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Millwall strike first but Leeds remain upbeat

Paul Fletcher | 18:15 UK time, Saturday, 9 May 2009

The build-up to Saturday's League One play-off tie between Millwall and Leeds at the New Den had inevitably surrounded the off-the-field issues - but the headlines that follow will take their lead from what happened on it.

The evergreen Neil Harris scored the only goal as Millwall ended a hoodoo that had seen them go eight play-off games without a victory since their first campaign in 1991.

Harris, who replaced the injured Jason Price after 15 minutes, is the leading scorer in the south London club's history and a legend among its fans. He has battled and beaten testicular cancer and his popularity as a player far transcends the New Den, though it probably isn't too high in one corner of west Yorkshire at the moment.

Unfortunately a small pitch invasion followed his goal. Most of the supporters who made their way onto the pitch were intent on celebrating, carried away on a wave of emotion. Play-offs have that tendency.

Had it ended there we probably would not hear too much more about the matter but one fan did appear to make his way towards Leeds keeper Casper Ankergren. Afterwards the Dane claimed a supporter threw something at him, while the police later confirmed that an arrest had been made on suspicion of assault.

Neil Harris scored the only goal in the first leg

"It's very bad for football and Millwall should be punished," said the Leeds keeper.

Millwall have previous and the focus when they play a high-profile match against Leeds is not all about the football.

There were 400 police on duty and sales of away tickets for both legs had been restricted to 1,000 in an attempt to ensure that the supporters do not become the story.

And the pitch invasion aside, the policing policy did appear to work. I did see plenty of Millwall fans on the charge but they were intent on catching the 11.33 out of London Bridge, while the most dangerous situation I encountered involved a teenage girl almost poking my eye out with a giant flag on an escalator.

The atmosphere was everything you would expect, with Millwall chanting their "No one likes us" anthem only for Leeds to respond with "Marching on together", while grown men postured to each other from the safety of the 100 yards that separated them. But I had been at Preston's match with Sheffield United the night before and the general chanting, passion and pleading among the majority of the fans was similar from one game to the next, the common denominator being the desire to see their team win.

I heard one fan yell "On it from the start Millwall" and his team did not let him down.

Kenny Jackett's side played with a desire and intensity that compensated for the deficiency in pace and skill when contrasted with their opponents. The defence was well marshalled by Zak Whitbread and kept Jermaine Beckford and Luciano Becchio relatively quiet. Jackett, who normally plays with wingers, went with a 4-3-3 formation and the Lions remained true to their attacking resolve despite the loss of the aerial presence of Price to injury after 15 minutes.

In truth it looked for a while as though the match would end goalless (most of the play-off ties so far have been cagey affairs) but Harris eventually found the net and if Millwall have over-achieved in reaching the play-offs then you could see on Saturday the qualities that have ensured they still remain in the hunt for promotion.

Gary Alexander's situation provides a superb case in point. After the game Jackett explained that the striker is 29 now and has plied his trade in the lower divisions for a decade. Quite simply, he is desperate to play in the Championship next season.

But if Jackett was delighted with the clean sheet and the first-leg victory he certainly wasn't getting carried away.

"We will have to play to our maximum to go through in the second leg," said the Lions boss.http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_div_2/7418498.stm

And even though Leeds lost their manager Simon Grayson hardly seemed too downcast.

Take, for example, his explanation of the incident that saw Sam Sodje dislocate his shoulder during the game only to immediately pop it back in. Somebody asked whether Sodje had done this before. The Leeds boss quipped that he had probably been watching Lethal Weapon.

Grayson's message to the Leeds supporters was that it was very much "game on" and he seemed pretty relaxed for a manager who had seen his team lose for only the second time in 16 games.

Travelling down to London he told his team to make sure they were still firmly in the tie by the time Thursday's return leg takes place at Elland Road and Grayson quite rightly believes this to be the case.

"There is quite a bit more to come from our team," said the 39-year-old - and it does not take a genius to work out what that bit more is.

Beckford is his most potent goal threat and the striker, who has scored 34 goals this season, showed after just two minutes of the tie what he is all about by nicking a bouncing ball from a Millwall defender before forcing a decent save from David Forde with a crisp strike.

