United start season with a defeat...
MILLWALL 2 (Beevers 8, Williams pen 87), UNITED 0.
Millwall: Forde; Edwards, Dunne, Beevers, Malone, Abdou, Williams, Martin (Gueye 67), McDonald, Woolford (Easter 67), Fuller (Gregory 81). Subs. Bywater, Webster, Briggs, Wright.
United: Silvestri, Byram, Wootton, Pearce, Warnock, Murphy, Austin, Tonge, Ajose (Poleon 79), Hunt (Smith 57), Doukara. Subs. S Taylor, Killock, Berardi, Cook, Benedicic.
Referee: O Langford
Att: 16,205 (2,171 Leeds)
United's first game of the new season saw us travel to the Den to face off against MIllwall. United head coach David Hockaday named three debutants in his starting line-up in the form of Marco Silvestri, Nicky Ajose and Souleymane Doukara. Prior to kick off the head coach named Jason Pearce as his captain for the season.
The atmosphere inside the Den was electric pre kick off as you’d expect before the opening game of the season.
It was the home side that started the brighter and following a Martyn Woolford corner they found themselves ahead. United looked to defend the corner-kick but when the ball was floated in the unmarked Mark Beevers stretched out to turn the ball home in the eighth minute.
Millwall were unlucky not to go two goals ahead just minutes later when Beevers threatened again from a corner. This time the ball was in the air and the defender’s header went wide.
There wasn’t too much for the travelling United supporters to shout about in the opening 35 minutes but a couple of half chances came knocking in the following moments. The best of the chace fell to Luke Murphy after good play by Noel Hunt. The midfielder, who was heading towards the goal from the edge of the box, mistimed his strike and it went wide of the mark.
The home side finished the half as the stronger side and looked the most likely. Millwall defender saw a free header from inside the box saved by Silvestri and Richard Fuller blasted a volley over the crossbar before the interval.
Both teams had chances at the very start of the second half. Hunt had a great chance for United but his shot was cleared off the line after he had David Forde beaten. Silvestri was again in the action moments later when he saved a close-range shot from Woolford and a free-kick from Shaun Williams.
Prior to the hour-mark, and just moments after the home supporters thought a penalty was coming their way, United broke down the right hand side. Sam Byram linked up well with Ajose and crossed the ball but Michael Tonge’s header was straight at the keeper.
Just after the hour United youngster Lewis Cook entered the field of play for his first senior competitive appearance for the club.
The following quarter hour brought very little in the way of goal-mouth action and scoring chances with both sides guilty of losing possession of the ball.
In the final 10 minutes of the match Dominic Poleon was introduced and he was involved immediately. The striker used his pace to create a chance for himself but Forde was on-hand to save his effort.
United pushed in the final minutes but it was Millwall that put the game to bed after being awarded a penalty in the 88th minute. Williams was the man who stepped up and his precise stop-kick out the game beyond United’s reach.