Retribution - Leed United 3 Millwall 1

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Retribution - Leed United 3 Millwall 1

Post by MOTForum »

Saturday, 21st August 2010, Elland Road

We had been told by the ever-reliable experts at the MET Office that summer had drawn its last breath. Despite this, there was not a dark cloud in sight, at least until the undesirables from London arrived on their coach to the welcome of a hot August day. The early kick off had bred a lazy atmosphere as the legions of white milled around outside the Drysalters, drinking cool pints in the blinding sun. Further down, on Elland Road a sizeable queue braved the heat, patiently waiting for a tray of Graveleys while a gathering crowd basked on the grass behind the Old Peacock.

The masses that made their way into the sunlit stadium experienced a cocktail of anticipation and nerves. Thankfully, the beauty of the day influenced an upbeat and vocal support who were thirsty for a passionate display. As 12.30pm approached, the tunnel was extended onto the pitch and the opposition boss Kenny Jackett was greeted by a Cup Final atmosphere and a fair amount of flak from Leeds' voracious support. Despite the Lions fruitful start to the season their numbers were poor and they barely made a whimper as they were drowned out by a resounding chorus of Marching on Together.

The whistle blew and within minutes there was an immediate appreciation that this Leeds side had stepped up a level in terms of energy as they took the game to Millwall. There had been a slight tinkering of formation with young Sanchez Watt supporting Luciano Becchio at the spearhead of the attack. At this early stage, Graysons tactical approach almost paid dividends when Watt attempted an intelligent chip that just cleared the crossbar. As the lush grass shone beneath a blue sky, the white shirts of Leeds United emitted a certain majesty that was reflected by domination of the team on the pitch. The ugly team from a distance down the A1 had not even troubled the Great Dane who patrolled the penalty area in front of an excited Kop. Yet, on fifteen minutes an hopeful cross from Morrison fell to a sluggish Richard Naylor whose misdirected header to Schmeichel was far too powerful and left the man in orange rooted to the spot. The unambitious Millwall were a goal up without even having a single shot on goal. Hearts sunk in the Revie Stand and around the ground as murmurs of disapproval questioned the managers continued preference for the ageing captain. This despondency was not reflected on the pitch as the team picked themselves up and stuck to their original gameplan with Jonny Howson showing increasing maturity as he pulled the strings in midfield. His ambitious surge forward into the box led to confusion in the Millwall ranks and a blocked attempt on goal fell to a lurking Becchio who somehow managed to hit it high over the bar. Leeds continued to play some electric passing football with Becchio running himself ragged as a target man, ably supported by the magical duo of Watt and Sam. At this moment the players in white were exhibiting the best attacking football seen at Elland Road for almost ten years. Despite looking particularly fragile at the back, our energy and pace up front had created a period of complete dominance as a number of chances came our way; And finally, there was delight on the Kop when Leeds born Lloyd Sam finished off a composed passing move to equalise with a calm finish. Leeds were now rampant, stringing together excellent moves and moments of skill. There was an unbelievable buzz in the Kop as the crowd willed the team forward and a certain frustration because the ball just wouldn't cross the line. As the whistle blew for halftime, it was inevitable if the team continued in this vein that the game was ours to win.

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