Match report from FireWall on the Leeds 3-4 Millwall (click here for stats) match.
A game of three halves
What a first half, what a performance from Millwall at their most aggressive uncompromising best. First to the ball, first to the tackle, first to the second ball and headers. It didn`t really start that way, early exchanges were even with us having a golden opportunity within the first minute AOB cutting in from the left and just missing. Not long after the big number 9 Lasogga looked suspiciously offside with a free header that he gave to Archer arms. Immediately after Williams gives the ball away outside the area, resulting play brings a good save from Archer.
After these early exchanges Millwall get into their stride, AOB with his sweet feet is looking every inch a championship player causing them plenty of problems. Morison and Gregory are constantly on the last the last man keeping them on the back foot. AOB feeds Gregory, he pulls to the left and rolls his shot agonisingly wide of the post. Another attack breaks down with the ball partially cleared, Wallace just inside the 18yd line a crisp shot through a crowd of players 1-0, Millwall support goes nuts. Disallowed for offside as Morison was standing in front of the keeper, Ellend Road goes nuts, all the remaining 31,500 of them.
No matter, within a minute Morison`s cross finds AOB at the far post to head home, yeah I know AOB heading! The next 15 mins or so we get fully in our stride, AOB has another header that just misses, its like he has only just learnt, Cooper is not getting picked up and has a couple of chances. One of these scraps the top of the bar. Leeds are getting increasingly niggley with their fouls, this comes to a head when Leeds version of Cooper, called Cooper absolutely upends Savile with an off the ground tackle. It was right in front of the Millwall support and looked a leg breaker, Morison took exception to this, the other player took exception, it looked like it almost came to blows down on the touchline. Players, management, officials all piling in, don`t know what Livermore did but he was sent to the stands. The entire ground was in uproar, then as calm as you like after the touchline fracas was sorted the ref showed the red. This was the catalyst for Millwall to go again, another cross from the right and Gregory meets the ball and post simultaneously and its 2-0. There was still time for another goal or two from Millwall as Leeds wilted and the away support raised the volume.
The second half; As good as we were in the first we were the polar opposite in the second. Leeds came out the blocks at 100mph, we were caught on the hop completely, rabbits in the headlights. McLaughlin was being given the round around, straightaway he failed to stop the cross that picked out Lasogga, his planted shot gave Archer no time. Leeds players responded to the Leeds support, 31,500 giving it large, Millwall freeze, everything we had done in the first half fell to pieces or at least to a white shirt. Ten men playing fast attacking football against eleven that were running in treacle. Another cross from McLaughlins channel, Archer spills, everyone is swinging at it and it bobbles in 2-2. 18mins after the restart they score a raking shot from outside the box, we aren`t at the races can`t get anywhere near them. Come on Neil do something, we are getting cut up here.
The third half begins when AOB goes off or more accurately when NH goes three at the back and sacrifices Meredith and brings Elliot on. The swing of the pendulum is not immediate, we are still fluffing our lines to a certain extent with aimless balls that Leeds are comfortable with. What isn`t in doubt is that Elliot`s presence had them backing off and conceding ground. Both Cooper and Morison came close before NH played his final card, the ace that is Romeo, McLaughlin hadn`t had a great game, Romeo was the spark. When Coopers cushioned header fell to Elliot everything went slo mo, his shot was stroked, almost without venom, it was true though as it evaded the stretched dive of their keeper. Now the belief is back, they are the rabbits as we press, pursue and squeeze them with a choke hold around their penalty area.
We, the away support smell blood, Miiiilllll is echoing, then Jed seizes the moment, inside the area he finds the magic, the final blow that cuts them to the bone, leaving them haemorrhaging with an arterial spurt that is fatal. An away win is always sweet, sweeter still at dirty-dirty Leeds. Even more so given how we had surrendered to them, let them back, given them hope only to snatch it away from them.