O’Brien’s hat-trick has Harris an­i­mated

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Josh Ni­cholls

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.”


N Millwa


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