But Beckford had a frustrating afternoon at the New Den. He was a largely peripheral figure who was bereft of service. Only once did he manage to link up with strike partner Becchio to prise open the Millwall defence.

Likewise with Beckford's team-mates, they need to show more of the attacking play that can win them this tie and hand them the opportunity to go one better than last year's play-off final defeat to Doncaster.

But this tie is far from over and if anything the result on Saturday leaves it intriguingly poised.

I just hope that next Friday morning the football is the only subject under discussion.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    "Unfortunately a small pitch invasion followed his goal. Most of the supporters who made their way onto the pitch were intent on celebrating, carried away on a wave of emotion. Play-offs have that tendency."

    Hardly think you would've made such a positive comment had the Leeds fans done the same at Elland Road. What a load of tripe, try writing something without taking content like that out your backside.

    We were poor today but it's only half time.

    MOT

  • Comment number 2.

    "Unfortunately a small pitch invasion followed his goal. Most of the supporters who made their way onto the pitch were intent on celebrating, carried away on a wave of emotion. Play-offs have that tendency."

    Yeah I'm sure you'd be saying that if it happened at Elland Road, mate.

    You're like all the rest. Can't believe we pay your wages with the license fee.

  • Comment number 3.

    Hold on - I think you two had better ease up on the paranoia front.

    Have a look at the other blogs I have written about Leeds this season - there was one about Simon Grayson just the other day - before concluding "you're like all the rest". Whatever that means.

    The Ankergren incident was bang out of order but how much should be made of the mini pitch invasion itself? Well, this is what your manager said: "You know that in play-off semi-finals the atmosphere is quite hostile and people get exuberant.

    "I thought the authorities handled it well, our players didn't respond to anything. I'm just here to protect my players, they're all ok and nothing much was made of it."

  • Comment number 4.

    There is a great deal of anti-Leeds bias in the media - this is what was being referred to by "You're like all the rest."

    The Sky Sports commentator for our match today made light of the situation and also put the pitch invasion down to over-exuberism. This is not correct. The only people who invade the pitch during a match are those who want to cause trouble and disrupt play. There are plenty of ways to show your exuberance from your own seat, and there is no excuse for fans breaching the field of play during a match.

    The fact is that our goalkeeper was assaulted and should have been far better protected by the ground security staff and by the police. If similar events had taken place at Elland Road they would not be commented on in the same way.

    Luckily Casper didn't let these events get to him which highlights his professionalism, and he had a very good game today before and after the goal. As he commented himself it was only after the game when he started to ask questions in his head about what could have happened with such poor protection from the authorities present.

  • Comment number 5.

    In response to your comments on what our manager said, I would like to say that he is always very measured and calm in what he says. He could very well be boiling below the surface but he sets a fine example to players and fans alike and shows that he doesn't let his emotions get the best of him while still being intensely passionate about Leeds United.

  • Comment number 6.

    Another good article from you. Good balanced view of the game as well, which is nice to see considering the teams playing.

    I also think your comment on the pitch invasion was far more neutral and objective than the Sky commentary, but there you go. I do think it's fair to say that had Leeds fans run onto the pitch at Elland Road the media would have responded differently, and it wouldn't be some cheeky harmless cockneys having a laugh and getting caught up in the moment.

    Nevertheless, it's a little perplexing when all this fuss was made of the extra police presence, and fans still make it onto the pitch. Presumably the police were preoccupied with the Leeds fans pitch invasion from the upper tier of the stand...


    As a Leeds fan, very pleased with the result. Confident we can overturn a one-goal deficit at home. Eleven wins in eleven home games, only conceding in four... We're in fine form.

  • Comment number 7.

    You might like to know that the club have already taken action

    TWO spectators have been arrested for running onto the pitch at The Den after Neil Harris scored the goal which gave Millwall a 1-0 play-off first leg win over Leeds this afternoon.

    The pair have also been banned from games for the forseeable future and face court action for their pitch incursion in the 73rd minute of the game.

    One of them threw a piece of turf at Leeds keeper Casper Ankergren and missed, though he has called for the full weight of the FA to come down on the host club.

