Leeds striker Patrick Bamford had gone five games without a goal before Tuesday’s victory
Leeds United scored three times in 15 second-half minutes as they came from two goals down to beat in-form Millwall and move to the top of the Championship.
The visitors went ahead through Shaun Hutchinson’s close-range header and sent shockwaves around Elland Road when Jed Wallace doubled their lead from the spot after Jon Dadi Bodvarsson was brought down by Ezgjan Alioski.
Home fans vented their frustration towards referee Darren England at the break after they felt some decisions went against them, but Patrick Bamford soon tapped home a rebound to pull one back.
Leeds piled forward and a deflected Pablo Hernandez strike saw them level before Luke Ayling crossed for Bamford to power home a diving header and seal a first victory in 2020.
Defeat for West Bromwich Albion at Cardiff City means Marcelo Bielsa’s side are two points clear, despite recording only their second win in eight league games, while Millwall’s first defeat in six sees their play-off ambitions dented.
Gary Rowett’s Lions started with purpose, Ryan Woods shooting over before Hutchinson was allowed to nod home at the back post, with Leeds goalkeeper Kiko Casilla rooted to his line.
Stuart Dallas forced two smart saves from Millwall keeper Bartosz Bialkowski – in his first game since sealing a permanent move from Ipswich – before the game’s most controversial moment.
Leeds players thought Woods had run the ball out of play but no whistle was forthcoming, with Iceland striker Bodvarsson drawing a foul from Alioski – starting in place of the suspended Kalvin Phillips – and Wallace drilling home his 10th goal of the season.
With no goal in three matches and new striker Jean-Kevin Augustin only watching from the stands, there was a feeling the hosts may struggle to recover, but Bamford stood up to lead a high-intensity revival.
The former Boro man was on hand to net after Bialkowski saved brilliantly from Jack Harrison and an equaliser was inevitable, though there was a hint of fortune about Hernandez’s 20-yard effort, which crept into the corner.
Leeds kept pushing forward in the closing stages – Helder Costa curling against the bar and Mateusz Klich somehow blazing over from eight yards – as their opponents ran out of steam.
Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa said:
“It’s not what I said which provoked the change. Maybe the match looked like it was strange, but it’s a copy of all our matches.
“A lot of chances to make three goals, the opponent goals were similar to what we normally concede.
“We played very well in attack. It is similar to most of our matches. In the second half it was easier when we were playing in more space.”
Millwall manager Gary Rowlett said:
“I’m disappointed, but overall we’ve been given a lesson. They (Leeds) were thoroughly deserved winners.
“Ten days without a game has probably benefitted Leeds which you saw with the running and energy.
“We knew this was a tough place to come. To get in at half-time 2-0 up, we didn’t perform well enough after that.”
- Match Stats
- Live Text
- 17Hélder Costa
- 19HernándezBooked at 64minsSubstituted forShackletonat 90+4'minutes
- 9BamfordBooked at 90mins
- 15PearceSubstituted forFergusonat 72'minutes
- 19WoodsBooked at 26mins
- 9BradshawSubstituted forSmithat 83'minutes
- 23BödvarssonSubstituted forMahoneyat 72'minutes
Home TeamLeedsAway TeamMillwallPossessionHome69%Away31%ShotsHome28Away11Shots on TargetHome11Away5CornersHome7Away3FoulsHome12Away10
Match ends, Leeds United 3, Millwall 2.