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LEEDS UNITED FOOTBALL CLUB

Match v Millwall (2nd)
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                                          MILLWALL........1 LEEDS UNITED..........1

                                                                 

Kevin Blackwell stuck with the same 11 players who started last week's match with West Ham United.

There were, however, changes on the bench. New signings Marlon King and Kevin Pressman took their place alongside Seth Johnson, Jermaine Wright and Clarke Carlisle.

It meant that Blackwell had the opportunity to hand out yet two more debuts for The Whites. Aaron Lennon will be looking to continue his impressive recent form on the right-hand side and along with David Healy on the left, they would be looking to provide for lethal on loan hitman Rob Hulse.

Jody Morris was in the starting line-up for The Lions and after his histrionics after scoring a last minute penalty when the sides met at Elland Road he might be preparing for a few stern challenges early on!

THE MATCH

An eagerly anticipated clash got off to nervous start as Leeds could have been behind within 90 seconds! Millwall quickly got the ball forward and as the ball was whipped in to the box Mark Quigley found himself unmarked six yards out but he could only plant a weak header straight at Neil Sullivan - thankfully!

But Leeds responded in great fashion a minute later as Lennon curled a cross into the Millwall area only for Darren Ward to force Andy Marshall in to a smart save. Ward was in two minds about how to deal with the cross and ended up creating havoc for his team.

And in a frantic opening period Micky Gray nearly opened the scoring as well from a free-kick. Simon Walton burst through the midfield and was brought down 25-yards out. But Gray's effort was just the wrong side of the post.

And Leeds' opening spell of pressure wasn't finished there. Hulse fed Healy on the left but his shot from distance went over the bar.

Lennon once again looked like being Leeds's main threat and after 15 minutes he wriggled free down the touchline and as the defender stumbled in his wake he pulled the back across the face of goal there was no Leeds man on hand to put the ball away.

Then Millwall's answer to Lennon, Josh Simpson went on a mazy run and teed up Peter Sweeney who brough a great save out of Sullivan. But from the resulting corner disaster struck.

A goal mouth scramble resulted in a shot from Quigley which was deflected in off Paul Robinson's toes. A bad goal to concede especially as Leeds had bossed the opening spell of the match. It was Robinson's first league goal for Millwall.

Millwall are a physical side at the best of times and there were some interesting one-on-one battles on the pitch. Matt Killgallon was struggling to cope with the huge presence of Danny Dichio and the tenacious Simon Walton was up against the equally tigersome Jody Morris.

Since the goal on 17 minutes Leeds were just struggling to keep hold of the ball and Lennon and Healy were in possession in the wrong areas. They need to be running at defenders and committing the opposition but Leeds's main threats were getting the ball with their backs to goal.

Lennon was having to drop deep to receive the ball but one mazy run brought about the first booking off the game. He ran about 50-yards at pace with the ball at his feet and the only way Millwall could stop him was illegally.

Marvin Elliott hauled the youngster down 25-yards from goal but the free-kick came to nothing.

Gregan and Derry, who had been so influential in last weeks' win over West Ham were not having much influence on the game and that was probably why Leeds were struggling to create chances.

As the first-half drew to a close the game became scrappy with no real openings and Blackie had his work cut out if he was to turn this one around.

The second half got underway with Leeds looking for an early breakthrough and it nearly came courtesy of their longest serving player - Gary Kelly. Hulse tried to set it up for Derry but played the ball in behind him but Kelly ran on to it and hit a piledriver from all of 30 yards that Marshall did well to tip round the post. It would have been a rare event, the right-back hasn't scored a league goal since January 1997!

Leeds were nearly undone from another set piece though when Simpson missed a glorious chance. He headed wide from no further out than three yards under no pressure whatsoever and only he will know how he didn't give Millwall a two goal cushion.

As the second half was following much the same pattern as the first, on the hour mark, Blackwell handed out the 38th debut of the season to Marlon King.
The striker, on-loan from Nottingham Forest went on to play up top with Rob Hulse to see if the added fire power could grab something from a game that could end Leeds's slim play-off hopes once and for all.

The substitution brought an extra impetus to Leeds's play and Matthew Killgallon, of all people, created an opportunity that should have resulted in the equaliser.
He came charging forward with the ball and played a one-two on the halfway line with Healy. His cross in to the box was the best delivery of the day but King and Hulse got in each other's way and the chance had gone.

Hulse also hit one just wide from distance not long after. Millwall did have a decent penalty shout turned down though when Simpson went down following a Butler challenge.

Leeds were piling on the pressure but weren't getting the rub of the green in the box but then The Incredible Hulse struck again with 10 minutes left.

Paul Butler, who had gone up as a last ditch effort, won a header in the box and as the ball dropped to Hulse he controlled it in an instant and composed himself before firing in to the bottom corner.

It was Hulse's fourth goal in four games since arriving on loan from West Brom and he was certainly on the way to becoming a terrace hero.

The last five minutes were nervy for Leeds as they were on top and pushing for victory but they didn't want to leave themselves open at the back and throw away all their hard work.

Blackwell brought Seth Johnson on for Healy to give the midfielder his first appearance of the season and his presence just added a bit of steele to the midfield for those final few minutes.

But both sides seemed happy enough with a share of the spoils as the last few moments of the match were used up by substitutions. Clarke Carlisle entered the fray for Leeds and Bob Peters came on for Millwall.

It was a battling performance from Blackwell's men and a draw was just about a fair result. Millwall created the better chances but Leeds had more of the possession. But Leeds lose ground in the race for the play-offs.

Millwall FC

Starting XI

13Marshall, Andy

34Robinson, Paul

2Lawrence, Matt

12Ward, Darren

35Craig, Tony

26Sweeney, Peter

25Elliott, Marvin

20Morris, Jody

15Simpson, Josh

39Quigley, Mark

10Dichio, Danny

Substitutes

5Serioux, Adrian

14Weston, Curtis

29Peeters, Bob

32May, Ben

1Stack, Graham

Leeds United

Starting XI

1Sullivan, Neil

2Kelly, Gary

6Butler, Paul

26Kilgallon, Matthew

33Gray, Michael

25Lennon, Aaron

18Walton, Simon

8Gregan, Sean

21Derry, Shaun

9Healy, David

29Hulse, Rob

Substitutes

4Carlisle, Clarke

7Wright, Jermaine

14King, Marlon

20Johnson, Seth

23Pressman, Kevin

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