    Millwall have apologised to him and issued a statement about the incursion. It said: "The pair were arrested and will be banned from all Millwall games for the forseeable future. They may also be subjected to court banning orders.

    "Ankergren has received apologies from Millwall for the actions of these two.

  • Comment number 8.

    CompactDistance: Do you genuinely think the media are biased against Leeds but not against Millwall? Theyre biased against any team with a reputation, which includes both teams. You obviously havent been on some of the other websites yet which claim millwall 'thugs' punched the Leeds keeper. If you listen to the interview Ankergren gave to BBC he said "one of them I think he pushed me in the back Im not sure". I dont condone that at all and if the TV evidence shows something was thrown as well then the person in question of course should be punished. But Im certain if this same incident was at Elland road it would be treated the same - those who want to make something of it and sensationalise it will and those who want to focus on the football will accept it was just excitement that got out of hand

  • Comment number 9.

    First some facts. Despite my username, I was there. Kasper was not "pushed". Two blokes did, however get in his face and that is not on. One bloke then threw some - what looked like - sweet wrappers or grass at the keeper as it just blew in the wind.

    Is it out of proportion? no. They should not have been on the pitch and certainly not in his face, but by the same token nothing happened.

    Now, the poor hard done by Leeds fans who really think they get a rough ride from the media, should really spend more time looking at who they were layinf today. If there is one club who get castigated andthreatened with closure because a meat pie lands on the pitch, while other clubs throw mobile phones at England players, then it is us.

    I suggest that had leeds snatched an undeserbed equaliser then nothing would be said at all about the incident.

    Fact is, you guys played poorly and are diverting attention.

    Now, you are still in this tie and I am certainly not looking up jubilee line closures just yet as our lead could be gone within a blink.

    so my advice is stop the paranoia and get over it.

  • Comment number 10.

    Leeds kicking up a fuss? Surprise, superset......

  • Comment number 11.

    leave fletch alone!
    hes been completely impartial on the leeds front ever since i started reading his articles. theres no need for some angry fans to start having a go at him because he made a perfectly fine comment on the millwall fans behaviour. the fans went and celebrated with the players, are you blind?

    (this is aimed at the first two comments and i have not had the patience to read the rest)

  • Comment number 12.

    I'm a West Ham fan so you can imagine how much I love Millwall.
    The Leeds fans on this blog seem to have very balanced views.
    A chip on both shoulders.

  • Comment number 13.

    I've seen hedgehogs with less prickles than the first few Leeds posters on here. Get a grip lads (lasses) - I reckon you're in front of a computer and not on the terrace? If I'm right then a little bit of thought before posting wouldn't go amis would it?

    Anyway, best of luck of the return, I'd rather see Leeds up than Millwall anyday!!



  • Comment number 14.

    As much as I sympathise with the 'genuine' supporter of either club, both of these clubs have 'previous': Millwall in particular should have been chucked out of the league years ago - there are others: Cardiff, Stoke spring to mind from personal (though 'historic') experience.

    At the moment, football fans should peer 'over the fence' at Rugby League (a deliberate comparison, being largely a 'working class' sport): we do have our limited number of 'nutters' (qv The Thick of It), but generally you can mix with the opposition, have a drink - on the terraces!!! - with them, shake hands and continue the banter in the pub without it turning into a test of manhood (allegedly)

    I used to follow football avidly from about 1968 until 1980 before switching completely (only partially committed during those years) to 'the greatest game', rugby league.

    Well, I enjoyed that - hope I haven't annoyed too many people

  • Comment number 15.

    I thought Zak Whitbread was the best player on the pitch today. Liverpool have trained him well and he not only looks but plays like Sammi Hyppia in Millwall's defence. He dealt with everything with minimum fuss. I think Liverpool should have him back!

  • Comment number 16.

    Just a small window here of why Leeds are detested. Boo Hoo. You're staying in League One beacause that is your level.

  • Comment number 17.

    Oh the irony, Leeds fans complaining about Millwall fans. These two teams have some of the worst followers in football and you certainly don't need a crystal ball to predict what will happen when one of these teams loses at Elland Road.

  • Comment number 18.

    Post 14 - neilhutch. Having been at last years Grand Final and witnessed 2 massive brawls inside Old Trafford, i'm glad to be a football fan thank you

  • Comment number 19.

