Colchester United claimed third place in the BC Worldwide Challenge youth team tournament after edging out Millwall 3-2 at Boots & Laces.The Lions were guilty of conceding two early goals for the second consecutive day as Toby Blanche and Macauley Bonne quickly fired Colchester into a 2-0 lead, but JP Rylah’s stunning strike gave Millwall hope before half-time.
Sam Szmodics established a two-goal advantage for the U’s for a second time with ten minutes remaining and Blanche saw a penalty saved before Conor Callaghan registered a late consolation in a grandstand finish.
Millwall, who had lost 4-1 to Norwich in the opening semi-final on Saturday, enjoyed two early chances as Callum Thompson’s effort was charged down for a corner and Sid Nelson failed to convert Max Fitzgerald’s downward header from close range, but they were swiftly on the back foot as Colchester scored twice within a minute.
The first came about in the 11th minute after Nelson tackled Szmodics 25 yards out. Tom Lapslie pounced on the loose ball and threaded a pass into the path of Blanche, who rolled his shot beyond Wellman to make it 1-0.
Seconds later the U’s were celebrating for a second time as Bonne received the ball on the right wing and proceeded to arrow his shot home via the inside of the left-hand upright from the edge of the penalty box.
Rylah reduced the arrears for Millwall with a long-range effort on 25 minutes to make it 2-1.
But Simmons proved the creator of Colchester’s third as his cut back into the path of Szmodics enabled the striker to put the match beyond their opponents’ reach.
That would certainly have been the case had Blanche converted from the penalty spot when Szmodics was tripped inside the area, but Wellman guessed correctly and instead Millwall made it a edgy last four minutes for as Callaghan pulled a goal back but it finished 3-2.
Millwall: Wellman, Fitzgerald, Guinchard, Onyedinma, Nelson, Wood, Rylah, Thompson, Thompson (Rodgers 61), Callaghan, Lawal (Newman 20 [Danquah 55]).
Sub not used: Penny.
Colchester United: Palmer, Rogers (Clarke 41), O’Donoghue, Mafuta (Lapslie 59), Roast, Brown, Bonne, Lapslie (Curtis 41), Nwachuku (Szmodics 65), Szmodics (Simmons 41), Blanche.
Subs not used: Kent.