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Saturday, 16 September 2017

Millwall v Leeds Utd. 16th September 2017.

Away days to South Bermondsey in South East London in recent years have usually ended up in defeat as the Lions of Millwall relish the chance to put one over their Yorkshire rivals in the hostile bear pit that is the New Den. Today was going to be different though I decided as I boarded the train at York heading to the capital. After all we are unbeaten in 9 games this season and haven't conceded a goal in the last 6 league game whilst up front we're knocking goals in for fun. What could possibly go wrong? Well actually quite a lot I mused as the train hurtled south. How would the silky and intimidating skills of Saiz, Alioski and Hernandez thrive amongst the "committed" challenges from the home players? Would our new foreign legion cope with the unique atmosphere in the New Den? Would Lasogga's girlfriend's waters break before kick off? We were about to find out.

Actually getting to the match was a challenge in itself. London was on a critical level of alert after yet another ISIS terrorist attack on Friday. Had that deterred any fans travelling to London? Judging by the hordes of Leeds fans drinking in the pubs around London Bridge the answer was definitely no. There was more concern about the ridiculous price of beer than the possibility of some tinpot cowardly jihadist disrupting the day I thought as I munched defiantly on a large bacon sandwich. If they did try anything against the combined might of the Leeds and Millwall fans I suspect they would be visiting their 72 virgins sooner than they thought!

The Den is probably the most hostile ground in England for both visiting players and fans and today was no different as I joined the sold out away end. Shaughnessy replaced the injured Cooper in an otherwise unchanged team. The atmosphere was crackling as the game got under way. Millwall flew at Leeds like demented Tasmin Devils to secure all the opening bragging rights. Morison, McLaughlin and Onyedinma all caused the Leeds defence problems as Leeds struggled to get any sort of foothold in the game. Morison had the ball in the net on 8 minutes but that was harshly ruled out for offside. The linesman's reward for that decision was a shower of coins and the odd bottle flying his way for the next 10 minutes. Classy from the home fans. Millwall were plundering both flanks with swift attacking play and also more significantly snuffing out the undoubted threat from our classy midfield. This had all the signs of recent games at Millwall, Leeds second to the ball against a home side playing out of their skins. Not what I was expecting.

Urged on by the baying home crowd Millwall dominated the first half. Morison nearly grabbed the opening goal just before half time with a header that Wiedwald managed to palm away. HT 0.0 but Leeds had been battered in the first 45 minutes. The Urinal Philosophers were in a sombre mood. "It's every time we come to Millwall we play crap" mused one fan whilst another had changed back into super negative mode "We're f****** shite" he commented about a team that had yet to let a goal in 6 and a half games and still sat proudly on top of the league. One thing was for sure though and that was TC had to change something or we would get totally submerged in the 2nd half.

Dallas and Roofe came on for Alioski and Hernandez who couldn't quite get to grips with such a hostile game. Leeds were now playing towards their fans but Millwall still were having the Lion's share of the game as they built more and more pressure on the Leeds back line. Shaughnessy and Jansson were manning the ramparts well as they repelled almost a constant onslaught from Neil Harris' men. Leeds still weren't winning any of the 2nd balls and looked nervy and hesitant in attack in stark contrast to recent weeks. On the hour Wallace hit the post for the hosts before Saville rugby tackled Dallas to prevent him getting away down the wing.

Leeds were now under almost unbearable pressure but would they concede? TC made a bold substitution on 70 minutes as he brought Grot on for Saiz and changed to a 4-4-2 formation. A minute later it seemed to have backfired as yet another Millwall attack saw the ball roll to O'Brien who side footed home from what looked like an offside position. The Den exploded as the home fans celebrated a deserved opening goal. Things then went from bad to worse as Jansson left the field injured and with all the subs used Leeds were now down to ten men with ten minutes left. Leeds kept going and a couple of dangerous crosses that nobody got on the end of was as close they got but the game ended 1. 0 to Millwall who certainly deserved their three points.

Leeds struggled with the physicality of the home side and won very few 2nd balls. They were outfought and out thought I'm afraid. Hopefully it will be a lesson learnt for TC that will make us stronger going forward. Shaughnessy and Jansson battled all afternoon but too many players were off key today and too many struggled to cope with the Bear Pit cauldron that is The New Den. All in all a disappointing result but one that sees Leeds still at the top of the league and with just the 3 goals conceded in 8 League games the panic buttons don't need pushing just yet although there were plenty of fans doing just that as we made our way back to Kings Cross Station. The Kettling by the Met Police horses was an interesting tactic just to walk us up the fenced in road to the train from the ground. Sort of summed the day up.

I made it home without any further incident although seeing the punters from Doncaster races at Doncaster station put a smile on my face. The immaculately coiffured Ladies and suited and booted Gents I saw on the way to the match now looked like they'd staggered through a hedge backwards and lost all co-ordination of their legs in the intervening hours. I suppose this was a typical Millwall away day in the end. Hopefully we can turn it round against Burnley in the cup on Tuesday?

Can't wait.

MOT

5 comments:

George Rutherford said...

Good morning Andrew just don't turn up yesturday as a team and millwall ran use in to the ground your report sums it up regroup and move on good to see you got back to God's country and the race fans but a smile back on your face 😁😁😁 mot👍👍👍👍👍

Andrew Butterwick said...

Thanks George. On on on.
MOT

Leeds watcher since 65 said...

Enjoyed your comments on terrorists as for the game our visit to millwall is to them their cup final I have read many interviews with their players and apart from WHU this is the game they most look forward to that isn't to excuse our performance, hopefully only a blip. MOT

Graeme said...

These are the games we can never seem to win, the opposition up their game but cant seem to raise ours,Barnsley away is another perfect example.Grear blog

Andrew Butterwick said...

Graeme,
It will be interesting to see if TC learns from the experience.
MOY

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