    The worrying thing is, some of the comments are "if this had happened at Elland Road, you would have reported it differently"
    We haven't played there yet!
    I just hope that whether we win or lose at ER that the Leeds Fans don't drag us down to Millwall's level. It's ok to celebrate your teams goals, but assaulting the players is a bit too far, don't you think!
    Alot of fans need to GROW UP!

  • Comment number 20.

    neilhutch:
    RL teams have mindless thugs too. Quite right. Friends of my family travelled to Hull KR from newly promoted Celtic Crusaders and were looking forward to the experience of Super League. What they will remember most about the day is the vile foul abuse and threats and being spat upon by a few, and they said it was only a few, so called home supporters. Welcome to the super league!
    Re LUFC, they are a different team at their ground, and they can ease past Millwall. I`m not a fan of either side, but I would rather see Leeds promoted than Millwall.

  • Comment number 21.

    There is never any bias in favour of Millwall or their fans. This is paranoia by Leeds fans. I watched that game on Sky and have to say that when it comes to bias, listen to Trevor Francis. I've never heard such one-sided bias in favour of one team against another. Example, of Delph's 2 footed lunge, he said "I'll put that down to over exuberance from the youngster" When Sodje went down with a dislocated shoulder, he said, "He got a whack from Alexander" Total rubbish both times as Delph should have been sent off and Sodje landed awkwardly. So let's get a sense of proportion here and accept that neither team nor its fans are liked.

  • Comment number 22.

    I can't believe that leeds fans are grousing about their treatment.

    As a Millwall fan myself, watching at home I was shouting louder at the idiots who invaded after Super Neil Harris scored than I did at the goal. (I'm sure there are many who did the same).

    leeds need to remember who they are playing, and think about their reaction to the 'trouble'. You are up against a team with (arguably) a far worse reputation than you, where two of the last three play off games we've hosted ended in full scale riots (Derby in 1995 and Birmingham in 2001). If anything, I'm amazed at the small reaction in the media to it - admittedly I've not gone out and seen the papers yet.

    I thought we played well, and deserve to be in front - there is a lot of football to be played. If we stay as strong at the back, and keep the leeds front two as quiet as we did yesterday, I can see a Wembley date approaching.

    On you Lions.

  • Comment number 23.

    As a long-standing Leeds fan, some sympathies with Millwal's pitch invasion.
    Though threatening players when you score/win is pretty dense, even by the standards of the most moronic in S.E.London (or W.Yorks.) & I've seen a few!
    Fair play to the club;they don't condone it and will/have banned the miscreants. That must be a lot banned from The New Den by now......

    As for the 2nd leg. If it's about football, Leeds will win. Millwall are a hard-working side, but their basic tactics are long-ball. Without Neil Harris they're clueless and if by some fluke they went up, it'd be straight back down again. Not that Leeds are much better, but we could probably generate some money to spend on players, before Uncle Ken gets his hands on it....

    However, they(Millwall) do have some decent fans, probably in the minority, but I do wish them well generally. At least they're not a plastic club, say like Ch*lsea!

  • Comment number 24.

    Suprise suprise as with all the rest of the media there is no mention of the leeds keeper spitting at one of the fans that run on. Then he has the front to whinge after the game. What a bloke.

  • Comment number 25.

    Good blog Fletch. As a neutral (my dad is a Leeds fan though!), I failed to see any bias in the article.

    Keep up the good work. Shame about the hostile bloggers

  • Comment number 26.

    hold tight liban

  • Comment number 27.

    Fletch, thanks for writing a balanced article, we could have expected worse from other media writers. What you wrote was a fair reflection of the day. The guys on the pitch were idiots, all comments have agreed. Leeds - get over it, have you forgotten the Ipswich pitch invasion when you were going down, how many more 'fans' were on the pitch trying to get the game abandoned that day? Millwall fans could easily claim that had the same happened at the Den then their punishment would have been much worse. A bit of respect goes to Grayson for refusing to take a pop, but Ankergren - just like the first 2 Leeds commenters, has come over a more than a little sour. Face it, no one really likes either of us so don't expect the kind of media love West Ham and Liverpool get - stop whining and get on with the second leg. I'll be there, the one in the blue shirt :-)

  • Comment number 28.

