BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Millwall maintained their unbeaten start to pre-season as second half goals from Tom Elliott and Jake Cooper saw them win 2-0 at Cambridge United.
The Lions were not always totally fluent in possession but got stronger as the friendly wore on.
Elliott was on hand to convert from close range when Cooper’s header came back off the woodwork and then the big centre-back guided home substitute Aiden O’Brien’s cross.
There were South London connections in the Cambridge United side in the shape of ex Lions David Forde and David Amoo, along with former Charlton and AFC Wimbledon striker Ade Azeez.
And it was Forde who pulled off an excellent double save in the 37th minute to deny Lee Gregory, who looked favourite to score when he met Jed Wallace’s low cross at close range.
Millwall’s approach play was laboured at times and it was to prove to be their only notable effort on target, with Wallace driving a free-kick from 20 yards over the bar just before the half ended.
The Lions were forced to defend a number of corners in the early exchanges and Cooper needed to make a last-ditch tackle to deny fellow centre-back George Taft.
Azeez could not supply the desired finish on a right-wing cross from Amoo in the 26th minute – volleying first time over Jordan Archer’s bar. It would have been a terrific strike if he had opened the scoring.
Moments later and Archer had to dive low to his left to keep out Greg Taylor’s stabbed effort. Reggie Lambe managed to evade Ben Thompson’s sliding tackle but drove a low shot wide of the left post.
Cambridge continued to look the side more likely to break the deadlock in the early exchanges after the restart.
Ben Thompson did send a shot harmlessly wide when a free-kick was only partially cleared but then United had a dangerous break which saw the unmarked Lambe surge forward and roll into the path of left-back Tom Knowles, whose effort went across the face of goal.
Thompson was fouled on the edge of the box and Shane Ferguson took over dead ball duties from Wallace, the ball clipping off the top of Forde’s crossbar.
Elliott was up against his former club and fired over following a confident first touch on Wallace’s ball in from the right.
But he had his goal on 75 minutes. Shaun Williams’ corner found Jake Cooper unmarked at the back post and his header came back off the left upright for the big striker to nod in the rebound.
Elliott was suddenly getting a steady stream of chances. Substitute O’Brien’s header was not cleared properly by Harry Darling but the Lions targetman could only produce a looping header comfortably over the top.
Millwall were finishing the contest strongly and made it 2-0 on 82 minutes. O’Brien’s cross was perfect for Cooper, and although Forde got a hand to his header he could not prevent the ball straying into his net.
Mahlon Romeo managed to beat Jordan Norville-Williams to a low delivery from Steve Morison but the flying right-back could not get enough angle to call Forde into action.