O’Brien ends Leeds’ unbeaten run
MILLWALL 1 O’Brien 73 LEEDS 0
There has been a sense around The Den that Millwall’s performances have failed to yield the results they deserve on their return to the Championship and for more than 70 minutes it seemed the home fans might be left pondering the futility of it all once again. Neil Harris’s side squandered enough chances to win several matches before Aiden O’Brien drilled home a deflected Fred Onyedinma cross from six yards to provide a well-deserved winner in the 73rd minute.
Considering the bombardment that preceded it, it was remarkable that this was the first goal Leeds, who arrived and left as league leaders despite looking anything but, had conceded in 613 minutes of Championship football. “We outfought and out-run Leeds,” said Harris. “We ran Leeds off the park, so credit to my players.”
In what proved a decidedly prescient plan to hoist the Leeds portcullis, Harris made two switches from midweek, with the duo who combined for Millwall’s goal replacing Shane Ferguson and Lee Gregory. His opposite number, Thomas Christiansen, made one change to the side that beat Birmingham in midweek, sending Conor Shaughnessy in for injured captain Liam Cooper.
Leeds were made to look ordinary during a first half when Millwall’s failure to score was astonishing. Yet to get off the mark this season, Steve Morison could have had several against his former club, but repeatedly let them off the hook.
Having had a goal disallowed for offside after six minutes, he later looked incredulous upon failing to get his toe on a Jed Wallace cross that could scarcely have been more inviting if it had arrived with a stamped and self-addressed RSVP. While the veteran must have been wondering what he had done to upset the footballing deities, several of his team-mates also went close. Shaun Williams had a free-kick deflected wide, while a more insoucient swish of his boot from 30 yards sent Felix Wiedwald scrambling back to palm the dropping ball over his crossbar.
“There’s a few of my boys disappointed,” said Harris. “Stevie Morison could have had the match ball. Fred got in some great areas and Jed came close. George [Saville] missed a sitter at the end because of a little bobble. It was a really strong performance and what I’m pleased about is that we kept going.”
Christiansen brought on Stuart Dallas and Kemar Roofe at the interval, but the Millwall onslaught continued in a second half that began at a ferocious lick and rarely let up. Wallace brought a smart save out of Wiedwald with a surface-to-air screamer before the unmarked centrehalf Shaun Hutchinson thumped an inviting effort from eight yards straight at the relieved goalkeeper.
Shortly before the hour mark, Wallace popped up again, rattling a low drive against the post, while Saville missed a glorious chance to put the game beyond the visitors as he blazed over after being played through on goal.
Leeds, by contrast, offered nothing. “We didn’t play a good game and Millwall deserved this win,” said Christiansen, who added he would excuse his players this one bad performance.
Leeds were forced to play the final 10 minutes a man down after Pontus Jansson was injured. Deep in added time, Millwall survived a scare when a Eunan O’Kane free-kick looked to be dropping for Pierre-Michel Lasogga, but the goalkeeper, Jordan Archer, was on hand to clean up.
It ensured a victory that was no more than the rampant home side deserved.
Roaring Lions: Millwall’s Aiden O’Brien yells with joy after his goal sank Leeds.