Millwall 2 Leeds United 0: YEP jury verdict

Matt Smith battles with Millwall's Alan Dunne.
Matt Smith battles with Millwall's Alan Dunne.
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The YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s opening Championship match of the season at Millwall.

Name: Stephen Clark

Age: 42

United fan for: 
26 years

Lives: Shipley

Pre-Season is normally filled with -ism’s. For the vast majority of supporters, the period before the opening game of the season is one filled with optimism, as they look forward to the months ahead and hope for it all to end in glory.

For those of us who have been around the block a little longer it is sometimes pessimism that we feel, having seen days of glory and feeling that it’s never going to be like that again.

Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Millwall was a healthy dose of realism. This was a performance that, deep down, we all knew was coming. To think that a sprinkling of Italian flavoured ingredients to the squad we have was going to turn the Whites into a truly competitive team was a pipe dream.

In the crazy world of Leeds United the only thing that is predictable is the hopelessness of the team out on the pitch. David Hockaday was already hamstrung by the revelation that Tomasso Bianchi was suspended for the opening game. If the manager did know this before last week’s final pre-season match (and quite frankly it’s possible he didn’t given the owner’s regard for paperwork) then it was sheer folly to give the Italian playmaker such a key role in the last chance for preparation.

Dave Hockaday had vowed that Leeds United would be the hardest working team in the league, a promise that seemed to have been broken immediately as right from the kick off Millwall were hungrier, pressing high up the pitch and simply not allowing the men in the gold shirts to play the passing football we had been promised.

Whatever has been worked on at the training ground, it certainly hasn’t been defending at set-pieces as Leeds were undone from Millwall’s first corner. The marking was non-existent allowing Mark Beevers to sweep the ball home and put the home side ahead.

Millwall were the side playing with passion and possession, Leeds were plodding and pedestrian and spent more time moving the ball backwards than they ever did going forwards. They could only be grateful they were not playing one of the better sides in the division as the Lions failed to further test Silvestre.

The second half was slightly better and Hunt really should have equalised after an error by the Millwall keeper left him with a clear cut opportunity, one that he spurned with a poor finish which allowed Millwall to clear off the line. The introduction of Smith pepped up the Leeds attack, with his aerial prowess causing the home side some problems.

Leeds though were finished in the closing stages as a Lewis Cook error saw Millwall launch an attack, the young midfielder compounding his error by committing the foul which allowed the referee to make up for his poor decision not to award the home side a penalty earlier and point to the spot. Williams tucked away the penalty to seal the victory.

Man of the match: Matt Smith.

Name: Keith Ingham

Age: 54

United fan for: 
41 years

Lives: Keighley

Leeds started the 2014/15 season with a 2-0 defeat which was about the right result as Millwall offered a lot going forward, while Leeds offered little as an attacking threat.

David Hockaday gave three debuts to his first Championship side – Silvestri, Ajose and Doukara. Up front he surprisingly picked Noel Hunt on the left-hand side of a forward three; Ajose and Doukara the other two.

A cracking atmosphere greeted the two teams. Millwall started the brighter and it was no surprise when they went in front on eight minutes from a poorly defended corner. These opening 20 minutes Millwall simply worked harder than Leeds.

The second half began with both teams having a chance, Hunt was put in only to see his effort cleared off the line by Beevers, then in a breath up the other end Woolford saw a effort go close. This was end-to-end stuff and Leeds had slightly the better of it but with no penetration.

Smith, Poleon and Cook came on as Leeds tried to get the equaliser. Millwall finally put the game out of reach of Leeds when Cook’s wayward ball found Gregory who, after an initial save by Silvestri, was brought down by Murphy. Williams scored the penalty. A disappointing start to the season.

Man of the match: The fans. Week after week they turn up in their thousands and are offered little in return.

Name: Matthew Evans

Age: 29

United fan for: 
22 years

Lives: Pudsey

Reports of cost cutting at Elland Road have been greatly exaggerated with two LUFC stewards spotted travelling by first class train to London.

And the United performance there was anything but first class as Millwall were given a very easy ride against a Leeds side that Michael Brown and Luke Varney would have improved let alone Tom Lees and Ross McCormack. The team looked less fit, more clueless and less hardworking than last year. Cook, Doukara and Ajose showed some promise, Silvestri kept us in it and Smith’s introduction made a difference but Wootton and Hunt, in particular, were appalling. A terrible way to start a season.

Man of the match: Marco Silvestri.

Name: Gary Newbould

Age: 43

United fan for: 
43 years

Lives: York

It’s almost 100 days since the end of last season, but it seemed like less than 100 minutes as, at The Den, an inability to defend set-pieces and a completely toothless attack led to an opening-day defeat. We may have lost a relegation six-pointer.

Man of the match: Luke Murphy.

Name: James Harrison

Age: 18

United fan for: 
10 years

Lives: Drighlington

Saturday was really disappointing; we looked a totally different side to the team that beat Dundee United.

We lacked leadership, nobody on that field wanted to put their hand up and put their body on the line for the team. We resorted to the long ball with nobody up top to aim for, something that was completely different last week. There was no real threat in the final third with our only chances coming from Millwall’s mistakes – which we should have taken. The reason we lost is because of the 11 individual battles on the field. They beat us, and to win games in this league, that cannot happen. Massimo Cellino needs to invest – desperately.

Man of the match: Marco Silvestri.

Name: Jonathan Ford

Age: 24

United fan for: 
20 years

Lives: Beeston

I know it’s only one game in, but we were playing one of the worst teams in this division, which proves how bad we really are. It’s worse than last season because we don’t have our get out of jail free card in Ross McCormack. Without replacements, we’re in trouble..

Man of the match: Marco Silvestri.

'AGGRIEVED': Leeds United head coach Paul Heckingbottom, centre.

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