MILLWALL lost for just the second time in 14 league games as Leeds United came from two goals down at half-time to win 3-2 at Elland Road on Tuesday night.
Shaun Hutchinson headed Millwall in front in the fourth minute before Jed Wallace fired home from the penalty spot 23 minutes in.
Leeds halved the deficit three minutes into the second half when Patrick Bamford tapped home after Bart Bialkowski had saved brilliantly from Jack Harrison following a corner.
The hosts were level in the 62nd minute through Pablo Hernandez who shot low past Bialkowski, and four minutes later Bamford scored his second to make it 3-2.
Relentless Leeds turn it around
Even at 2-0 at half-time few in the ground thought this game was over, and Leeds attacked the second half with a ferocity that Millwall just couldn’t withstand, as waves of attacks took their toll on the away side.
Leeds had compounded their own defensive problems in the first half when they slowed down as Ryan Woods just about kept the ball in on the left to find Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, who had played to the whistle before Ezgjan Alioski’s trip saw referee Darren England blow his.
Wallace scored his 10th of the season and as the Millwall players celebrated several objects were thrown onto the pitch. The home fans chanted “2-0 to the referee” after England had earlier missed Bialkowski’s save from Stuart Dallas and given a goal-kick instead of a corner.
Millwall had gone ahead when Leeds left Hutchinson unmarked to head in Wallace’s corner.
But the hosts started the second half with a fierce determination and barely let the tempo drop for the rest of the game. If anything they kept increasing the pace, and Millwall couldn't keep the dam from bursting.
After Bamford had scored so early in the second period, even then there was an inevitability that they would complete the comeback.
Millwall were forced back as the hosts virtually played a 2-4-4 formation, and they didn't survive the onslaught.
From Jed Wallace’s cross, Jayson Molumby saw an early effort from close range blocked before Woods fired over.
It was a frantic start and Millwall got a fourth-minute corner after Jake Cooper had strode forward from his left-sided centre-back position. Wallace took it and Hutchinson was left virtually free to head home.
Alioski and Mateusz Klich shot wide from the edge of the box as the relentless start continued.
Bamford snapped a shot at Bialkowski from Harrison’s cross in the 13th minute as Leeds started to move the ball with speed and precision.
Bialkowski then produced a superb save to tip Stuart Dallas’s shot around the post, but to the fury of the home fans referee England somehow hadn’t spotted the goalkeeper’s intervention and gave a goal-kick. The replay on the big screen increased the Whites’ anger.
And just when it seemed the decibels of rage couldn’t be raised higher, England gave Millwall a penalty when Bodvarsson tumbled with contact from Alioski. Wallace placed his penalty into the bottom left corner.
Leeds started the second half at a ferocious pace and got an immediate reward through Bamford. Bialkowski then tipped over Hernandez’ volley after Bamford’s shot had been blocked.
Millwall responded when Jed Wallace combined with Hutchinson before crossing, and Tom Bradshaw’s low effort deflected just past the post.
Alioski then crossed and Bamford got in front of Cooper to head inches wide, before Bialkowski saved from Harrison on the goal-line.
Millwall were struggling to survive an endless attacking barrage as Leeds created chance after chance. Hernandez brought them level, before Bamford scored again from close in at the back post from Luke Ayling’s cross. Moments earlier Hutchinson had desperately hooked away Helder Costa’s cross, but the Lions were being given so little time to regroup.
Leeds went close to adding a fourth 13 minutes from time when Costa cut in from the right to curl a shot off the crossbar.
Shane Ferguson and Connor Mahoney had come on by that stage, but were effectively forced into auxiliary wing-back roles. In the 82nd minute Harrison’s low cross opened it up for Klich 10 yards out, but the midfielder shot over.
There was one late chance for the Lions, but Murray Wallace was stretching to reach the ball and shot over.
Millwall boss Gary Rowett made six changes to the side that lost 2-0 to Sheffield United in the FA Cup at the weekend. Mahlon Romeo, Hutchinson, Woods, Jed Wallace, Bradshaw and Bodvarsson came in; James Brown dropped out of the squad, while Billy Mitchell, Ferguson, Mahoney, Aiden O'Brien and Matt Smith were on the bench.
Millwall: 5-2-3: Bialkowski; Romeo, Hutchinson, Pearce (Ferguson, 72), Cooper, M Wallace; Woods, Molumby; J Wallace, Bradshaw (Smith, 82), Bodvarsson (Mahoney, 72).
Subs: Subs: Sandford, Mitchell, Skalak, Mahoney, O'Brien.
Image: Millwall FC