HARRIS ADMITS PRIDE IN FLYDE
NEIL HARRIS believes the future is bright for AFC Fylde after they made his Millwall side work for their FA Cup victory in the first-ever competitive meeting between the two sides.
After a goalless first half, League One player of the month for October Aiden O’Brien came on after the interval and changed the game, scoring before Lee Gregory doubled the home side’s lead on the hour.
The visitors, who headed into this game having won nine straight in all competitions and sitting top of National League North, almost immediately halved the deficit through Alex Whittle.
But with two minutes remaining Steve Morison added a third for Millwall and Harris knew his team had been in a real battle.
“We didn’t have a sparkle and weren’t proactive enough,” he said.
“I’m delighted to get through and be respectful to the opposition and I thought they were a credit to themselves and their league.
“I’m disappointed not to have a clean sheet. I knew it would be difficult and we prepared the players for it.
“I’ve played in those games and it’s difficult until you get the first goal.We gave a really disappointing goal away, and we should have been conformable at 2-0.
“Credit to the opposition for taking that spark away in the first half, but sometimes it happens in football, just ask Louis van Gaal.
“They’re a good side, they’re at the top of their league and they’ll probably be right at the top of the Conference next year too. Credit to them.”
The hosts settled earliest but the first-half’s best chance fell to AFC Fylde’s Danny Rowe, who beat his man and rolled the ball past David Forde, only for it to finish narrowly wide.
After the break the deadlock was broken by substitute O’Brien as he controlled Morison’s header and continued his redhot form by calmly firing past the goalkeeper.
The lead doubled on the hour after Gregory converted following some great footwork from Shaun Williams.
Dave Challinor’s men scored immediately from the restart as Whittle bundled in a goal via the post.
But Millwall killed the game off late on with a counter-attack that Morison confidently swept home, although Challinor was not far from doom and gloom.
The AFC Fylde manager said: “It’s a massive learning curve, but hopefully motivating too.
“Some of my players can play higher, so to play in larger arenas and that level of football week in, week out should be what they aspire to. We’re disappointed but we’ll put that behind us.
“We wanted to put on a good show.We needed to be on it, they needed to be off it a bit and we needed some luck, and we didn’t get that bit of luck in fairness and Aiden O’Brien came on at half-time and he was too good for us at times.”
FIRST AID: Lions’ Aiden O'Brien breaks the deadlock at the New Den FIGHTING CHANCE: Alex Whittle gives the away side hope