Davies and Gow score but City narrowly beaten
A late double from former Oldham attacker Chris Taylor secured a 3-2 win for Millwall in a sunny St James Park this afternoon.
City fell behind early on when Liam Feeney fired home before Arron Davies and Alan Gow gave the Grecians a 2-1 lead at half-time.
But Taylor grabbed two goals with time running out to clinch victory for Kenny Jackett’s men.
City lined-up with Rhys Evans in goal, a back four of Amankwaah, Baldwin, Coles, Moore-Taylor with Sercombe, Oakley, Bennett, Davies in midfield and the strike pair of John O’Flynn and Alan Gow.
The Championship side, who started a number of their first team regulars, took the lead after just five minutes, Feeney coolly curling the ball into the Evans’ bottom left-hand corner from the left-hand side of the box.
But City hit back, looking to add to the 15 goals they’d already plundered in pre-season so far, and tested former Cardiff keeper David Forde on 16 minutes when Danny Coles’ lovely raking ball was taken perfectly into his stride by Liam Sercombe but his ambitious half-volley was kept out by the keeper.
Gow was at the heart of the City attack after sitting out Tuesday’s 3-3 draw with Torquay and he played a vital role in the equalising goal. First the Scot won a free-kick in the top right hand corner under pressure from Scott Malone. Then he stepped up and took the set-piece himself and caught out Forde by sending it towards his near post and when the Irishman punched his effort O’Flynn was there to head the ball to the back-post and Davies pounced for his second goal this week.
A minute later a lovely one-two with Matt Oakley carved open the Millwall defence but when he’d found his way to the edge of the box, Gow shot high into the away end.
At the other end former Reading winger James Henry opened up his body and shot wide when well placed before captain Liam Trotter tried his luck but neither could test Evans.
Gow then lit up The Park with a lovely individual goal, picking up a flick from Moore-Taylor he danced through the heart of the Millwall defence before rolling the ball past Forde from close range.
And City’s number 10 had the final chance of the match with another run, this time on the left-flank but after wriggling through he shot wide.
The first chance of the second half saw Henry threaten on the right wing but Baldwin was quick to see the danger and put the ball behind for a corner.
As so often happens in pre-season friendlies the second half failed to live up to the first half and it took 11 minutes for the first chance of the second half, Sercombe sending in a lovely cross from the right flank which Oakley headed over. And Sercombe had the next chance of the match but he drove wide as City continued to create chances against opponents two leagues above them.
O’Flynn was then replaced by Cureton who had a great chance to put the game to bed shortly after the hour mark. He timed his run perfectly to meet a lovely raking ball from Baldwin and one on one with the keeper he hit a low right footed shot across goal but his shot flew wide of the far post.
A string of subs followed with Guillem Bauza replacing Gow, Scot Bennett being replaced by Doherty and Oakley coming off for Elliott Frear.
But it was Jackett’s side who took the initiative in the final 15 minutes. First Malone’s driven cross from the left-hand touchline proved too hot to handle for Evans and Taylor pounced from close range to make it 2-2. Then another Malone cross caused panic in the box but substitute Darius Henderson headed wide.
With just ten minutes to go the final goal of the match came, Feeney slipped Malone through down the left-hand side and he knocked the ball past Baldwin before firing a low back-post cross to Taylor who fired home the winner.
Jacob Wannell then replaced fellow first year pro Moore-Taylor, who certainly hadn’t looked out of place in the side, and Sercombe was substituted for Jimmy Keohane.
Keohane grabbed a late leveller on Tuesday night and he came close to repeating the feat in the dying minutes. Doherty sent a lovely ball into the path of Frear on the left wing and he worked his way into the box before having a shot saved by Forde. The ball came out to the head of Keohane and his effort was sliced clear by Darren Ward.
At the other end Henderson headed wide again before the final chance of the match fell to Bauza, who looked up and curled a speculative effort which flew just wide.