Millwall 0-1 Leeds Utd ~ Match Report
by, 26-03-2012 at 10:15 PM (1301 Views)
The midweek win at Doncaster has certainly begun to lift the ever depressing weight of relegation from our weary shoulders but there is still more work to be done if we are to stave off the spectre of the drop into the purgatory depths of the first division.
Our home form, loyal reader, is becoming something of an albatross around our necks now. No wins in 2012 with only 4 games left to play at the Den before the season ends; it is surely one of our worst runs in years. I believe we are on 999 home wins now and getting the 1,000 one is seemingly becoming a bridge too far for Mr Jackett and the lads but ever the optimists, me and MrsB set off early to see Millwall pit their wits against a Leeds side that visit us on the back of an absolute thumping mid-week- at home to Forest; very perturbing indeed.
Spring had definitely sprung as the sunshine flooded down for some welcome respite as we parked up and made our way to the ground. Ludicrous restrictions, naturally, were in place for the visit of the mongoloids from Yorkshire which meant Zampa road was closed to Millwall fans and as such meant the Millwall café was also verboten. Bastards.
We went into the ground and made our way to the familiar territory of the east upper and a fair old crowd was building up for this one, some 14,000 odd in fact, had come out to see this encounter and Mr Jackett had clearly had decisions to make regarding team selection and he plumped for an unchanged line up from the Doncaster game so we had Taylor in goal, Craig, Robbo, Ward and Smith at the back with Henry Abdou, Wright and Kane in the midfield leaving Keogh and Henderson as the strike force up front.
Referee Probert got the game going and Leeds set their stall out very early when Jack Smith was absolutely clattered into touch within minutes of the start by Snodgrass. It was a defining moment for Probert who should have had the balls to brandish a straight red for such a reckless challenge but he bottled it and eventually flourished a yellow with Snodgrass grinning inanely at his team mates as he strolled away.
The message was clear that Leeds were reverting to type and even a change of Manager had not diluted their “robust” form of football. They are also past masters of the gamesmanship rarely seen at this level combining niggly fouls with theatrical dramatics every time a challenge was made. It was appalling stuff but Probert the gullible was not up to speed with any of it. He was as guileless as a girl scout in a brothel.
Leeds spoiling tactics made for a very uneventful first half. Harry Kane had a header easily saved by Lonergan in the united goal and Henderson found some room but his effort did not match the build up play.
Henderson and Kane teamed up again as the young Spurs loanee got the better of two Leeds defenders to get a header to Henderson but again the big front man’s shooting boots let him down, Lonergan saving well down low.
We were looking the better side but the negating efforts of the visitors made for a very dour first forty five minutes of football and as the first half drew to a close it was more a sense of frustration than worry for the Lions fans as we applauded the lads off at the sound of the whistle.
The second half was more interesting than its lesser first forty five cousin but not in a very good way, unfortunately.
Leeds had a fair bit of early possession and had Taylor in action to keep them at bay but we soon got back in the saddle and started to steer the game back into our favour. James henry, still looking fired up, was doing his best to force the issue down the right.
He managed to get himself deep into their box and as he skipped past a Leeds defender he clearly got a nudge with a well-timed knee cap and over he went. Now some may he went through the air with a graceful swallow dive that a Chinaman would be proud of but the point was and remains is that he was caught. Referee Probert and his trustee lino decided in their infinite wisdom that Henry took a dive and there was no contact (subsequent replays clearly show the foul but will we ever hear probert comment on it? I think not) and a yellow card was all henry got for his troubles.
This didn’t deter Henry who was again back in the thick of it minutes later, hunting down a 50/50 ball with Leeds ‘keeper Lonergan and caused havoc in the six yard box and a clearer hand ball from Bruce you will not see as he swept the ball away from the marauding Henderson inside the six yard box.
All eyes went to Probert again but he just turned away and waved play on. I have no idea what he thought he was watching or what he thought he saw but again, I guess, we will never know. The lino was again oblivious to what happened and the conspiracy theorists might well be onto something now.
And of course, shortly after this all happened disaster struck. A long corner from henry went over everyone and as Robbo looked to retrieve the ball it ended up with Leeds and they broke away and left us for dead. The chase was on but as Snodgrass made his way into our area we knew, just knew what was going to happen. He squared the ball across the face of our goal and McCormack was on hand to ease it into the back of the net.0-1…absolutely sickening.
But worse was to come a few minutes later. Like a Tulisa Kontostavlos video, it was a bit more than just disappointing. Andy Keogh made his way across the face of their 18 yard line and was clearly fouled but before we could scream ‘penalty’ Harry Kane hit the loose ball like a rocket straight into the goal, Lonergan diving desperately to save it, got nowhere near. 1-1! But wait…Probert, making up for his two earlier blunders decided to disallow the goal, forego the new advantage rule and drag play back an award a penalty.
Now I am not a pessimist, far from it but I knew from that moment that Henderson was not going to score…and I bet I wasn’t the only one. And of course, miss it he did. To be fair it was a pretty good save by Lonergan but fuck me it was a real kick in the clunkers.
We didn’t let our heads drop though and kept battling away but when Robbo got his head to another superb corner from Henry and the ball smacked against the bar I think we knew it was only going to end one way.
The crowd did their level best to rally the troops but Leeds were now in full fuck about mode, dropping like flies at the slightest chance, stopping play and generally spoiling the game and referee probert seemed unable to cope with the responsibilities and just lert them carry on regardless.
Not his fault, you understand, not his fault at all. He was clearly out of his depth and had no help from anyone; he was like a schoolboy on his first day at a new school, timid, shy, and maybe a little bit overwhelmed by it all, he was the proverbial rabbit in the headlights at times and didn’t really get a grip of it at all. You know what I mean. A cunt.
Jackett’s double substitution with about 6 minutes left was really pointless but he got Montgomery on for Smith and Bouazza on for a clearly worn out James Henry but we were never getting back into this game. A home win is now becoming rarer than rocking horse shit for the lions and as the final whistle sounded it was a feeling of despondency more than anything else that reverberated around the Den.
We are not a poor side, we are an unlucky side but there is only so much attribution you can lay on the doorstep of luck and with the games fast running out the chances of us finishing the season with us breaking the hoodoo of our horrible home record are looking as likely as a dinner date with David Cameron.
Still, Cardiff away on Saturday is a good chance to forget our home woes and see if we can add to our more impressive away campaign and maybe get just a step nearer to safety from relegation.
See you all there?