Harrison earns Leeds United rare point at Millwall

Jack Harrison celebrates after scoring an 89th minute equaliser for Leeds United at Millwall.  Picture: James Hardisty
Jack Harrison celebrates after scoring an 89th minute equaliser for Leeds United at Millwall. Picture: James Hardisty

A late Jack Harrison goal spared Leeds United their usual defeat at Millwall and kept the Championship leaders’ unbeaten record intact.

United were trailing to a 55th minute goal until Harrison’s strike from just outside the box found the bottom corner of the net in the 89th minute to earn a 1-1 draw and keep their top spot.

It ended a run of more than seven hours of football at The New Den without a goal for the Leeds team, who had lost on eight of their previous nine visits to Millwall.

They were not really outplayed this time although Millwall were a threat from set pieces and scored their goal from a long throw that was not dealt with.

Leeds made a decent start without the final ball delivering while Barry Douglas sent a free-kick wide.

Ryan Leonard’s header bounced off Steve Morison into Bailey Peacock-Farrell’s arms at the other end from a corner and ex-Leeds forward Morison headed wide from another corner.

Leeds’ first good chance arrived as Mateusz Klich and Barry Douglas combined well to set up stand-in striker Tyler Roberts, but his shot from inside the area was blocked by Murray Wallace. Douglas then sent a volley from range straight at keeper Ben Amos.

Millwall’s threat in the air brought them to opening goal 10 minutes into the second half as a long throw was flicked on by Jake Cooper to Jed Wallace who was unmarked and able to come up with a low finish in off the post.

Leeds attempted to hit straight back and Amos produced a fine save to deny Luke Ayling following a Douglas cross.

As Millwall backed off a bit Leeds came on stronger with Samu Saiz setting up substitute Lewis Baker whose shot flew over.

Saiz created another chance only for Roberts to see his weak header easily saved and the young Welsh international was taken off with Harrison going up front and Stuart Dallas put on the right.

Dallas fired a shot over and Liam Cooper sent an effort wide from a Douglas free-kick before Leeds got the goal their play had deserved.

A long ball forward was headed clear by Jake Cooper, but only to Harrison who was able to take a few touches before planing a left foot shot past Amos into the corner of the net from 20 yards out.

It said everything about United’s approach that they rushed to get the ball out of the back of the net and get play restarted, although it was Millwall who came close to a winning goal.

In the second minute of injury-time a cross from the left found substitute Tom Elliott whose header bounced back off the post.

Leeds then had to survive a big goalmouth scramble from a corner before Conor McLaughlin smashed a shot wide and the last action was completed.

Whites head coach Marcelo Bielsa, who surprised fans by switching to a back three with Kalvin Phillips in between Pontus Janssen and Liam Cooper, reckoned his team would have been worthy winners.

He said: “Forgetting the last five minutes, we could have won the game.

“But we had the last five minutes of the game when we could have lost it.

“The main arguments of our opponent are throw-ins, corners, long balls. All of them are legitimate but to impose our style we needed to do more complicated things. We did what we had to do to score.

“It was hard for us to play well. The position of Klich was a new one for him because he played as a fourth defender in front of three centre-backs. He couldn’t use his main skill which is to make offensive actions. We were lacking this type of skill from him.”

Bielsa apologised for getting carried away in the emotion of the game and being involved in a bust-up late on with Millwall boss Neil Harris.

He added: “I take responsibility for this situation because I’m in football longer than my colleague (Harris).

“If you win or you lose, it means a lot for us. Sometimes we behave in a way and then after, we lament our behaviour.

“I have the obligation not to behave like this and I shouldn’t allow myself to behave like this. When you get more experienced, you should moderate your behaviour. That is why I apologise.”

Match facts

Millwall 1

(Wallace 55)

Leeds United 1

(Harrison 89)

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Sky Bet Championship

Attendance: 17,195

Millwall: Amos, McLaughlin, M Wallace, Cooper, Meredith, J Wallace, Williams, Leonard, O’Brien, Morison (Bradshaw 70), Gregory (Elliott 86).

Leeds: Peacock-Farrell, Ayling, Douglas, Cooper, Jansson, Phillips (Forshaw 74), Klich (Baker 61), Alioski, Harrison, Saiz, Roberts (Dallas 68).

Referee: Chris Kavanagh.