By Alex Grace at The Den
BILLY Mitchell scored his first goal in senior football as Millwall ended their home campaign with a comprehensive victory over Bristol City at The Den on Saturday afternoon.
Jed Wallace gave the Lions the lead with his 11th of the season, but Tommy Conway levelled for the visitors.
Scott Malone restored Millwall’s advantage before the hosts took the game away from their visitors in the second half, with Mitchell adding the third before Tom Bradshaw sealed the points with a fourth.
Millwall took the lead after just five minutes. The visitors had a free-kick deep in the Millwall half, but their move broke down and Millwall were left with a three-on-one attack. Malone picked out Wallace and he fired past Max O’Leary into the bottom corner.
On nine minutes, Danny McNamara’s cross towards Bradshaw was inviting and the Welshman was just inches away from making contact.
Six minutes later, O’Leary saved Wallace’s free-kick from 30 yards.
Nigel Pearson’s side equalised with their first attempt on goal in the 16th minute. Henri Lansbury’s through-ball found Conway and he rounded Bart Bialkowski to finish.
Two minutes later, Millwall appealed for a penalty. Lansbury looked to have fouled Bradshaw in the box but referee Joshua Smith waved away the appeals. Bradshaw then went close a minute later, but his low effort was straight at O’Leary.
In the 28th minute, the Robins had a great chance to take the lead. Former Chelsea man Kasey Palmer pressed high and won the ball before crossing for Conway, but his first-time effort was poor and went wide of the post when he should have done better.
That turned out to be a big miss as just three minutes later Millwall were back in front. Tomas Kalas attempted to cut out McNamara’s cross and the ball fell to Malone who rifled a shot from the edge of the box that went in off the inside of the far post. It was his sixth goal of a productive season.
McNamara then charged into the box in the 42nd minute and forced a save from O’Leary.
The Lions made it 3-1 in the 53rd minute – a special moment for Mitchell.
The Robins failed to clear a Lions corner before George Evans and Bradshaw were denied by O’Leary and then Kalas, but the ball broke to Mitchell whose shot found the roof of the net.
Six minutes later it was 4-1 – and a much-needed goal for Bradshaw. He robbed Kalas of possession 40 yards out before surging forward into the box and slotting the ball past O’Leary to net his fourth goal of the season.
The Robins did have a few chances towards the end with Jay Dasilva and Nathan Baker both seeing shots blocked, but they never looked like mounting a comeback.
In stoppage-time Mahlon Romeo linked up well with substitute Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and the latter’s powerful effort was well held by O’Leary before Bennett fired over in the dying seconds.
First Millwall goal for Billy Mitchell
The 53rd minute of this game will be a moment that Mitchell will never forget.
The midfielder rounded off what has been a great month for him by scoring his first goal for the club.
He had threatened it a couple of times in recent games and he finally got it in this one.
It’s been a dream second half of the season for the academy product who has been one of the first names on the team sheet since he returned from injury.
He signed a new long-term deal a couple of weeks ago and the future looks bright for both player and club.
Tom Bradshaw ends his long drought
It’s been a frustrating season for all of Millwall’s out-and-out strikers.
Bradshaw hadn’t scored since December 19.
But he has been given the opportunity recently to stake his claim for a place in the squad for next season as his bright performance at Watford was rewarded with another start here.
He took his opportunity.
Bradshaw deserved his bit of luck when Kalas slipped. The striker then was alert to pinch the ball off the Robins captain before racing through on goal and slotting past O’Leary.
He will hope it’s a signal to boss Gary Rowett and the fans that he still has something to offer going into next season.
Rowett made one change to the side from the 1-0 defeat at Watford last weekend. Ryan Woods returned in place of Maikel Kieftenbeld who dropped to the bench.
Ben Thompson replaced Tyler Burey in the match-day 18.
Millwall (5-2-1-2): Bialkowski; McNamara (Muller, 84), Romeo, Evans, Cooper, Malone; Woods (Thompson, 84), Mitchell (Williams, 69): J Wallace (Mahoney, 69); Bradshaw (Bodvarsson, 73), Bennett.
Subs: Fielding, Pearce, Kieftenbled, Zohore.
Booked: Mitchell (44), McNamara (68).
Image: Millwall FC