-4-1-1: Bialkowski; Romeo, Hutchinson, M Wallace, Ferguson; Mahoney, Thompson (Woods, 76), Williams, Bodvarsson; Parrott (Bennett, 45); Smith.
Subs: Wright, Pearce, Muller, Burey, J Wallace.
Image: Millwall FC