Millwall vs Bournemouth. Sky Bet Championship.
Report and highlights from the Sky Bet Championship clash between Millwall and Bournemouth at The Den as goals from Philip Billing, Arnaut Danjuma, David Brooks and Dominic Solanke steered the Cherries to a comfortable win.
Wednesday 21 April 2021 22:01, UK
Bournemouth thrashed Millwall 4-1 at the Den to move up to third in the Championship, moving them closer to a play-off spot.
First-half goals from Philip Billing, Arnaut Danjuma and David Brooks put the in-form Cherries well on top, with Dominic Solanke also getting in on the act in a seventh straight league win.
Jed Wallace notched a consolation for Millwall, who otherwise offered little going forward.
Danjuma had an effort ruled out for offside early on, but Bournemouth did not have to wait long to open their account. Solanke sandwiched himself between George Evans and Jake Cooper, with the former making a hash of his attempted clearance.
The Bournemouth forward played in the on-rushing Billing, who stroked home his fifth goal in his last seven league outings.
Steve Cook was then denied by a brilliant one-handed save by Bartosz Bialkowski after thumping a header towards goal, at which stage it seemed Millwall would be overwhelmed.
Kenneth Zohore offered a moment of respite for his beleaguered colleagues just before the half-hour mark but his deep cross was fluffed by Maikel Kieftenbeld, who failed to connect from close range.
And, from the resulting goal-kick, Asmir Begovic put the ball into Danjuma's path. He still had a lot to do in timing his run from his own half to perfection, before neatly dinking over Bialkowski for his 15th of the campaign.
Underlining the gulf in class, a third international got in on the act just before the break, encapsulating the growing confidence in a side aiming to return to the Premier League at the first attempt.
Solanke out-muscled Alex Pearce to then produce a perfectly weighted pass that split the Millwall defence. Brooks picked it up, cut inside, before nonchalantly sending Bialkowski the wrong way.
Whatever was said at the internal evidently registered, as Millwall were an improved unit after the restart.
After toiling for 45 minutes, unable to produce a shot on target, they scored from their first attack.
Predictably, as he often has been during his time in south east London, it was Wallace with a moment of individual quality, pivoting quickly in the six-yard box before lashing past Begovic into the far corner.
Solanke should have restored the three-goal cushion almost immediately, poking over from two yards, but he got his goal mid-way through the second half.
A slick one-two combination with Billing on the edge of the Millwall penalty area parted the home defence, giving Solanke the space to seal a perfect night's work for Bournemouth.
Millwall's Gary Rowett: "We got handed a lesson tonight, which hasn't happened many times this season. We got a little glimpse of what that next level looks like and it's something for us to work towards. I'm disappointed, simply because it's a game where you have to match a team like Bournemouth physically and you have to get close enough to them.
"We couldn't cope with them and quite frankly it looked like the game didn't mean as much to us as it did to Bournemouth. They were a little bit sharper, they were aggressive, they were strong and I'm sure they spoke about that before coming to a place like ours where you have to do those things. Ironically, they did them far better than us."
Bournemouth's Jonathan Woodgate: "I'm really happy - it was a good performance, especially without the ball. We did play some exceptional football but let's not get over-confident because there is still a long way to go, and you know what football is like. We need to stick to what we're doing and the game plan.
"We know coming away to Millwall is a difficult place to come and it was a really professional performance. We pressed high up the pitch, the front four not letting their centre halves deliver long balls which is where they're dangerous. Brooksy had his best performance since I've been here. I thought he was unbelievable, but it was his out of possession work that caught my eye because his talent has never been in doubt. Overall, it was a really good night."