Millwall 2 (Wallace 16, Bradshaw 45)
Leeds United 1 (Alioski 46)
Leeds can count themselves unlucky to be on the end of a refereeing error today but the bigger issue for me is that today once again, as in most games this season, we still managed to boss the game and yet failed to make that superiority count where it matters.
The penalty today was at best harsh and at worst a criminal injustice! My immediate reaction, watching from the stands, was that Berardi had made negligible contact with Bradshaw and that him falling to the floor was the result of his own dive a full step after the point at which Berardi would have caught him, if indeed he even did. Referees make mistakes, I get that, but for Linington to then compound his error by sending Berardi off when clearly Kalvin Phillips was covering is just, well, it’s just the typical poor quality decision we are used to seeing all the time in the Championship with the Premier League taking the best referees for itself. If you don’t subscribe to the conspiracy theories against Leeds, as I don’t, then you just have to shrug and hope for better luck next time.
With ten men it’s always going to need a big dose of luck to retrieve anything from the situation and with Leeds making a gift of a second goal just before half time it looked an ask too great. The Alioski goal did briefly invoke memories of the incredible game at Elland Road against the Lions two years ago when, in similar circumstances, Leeds did, temporarily at least, defy the odds by turning the game on its head, only to give up the advantage again by the end of the game.
There were no such fireworks from Leeds this time and, instead, despite being the better side for most of the second period, the failings that have dogged us all season prevented any miraculous turn around. Our wing play again flattered to deceive; lots of ball out wide carried towards the final third but then indecision and poor quality failing to get good ball across. I know it’s hard with ten v eleven, but our five goal attempts in 90 minutes from 68% of the possession is just not good enough and the problem today seemed to be that whoever was playing out wide was incapable of providing a n end result.
Our failings today were the same with ten as we’ve seen all too often with eleven. For all the possession we have, when we get the ball out wide, more often than not we are wasting the opportunity; we seem unable to provide a final ball, almost regardless of who is attempting to supply it! Then, on the rare occasions we provide quality from out wide our finishing is woeful. We had enough of the ball to escape today with a point against all the odds, but those familiar issues ensured we didn’t.
Luck is vital I know but we are not helping ourselves. We now have another break and everyone at Thorp Arch needs to be working on this shortcoming, a shortcoming that threatens to derail what, in all other respects is the best team by far in the division. We can play like a team full of Ronaldos and Messis in the rear two thirds but if we can't cross and can't hit the target then the best team is not going to get the best results, regardless of what decisions go for or against us!
Millwall Leeds Utd
Possession 32% 68%
Shots 12 5
On Target 7 1
Corners 6 1
Fouls Committed 14 14