O’Brien’s hat-trick has Harris animated
MILLWALL boss Neil Harris believes 21-yearold striker Aiden O’Brien can only get better after the Irishman’s first professional hat-trick put Crewe to the sword at Gresty Road.
O’Brien’s treble included a spectacular long-range strike and a dazzling solo effort after Lauri Dalla Valle had cancelled out his tap-in opener.
As the club’s all-time record scorer, Harris himself is no stranger to finding the net for the Lions and was in no doubt that it is something his protege O’Brien can go on to do many more times.
“The more games he plays he’ll be even better,” said Harris. “He’s still not even 100 per cent fit and he was a big loss to us in first few games of the season, because he leads the line so well.
“It was an excellent hat-trick, I’m as pleased with his first goal in the six-yard-box as I was with the second and third goals – I see him score goals like that in training all the time.
“What I will say about Aiden and our other youngsters is they’ve all got quality, a huge work ethic and they all want to get better.”
Millwall broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute when O’ Brien thrashed in a rebound from close-range after Steve Morison’s initial shot had been blocked by Crewe goalkeeper Ben Garratt. Alex levelled fortuitously in the 36th minute when Brad Inman’s right-footed shot struck the unsuspecting Dalla Valle, wrong-footing Millwall goalkeeper Jordan Archer, who could not prevent the ball trickling over the line.
Dalla Valle should’ve doubled his tally ten minutes into the second half when the ball dropped to him following a corner, but with the goal gaping, the Finn contrived to shoot straight at Archer.
It was a miss Crewe would go on to rue as the Lions roared back into the lead in stunning fashion in the 64th minute as O’Brien unleashed an unstoppable shot from 30 yards that flew past into the top corner.
O’Brien’s golden afternoon got even better ten minutes later when he picked the ball up just outside the Crewe box, danced away from several challenges and drilled home.
If the afternoon was one O’Brien will always remember, it was one Crewe will be desperate to forget.
Alex manager Steve Davis said :“My team just don’t engage enough and get close enough when intercepting and spoiling.
“They seem to follow people around and shadow them. They’ve either go to do better or we’ll have to find people who can do better.
“They are terrific when they’ve got the ball, but when we haven’t got it we look really vulnerable.”
STAR MAN AIDEN O’BRIE