    I've been a Millwall fan since my Dad took me to see the Lions play Coventry City way back in the late 60's. From memory it ended nil nil and it was the year Coventry went up to (and stayed, from memory, some 20+ years) to the (old) 1st Division. When you've been a supporter that long, it gets in your blood. You find you can't help yourself; every day there is a sacrilegious need to log onto the clubs website, scour around the web for other news, text your mates ... anything at all - just need to keep up with your club in every respect. I've seen the club play through 40 seasons worth of football now, highs, lows and an awful lot of middles too. There are various reasons why I can't visit the Den so often now (no, I am NOT in prison before you lot chip up!), and so saw the match on Sky in my local pub. I made sure I wore a club top and was proud to do so. Ordering up a pint at 12:30 on a Saturday seemed odd but had to be done of course. I allocated myself a seat slap bang in front of the massive LCD screen and then sat as calmly as I could awaiting the start. Some Leeds fans came in and sat behind me and there was some banter of course. When the match kicked off, that was it. The calm man (now early 50's) sitting down and calmly drinking and chatting was now, to all intents and purposes, on the pitch, making every tackle, every save, every shot. It's in the blood you see. Fast forward to the goal ... within about 1 nano-second of the net rippling I jumped up and roared out a deafening 'G - O - A - L' - I just couldn't help it - it's in the blood you see, have I mentioned that? On the TV I could see some fans spilling onto the pitch CELEBRATING - not causing trouble, just unconfined joy. Now don't get me wrong - they should NOT have been where they were, and (literally) THOUSANDS of other fans inside the ground did not encroach either, and yes OF COURSE IT WAS WRONG THAT 1 or 2 COMPLETE TONK-HEADS APPROACHED THE LEEDS GOALIE, which is completely bang out of order, but sometimes the emotion just gets the better of you and you can't help it. You just can't. For proof, just come down to the pub where I watched the match and speak to the man nearest to me who felt the full force of my 'goal' celebration. When you've been to or at the very least seen on TV (as I have for all 8 previous playoff matches since 1991) and your record is won 0 drawn 2 lost 6, and you then have the club legend put you in the lead with 19 minutes to go ... well, it's in the blood.

  • Comment number 29.

    Good article.

    Pity some of the media, like the NOTW, couldn't be bothered to try some professional journalism instead of making up the rubbish they did this Sunday.

    The incident was poor and the two fans who did it will be dealt with, but to be honest I have seen a lot worse. Wasn't a linesman injured by a coin at the Swansea v Cardiff game, no media uproar that day!!!!

    Leeds fans are hardly pure as the driven snow and they are wrong if they think anyone would biased towards Millwall over anyone. We have got be the most unpopular and tarnished name in football.

    A few fans get on the pitch and its labelled "crowd trouble", I am sure when I'm at Elland Road on Thursday, there will be the usual shower of coins being thrown at us as there was in February.

  • Comment number 30.

    i don't think there's a media uproar in this case either! as the man says however, let's hope that it's only the football that is up for discussion come friday - and a look forward to Leeds righting a few wrongs on their return to wembly!!

  • Comment number 31.

    I can see a few Leeds fans with egg on their faces come the replay if Leeds lose (In the words of their own Kaiser Chiefs "I predict a riot").

    It's one thing to critisise others when your own team as an unblemished record but Leeds have one of the biggest records of thuggery going.

    And before you start Leeds fans this from a Spurs fan (Who dislikes Milwall as much as the next man) and whose Dad is a Leeds fan (Not one of the thugs thankfully).

  • Comment number 32.

    we were there sat ,what a great result just about edged it,will be very difficalt thurs.but not impossible.as for the mini-pitch invasion.yes it should not have happen.the stewards are usless.the police do nothing to stop it.the club should close the downstairs at that end.would save all that hassel.if anything did happen to the leeds keeper .it must all be on film.sky t.v. must have all the evidence etc.so lets see it.and them take action agaist the idioits losk them up ban them etc,most millwall fans are descent poeple,who just watch the game yes very vocal,& sometimes out of order with what they chant.but u will never stop that.probley happens at most football grounds.but never gets reported etc.anyway the best team will win.i hope its millwall.will be some match,trouble free we hope.alan from northampton.come on u lions.just one more result

  • Comment number 33.

