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Report: Millwall U21s 1 Leeds United U21s 2

22 September 2014

Full-time from The Den

If Ian Holloway was watching this North-South Development League clash, he would probably have drawn some frustrating parallels between the fortunes of these enterprising youngsters and his own senior campaigners.

Despite dominating for 90 minutes and numerous attempts on goal, it was Leeds who came away with the three points, the winner coming in the 85th minute from one of Leeds few forays into the The Lions area.

Millwall started brightly with Lee Gregory playing an effective and energetic role up front. His tireless running off the ball made him a prime target for midfielders Nicky Bailey and Jack Powell, and his first chance came six minutes in, a 20-yarder that sailed harmlessly across goal.

Neil Harris’ side continued to press, but it was Leeds who took the lead in the 14th minute when their first shot on goal - a stinging 25-yard drive from Chris Dawson - took the skin off Denzel Gerrar’s hands and rebounded conveniently at the feet of Luke Parkin, who side-footed home from close range.

Undaunted, Millwall continued to pile on the presure. The industrious Gregory harried the Leeds defence and had a number of goal-bound shots parried away by Leeds keeper Eric Grimes. Powell and Sofiane El Bekri also went close with some inventive set-pieces and it was only the acrobatics and sharp reflexes of Grimes in the Leeds goal that ensured the visitors went in 1-0 up at half-time.

The Lions emerged unchanged for the second period and started in similar fashion, the action being conducted almost exclusively in the Leeds half. Swarming like angry bees around the Leeds penalty area, Millwall time and again tested the mettle of the visiting defence.

Aiden O'Brien almost levelled the score with a twisting run into the danger zone with the keeper’s block starting a pin-ball like scramble which saw the ball hit everything except the back of the net.

Bailey left the field in the 65th minute after a solid performance in the middle of the field to be replaced by Ben Thompson and the Millwall barrage continued with Gregory, Powell and O'Brien all lining up to pepper the Leeds goal.

However it was the mercurial youngster El Bekri who finally levelled the scores in the 68th minute. A looping cross from Fred Onyedinma found the head of a Leeds defender whose clearance lacked any power. The ball fell invitingly at the feet of El Bekri, who controlled neatly, pushed it past one defender and let fly from just outside the box. The ball arched into the right-hand of the Leeds goal leaving the goalkeeper clutching at thin air.

Once again Chopper’s side surged forward. A flurry of substitutions by both teams kept the action brisk but Leeds were rarely able to clamber out of their own half for any meaningful length of time.

El Bekri again stung the keeper’s hands with a close-range shot on the turn. A corner by Powell found the head of Onyedinma whose glancing header drifted agonisingly wide of the post. Another cross from the ubiquitous Powell picked out Thompson steaming into the area, but his low, powerful header buried itself into the grateful arms of keeper Grimes.

Leeds defender Luke Booker almost contributed to the Millwall cause when an attempted clearance in the six-yard box took off in completely the wrong direction and shaved a layer of paint off the Leeds post.

However, it was the visitors who re-took the lead with five minutes remaining, totally against the run of play. A routine cross into the box should have been comfortably dealt with, but a headed clearance looped across the area was picked up by the unmarked Frank Mulhern, who drove home through the legs of Gerrar.

It was a real blow but The Lions continued to push forward in the short time remaining.

Gerrar, Webb, Briggs, El Bekri, Nelson (Wood), Goodman, Onyedinma, Powell, Gregory, Bailey (Thompson), O'Brien. Subs not used: Girling, Casey, Pavey.Millwall:

Leeds predictably pulled all of their players back to shore up their defence and despite a series of back-to-back corners for Millwall, the score remained unchanged and the final whistle blew on a solid, enterprising, but ultimately unrewarded performance by the home side.

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