So, thirteen games in and Leeds finally beaten. We all knew the run couldn’t go on forever as much as we’d have liked it to. Defeated in the cruelest way possible too, at the hands of Millwall who ended our play-off dreams just a few months back. They seem to be becoming a bit of a thorn in our side.

The only real suprise though is that it’s taken thirteen games. I don’t want to get too pessimistic, because when Leeds are good, they’re better than any other team in is this division by a country mile, but far too often this season we’ve rode our luck and survived on the back-foot. We’ve certainly had more than our fair share of luck so far that’s seen us take the division by storm, but in defeat the players will have received a nasty wake up call.

In the first half, we didn’t play badly. It was pretty much what you’d have expected from the game. Millwall probably had a slight edge, which is unsuprising being the home team but Leeds were never out-classed and 1-1 was a fair reflection of an evenly contested opening period.

Much like the game against Norwich, the defence didn’t look altogether comfortable. I’ve found myself questioning Naylor’s return several times now as we haven’t looked as good since. Rui and Kisnorbo created a great partnership, which simply hasn’t been matched. Dropping the captain of the team is a big ask though and I doubt Simon will be willing to.

As many fans were still trying to get in the stadium, Leeds went behind. Sloppy defending from a free-kick gave Neil Harris a free header that he buried with ease. 1-0

However, Leeds fought back and attacked the Millwall end with determination. It didn’t take long for the equaliser either – just 8 minutes. A header from a corner was scrambled off the line by the Millwall defence, but fell nicely to Patrick Kisnorbo who made no mistake levelling the scores. The Leeds faithful now all present and in full voice as the match went end to end.

The second half was a totally different game though and Leeds went missing in large parts. Spurred on by their biggest crowd since 2004 (14, 165) Millwall seized the opportunity and put Leeds under continuous pressure. Plenty of chances came and went and it looked like Leeds were going to hold out for a valuable point, but with just seven minutes remaining, the South-Londoners went ahead.

This time it was a cross that the Leeds defence were poor to defend and the ball found it’s way all the way to the back post for Alexander to give Millwall the victory.

Of Simon Grayson’s changes, Gradel had little chance to shine being brought on late in the second half and largely failing to make much of an impact, but Tresor Kandol had a couple of chances and looked much better than the forward pairing of Beckford and Vokes had all day. Neil Kilkenny was also brought on, but with just a couple of minutes left, it was hardly worthwhile.

Overall, we got what we deserved. We look shaky when the balls crossed in and both goals came from unmarked players with far too much space and time. We failed to attack and retain possession well enough in the second half and were pinned back for the majority of it. Had the second half mirrored the first, I think the scoreline could have been a lot different, but something changed at the interval and Leeds never looked like winning thereafter.

Simon Grayson has called for his players to react to the defeat positively and show what they can do. They’ll get their chance pretty quickly too as we travel to Bristol on Tuesday. Still top of the league after Charlton only managed a draw and with a game in hand we can afford this defeat, however, we need to tighten the defence up again and get back to how we were early doors. Only once have we kept a clean sheet (v Charlton) since Higgs’ injury, which isn’t good enough for me.

TSS man of the match
Bit stumped by this one as the entire team let themselves down at times. Kisnorbo would be an obvious choice for his goal, but then he was as much to blame as anyone for the two goals we conceeded so that rules him out. Any suggestions?

  • Do you think its Naylor rather than Casper then? Naylor’s return has corresponded with the change between the sticks. We’ve conceded 4 in 3½ games since Higgs has been injured compared to only 7 in 13 (and a bit) before that.
    I’ll be at the game on Tuesday so fingers crossed for a positive response to this reverse.

    • TSS

      I think it’s a bit of both. We look fragile in defence again, which seemed to end when Casper was removed previously. However, both goals were soft ones where the marking was atrocious, so the defenders have to take their fair share of blame too.