Millwall return to Sky Bet Championship action this Saturday, playing in the League for the first time in two-and-a-half weeks as The Lions visit Elland Road to take on promotion-chasing Leeds United (kick-off 3pm). As the club prepare to make the trip to West Yorkshire, we take a look at past meetings with The Whites over the last decade.
At the end of the 2008/9 season, with Millwall and Leeds having beaten each other once each in the League, the two sides met in what would be a two-legged League One Play-Off Semi-Final. The two clubs had finished the regular campaign two points apart in the third tier, with the First Leg to be played at The Den. A certain Neil Harris grabbed a vital advantage for The Lions with just under 20 minutes remaining, going into a tough and unpredictable Second Leg at Elland Road. Luciano Becchio’s opener in the second 90 minutes levelled the tie on aggregate for Leeds, before a memorable close-range finish from Lions legend Jimmy Abdou sealed Millwall’s passage to Wembley – where we would suffer temporary heartbreak against Scunthorpe United, before the following year’s Play-Off success.
The season of 2009/10 was to be a triumphant one in League One for both clubs. With Leeds finishing just a point ahead of Millwall to claim the second automatic promotion spot, it was down to Kenny Jackett’s men to put things right in the Play-Offs - which they so did. The first meeting between the two came at The Den in October, with Harris again opening the scoring for Millwall, striking first blood after just three minutes. Paddy Kisnorbo’s equaliser soon after looked to earn a point for Leeds, before Gary Alexander hit back with seven minutes to play, securing three satisfying points. And it was to be double delight for The Lions come March, as Leeds suffered one of just three home defeats with Steve Morison and substitute Shaun Batt striking either side of half-time in a 2-0 triumph at Elland Road.
Since 2010/11, each of Millwall and Leeds’ meetings have come at Championship level. It was early in the campaign when Leeds secured the upper hand in bragging rights, taking the three points with a 3-1 win in West Yorkshire – Lloyd Sam and a late Davide Somma brace cancelling out Richard Naylor’s early own goal to put Millwall in front. The Lions were to take revenge towards the end of a campaign where both newly-promoted sides became Play-Off contention outsiders, with James Henry, Liam Trotter and Morison netting the vital goals as they came out on top 3-2 at The Den – Becchio and Andy O’Brien were on target for the visitors. Leeds would go on to finish seventh in their first season back in The Championship, with Millwall ninth.
In 2011/12, the two teams secured mid-table berths in a stronger Championship competition. Leeds’ four-point gap over The Lions at the end of the season was down to the Yorkshiremen securing a League double over Jackett’s side, starting with Robert Snodgrass’ quickfire double for a 2-0 away defeat at Elland Road. Ross McCormack’s sole winner at The Den just over three months later was Leeds’ last win in SE16, consigning Millwall to a blank against The Whites during the campaign.
The 2012/13 season saw The Lions return to winning ways in contests with Leeds, with the first meeting before Christmas coming at The Den. Chris Wood – a striker who has represented both clubs during his career – scored a dramatic late winner for the hosts, just five minutes from time. The return fixture at Elland Road would see Leeds restore pride, with a 1-0 win in their favour after the turn of the year – Stephen Warnock’s penalty securing the home side three points. Leeds would finish 13th come the end of the season, with Millwall seven places but just five points below The Whites in an almighty close final table, avoiding relegation as well as reaching the FA Cup Semi-Finals. This would be the first of three consecutive seasons in which the two sides claimed a victory apiece.
In 2013/14, the first meeting would again be on home soil for The Lions. After a goalless first half, Millwall took the three points courtesy of Martyn Woolford and Scott Malone. Leeds were then to secure another victory when the clubs met in the North in March 2014, with first-half goals from Matt Smith and McCormack enough to take a 2-1 win, despite DJ Campbell’s consolation after the break. Leeds finished 15th in The Championship at the end of the season, with The Lions in 19th.
The 2014/15 campaign was the final time the clubs would meet for three years, following Millwall’s brief return to League One. The Lions did however claim another Den victory over the Yorkshiremen, as a Mark Beevers opener and Shaun Williams’ late penalty secured a 2-0 win. Leeds again won the reverse fixture at Elland Road, by a single Alex Mowatt strike.
Facing one another for the first time in three seasons in September 2017, Millwall and Leeds went into the fixture at The Den in very contrasting form. The Lions had won just one of their opening seven games in The Championship, with a Thomas Christiansen-inspired Leeds sitting top of the pile and unbeaten, winning five. It was however to be a fourth straight Den victory for Neil Harris’ team, with Aiden O’Brien netting a second-half winner to inflict Leeds’ first League defeat of the season. It was then to go one better for The Lions at Elland Road, securing a first win on Leeds soil in almost eight years back in January 2018. Going in at half-time, Millwall led 2-0 courtesy of O’Brien and Lee Gregory goals, with Morison putting in a remarkable display against his former side. With The Whites clawing back to lead 3-2 in the second half through Pierre-Michel Lasogga’s brace and Kemar Roofe’s goal, dramatic late strikes from Tom Elliott and Jed Wallace secured a memorable away win for Harris’ men. A late bid for the Play-Offs for Millwall ended with an eighth-place finish, as Leeds ended the campaign in 13th.
The most recent meeting between the two sides was in this season’s reverse fixture at The Den. In front of over 17,000 on a sunny South London afternoon, Wallace again became Leeds’ tormentor with a neat finish off the post to break the deadlock in the second half. Marcelo Bielsa’s team pressured late on and found the net in the closing minutes through an accurate strike from Jack Harrison, with bragging rights hanging in the balance ahead of Saturday’s meeting.