    Was there as a neutral and must say this pitch invasion nonsense has been blown out of all proportion. There were two idiots that danced round the keeper the rest were just celebrating.
    As the offenders were marched off by police they got a lot of abuse from their own supporters.
    All in all it was great fun. Lots of commitment on and off the pitch, just like football should be.

  • Comment number 34.

    It's with a great deal of amusement I've read the Leeds fans complain about a) the way Millwalls pitch invasion was reported and b) the fact they even have the gaul to complain that people are against them.

    As my username probably gives away, I'm an Ipswich fan and I was there when the Leeds fans invaded the pitch against us back at Elland Road in 2007. This wasn't to celebrate a goal, this was to try and attack the away fans once they'd run their and our players off the pitch. It's examples like that why you are reported in a bad light. Had Millwall done something comparable on Saturday this blog (fair I feel) and other media would have undoubtedley been harder on Millwall.

    Get a grip, and good luck on Thursday... I now live in Leeds and despite the behaviour by the minority last time I was there, the majority of you are genuine fans and I wish you wll - just lose the victim complex!

  • Comment number 35.

    just like westupper said, a few people get on the pitch and all of a sudden its 'crowd trouble',yet if its any other team and its 'over exuberance'. Looking at some of the reports in the rags on sunday you were left wondering when the goalies funeral was being held.
    Thanks for not falling for the easy way out in this blog, your probably in a very small minority of reporters who havent. All in all, its only half time and yes Leeds have a pretty good home record this season. Hope the best team(Millwall) goes through and that there isnt any trouble in or around the ground
    NOLU..NOLU..

  • Comment number 36.

    i don't have a problem 1st with the main article or 2nd with the millwall fans coming on the pitch when they scored .
    but when the two fans go to the keeper like that its out of order ,
    it may only of been a fag butt ,and a shove in the back but in this day and age one may have had a knife . ( some might say I'm over the top but am i ? ) Leeds like millwall are dragged through the mud at every chance ,most of the media already had there stories written before the game its just a shame two supporters fell in the trap .
    on Thursday the atmosphere will be electric 37,000 cheering to the rafters whoever wins will deserve it , so may the best team win ( as long as its Leeds ) and all fans behave

  • Comment number 37.

    I've got to say that this article was well written and didn't over sensationalise the chanting, which if I'm honest crossed the boundaries of decency on a few occasions and is quite normal at any high intensity football league game. The fans should not have ran on the pitch, agreed, but the majority, in fact all barr two, wanted to celebrate with the players. The two idiots that approached Angreken did not seem to make any physical contact with him from where I was sitting, but they would have deserved a ban even if they hadn't thrown anything, and it is now reported the object was a cigarette and not turf!!!!!! I do have to admit that the security staff should have taken action though, not sure why they didn't approach these two sooner. I find it a bit glib that Leeds fans feel hard doneby as though there is a positive Millwall bias in the media. It is refreshing to see an article where we are not hung out to dry and vilified without any way to defend our position. We probably have the same negative bias applied to both clubs, lets hope the BBC carries on it's unbiased coverage for the second leg, I have been impressed by the honest reporting on this website up till now.

  • Comment number 38.

    The match was a close one and leaves a cracking thursday night at Elland road.
    Fans invaded the pitch..it happens one thing that concerned me was the lack of stewards and police reaction to it until it was all done and dusted apparently they was worried the 1000 leeds fans might be the bigger problem but millwall like all teams have thier idiotic minority
    Yes the press had a field day in some sectors and on the other hand the cheeky chirpy cockneys bit of fun part is just as bad.
    Its now set up the possibility of pitch invasions been accepted as part of the "Fun"
    If the same happens at elland road i know it will be big headline news its part and parcel of been Leeds United i can live with it having seen it time after time after time the dirty leeds tag will never die as with most teams its the only thing they can come up with to gloat over.
    Im looking forward to cheering my team on to victory on Thursday and once we win and head to the final it will be the only statement we need to make.
    Well done on your home leg millwall sorry we have to shatter your dreams at Elland Road.

