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Match Report: Millwall 0-1 Leeds United (Leeds Fan's Perspective)

Monday 26th March 2012
If there was ever a genuine ‘Warnock effect' taking hold of Leeds United, resulting in tighter defence, a more competitive mentality and an unrelenting will to win, it was certainly shattered on Tuesday evening as the Whites were humiliated 3-7 at home against Nottingham Forest, a club that has struggled for most of this season at the wrong end of the Championship table.

After the mid-week drubbing, all eyes were on Leeds to see if they could bounce back and reignite their ever fading hopes of promotion. But there is one place in the country that Leeds United will not have wanted to visit under these circumstances; that place is Millwall.

Leeds' visit to the Den last season was marred by a minority of Millwall fans waving flags of Turkey and Galatasaray in reference to two Leeds fans that were stabbed to death twelve years ago the night before Leeds faced the Turkish side in Europe. Understandably, the Den has gained a reputation as one of the most hostile football venues in the eyes of Leeds fans.

Leeds desperately needed three points from this game if promotion was to remain feasible. Warnock had named only one change from his regular starting lineup; Alex Bruce teamed up with Tom Lees, Darren O'Dea and Paul Robinson in defence, while Michael Brown and Adam Clayton resumed their pairing in the centre of midfield.

Robert Snodgrass and Aidan White took a wing each, while Ross McCormack and Luciano Becchio completed the team. Recent signing Robbie Rogers warmed the bench after a few weeks out following a concussion.

Snodgrass saw himself booked inside the second minute for a fiery challenge on Millwall's Jack Smith, which has to be a personal record for the captain. As expected, the match was a hotly fought affair from the start, with a number of free kicks conceded by both sides inside the first twenty minutes.

Andy Lonergan was forced to make his first save of the match during the 20th minute, the Leeds keeper managing to beat away a shot by Darius Henderson. Leeds' first real chance of the match came from a Ross McCormack free kick after Becchio was fouled by Darren Ward; Millwall goalkeeper Maik Taylor made a decent save.

Tempers flared up shortly before the half time whistle and Darren O'Dea found himself booked for unsporting behaviour. Former Leeds loan signing, Andy Keogh, soon followed suit and earned a yellow card for his involvement in the incident.

Ross McCormack thought he had opened the scoring and ended his eight game goal drought when his effort beat the Millwall goalkeeper, only to have his goal flagged offside.

As the second half developed, Warnock decided to inject the side with some more attacking experience and replaced Aidan White with Danny Webber, who, despite impressing since his transfer, has been yet to score his first goal for Leeds.

A few minutes later, McCormack scored again for Leeds; this time the goal was legit. The Scot poked home from close range in a simple but incredibly important goal. Robert Snodgrass provided the assist.

Millwall were given a chance to equalise almost immediately after McCormack's goal, when Alex Bruce fouled Keogh inside the box, resulting in a Millwall penalty.  Fortunately for Leeds, Andy Lonergan was able to save Henderson's penalty excellently and preserve his team's lead.

The Millwall captain, Paul Robinson (not to be confused with the Leeds defender) gave the home side their best chance to equalise in the final minutes, but his header was denied by the crossbar. Leeds were able to hold on and secure, not only three points, but a crucial away clean sheet in response to the mid-week thrashing.

Leeds United remain in 10th place, only three points behind 6th placed Blackpool. The playoffs are in sight but Warnock's men are running out of time to make a late promotion charge.

Man of the Match : Ross McCormack

Millwall : Taylor, Craig, Robinson, Ward, Smith (Montgomery, 83), Henry (booked) (Bouazza, 83), Abdou, Kane, Wright, Henderson, Keogh (booked). Subs not used: Forde, Lowry, Feeney

Leeds United: Lonergan, Bruce, Lees, Robinson, O'Dea (booked), Brown, Clayton, Snodgrass (booked), White (Webber, 62), Becchio, McCormack (Connolly, 90)

Subs not used: Thompson, Rogers, Forssell.

Att: 14,309
Tom Fletcher

Total articles: 13

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