Millwall 3 Luton Town 1 – Lions move into Championship play-off zone with storming second half

BY RICHARD CAWLEY

A second-half goal spree saw Millwall move into the Championship play-off zone.

The Lions were trailing to Sonny Bradley’s 41st-minute header but turned it around with a storming second-half display.

The hosts scored three goals in the space of 11 minutes to ensure that Luton suffered a ninth straight loss on the road.

Tom Bradshaw levelled in the 69th minute before a superb finish by substitute Connor Mahoney put them in front nine minutes later. Mahoney then produced a delicious cross from the wing for Matt Smith to guide his header past James Shea.

The result moved Millwall up to sixth in the table – at least until the 3pm kick-offs have finished.

Millwall’s first-half performance was really flat and boss Gary Rowett was waiting to make a substitution – Tom Bradshaw stripped to come on – when Luton went ahead.

Alan Sheehan’s free-kick was met by Bradley, whose movement had left him unmarked to head home. It was a poor goal to concede.

Bradshaw came on for Alex Pearce as Millwall switched from a 5-2-3 formation to 4-2-3-1.

Luton shaded a terrible opening 45 minutes. Bart Bialkowski saved a long-distance strike by Kazenga Lualua and the on-loan Ipswich keeper also made stops from James Bree and Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu.

The Lions didn’t really force Shea into any kind of rigorous action. Matt Smith’s header from a Jed Wallace free-kick was straight at the former AFC Wimbledon shotstopper. Smith also produced a diving header which went wide, Wallace doing well to produce a cross as he was closed down by two Town players.

But the second period was a vast improvement.

Shea was quickly forced into a couple of saves from Jed Wallace and also tipped over a Smith header.

It felt like the pressure had to produce an equaliser and it arrived in the 69th minute. Jed Wallace produced a deep cross, Smith cushioned his header into the path of Bradshaw, who nodded home from close in.

Mahoney’s strike was excellent. The summer signing from Bournemouth surged to the edge of the box and showed composure to cut inside and sent a right-footed effort beyond Shea.

And then he played a huge part in the third goal, picking up the ball on the left and producing a made-to-measure cross for Smith to head in.

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