  • Comment number 39.

    I think the only reason the mini-invasion was reported so much was because the match itself was dire. I was there for Radebe's final match, against Rotherham, when 30,000 stormed the pitch so I don't think we can complain much really.

    As far as the performance goes, I think a draw would have been a fair result, neither side were exceptional. Unfortunately there was a sniper in the stand who shot Naylor at the wrong moment and hey-ho we're going back to Elland Road with a defecit.

    However if you'd have offered me a 1-0 loss in the first leg I'd have bitten your hand of as our home form this year has been fantastic, so I'm confident we can get a result, but I'm intrigued to see what tactics Grayson employs.

    Does he try to blitz earlier on, hopefully wipe out Millwall's lead early on and press on? Or just try to play our normal game and try to pick them off? The problem with the latter is if we haven't scored and the clock ticks over to 60-70 mins, the pressure will accumulate and our normal game will go out the window and replaced with hoofing it up front.

    MOT

  • Comment number 40.

    I see that Millwall have complained about the coverage of the match in some sections of the media.

    There was a heavy media presence at the match - in fact there were signs all over the place informing us that the press box was full so please could we sit in our designated seat.

    I want this tie to be remembered for the football - and hope that is the key topic come Friday morning.

    And to those that said the above article was balanced - thanks. I was really concerned that it came across that way.

  • Comment number 41.

    Paul, unfortunately some journo's will have already written their Friday morning's match reports, as most of them don't actually write about the game itself when covering Millwall. I hope that for Millwall's sake that all our fans behave and don't give any further ammo to the press.

    Its funny that a number of papers, who normally are barely able to type even more than a sentence about our games, suddenly had whole page spreads with pictures of fans on the pitch and police horses.

  • Comment number 42.

    The tie is far from over, I'm confident that Leeds have what it takes to beat Millwall, we are definately a better side but it depends if Leeds turn up on the day. I was a little dissapointed with our frontline from the first leg, Beckford seems to dissapear sometimes in big games. Lets hope he relishes what will be an immense atmosphere on Thursday night. Hopefully it will be a nice clean game with lots of action (mostly at the Millwall end!) Come on Leeds.

  • Comment number 43.

    The problem with english football? The Tabloids....

    A lot of great young English talent apply their trade in the lower leagues but the only time the truely exciting matches get half a column in the NOTW (example only) is when there is some sort of ruction.

    As a Leeds fan I was angered by the fact that a Millwall fan could get so close to Ankergen BUT and its a big but, no doubt some of our own less savoury fans would have done the same. All teams have scum support, they are easy to spot in the terraces, no jersey, no program and no interest in the football.

    Millwall get bad press and so too do Leeds, but I dont care about press, football is a game of 90 minutes and the atmosphere @ Millwall was fantastic. We can't blame bad publicity for loosing 1 - 0, but we should just take all that negativity and blow the roof off Elland Road today. Hopefully it will be a great game and I know Millwall will not sit back and their travelling support will be loud, something the top teams in the lower league can beat some premiership clubs on.

    Reputations may proceed both teams but you cant change history.

    C O M E O N T H E L E E D S

  • Comment number 44.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/m/millwall/8049676.stm

    One of the most ridiculous biased views I've heard regarding the game and Millwall fans on the pitch.

    All to play for tonight, up the whites!!

  • Comment number 45.

    Firstly, thanks to both Leeds and Millwall for taking part in Carlisle's survival this season.

    As you will know, we lost to Leeds in the play-off semi last season. On the whole both sets of fans behaved well at both matches, despite emotions running high.

    It would seem to me that a very small minority over did the celebration of a goal in a match that means more than an FA cup semi final. Nothing more than that.

    But both these sets of fans have a reputation and these are not unfounded . So what do you expect as far as reporting goes? Niether set are known for their sportsmanship and 'family atmosphere'.

    One of them will leave League 1 and I hope it is Leeds, as we can beat Millwall with our eyes shut!

  • Comment number 46.

    The fact is that our goalkeeper was assaulted and should have been far better protected by the ground security staff and by the police.
    http://www.nowgoal.com/19.shtml

 

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