Leeds left to rue penalty miss as Lions roar through

Leeds United 1 Millwall 1 (Millwall win 2-1 on aggregate)
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The Independent Football

Outspoken in defence of their supporters after a trouble-marred first leg last weekend, Millwall did their talking on the field last night with a resilient performance in an intimidating atmosphere at Elland Road.

They kept their nerve after Leeds had gone ahead on the night through Luciano Becchio's goal to claim a place in the League One play-off final. Their defence was outstanding but it was the goalkeeper, David Forde, who took the plaudits after saving a penalty early in the second half, sharing the spotlight with the 24-year-old French midfielder Nadjim Abdou, whose 74th-minute goal earned Kenny Jackett's team their trip to Wembley.

In front of a crowd of 37,000 – the biggest outside the Premier League this season – the Millwall players had been confronted with thunderous noise from all sides of the ground, drowning out the 1,000 fans they had been limited to bringing. But they produced a display that was full of character.

"We did not come here intending to defend but what you talk about before the game and what happens on the field in that kind of atmosphere are different things," Jackett said. "When Leeds scored the momentum was with them but we came back well. To overcome Leeds, who are a very good team, is a great achievement."

Chances were rare. The best of the first half fell to Leeds when Robert Snodgrass' through-ball set up Jermaine Beckford, whose angled shot was saved by Forde, who then dealt well with Fabian Delph's follow-up.

It was not a night to squander gifts, so when Forde saved Beckford's 48th-minute penalty after Andy Frampton's foul on Sam Sodje, the massive majority inside the stadium must have been fearful. Yet the goal to level the tie was soon in coming.

Becchio milked the moment after sliding home his 19th goal of the season. Ben Parker, the left-back, stormed half the length of the field, swapping passes with Andy Robinson, before delivering the telling cross.

Leeds were on top but in their quest for a second goal they took more risks and Millwall regained the overall lead with a well-worked equaliser. Martin crossed to the far post from the left, Lewis Grabban played the ball back across and Abdou turned it home.

Leeds United (4-4-2): Ankergren; Douglas, Naylor, Sodje, Parker (Johnson, 77); Snodgrass, Howson (Grella, 90), Delph, Kilkenny (A Robinson, 35); Beckford, Becchio. Substitutes not used: Lucas (gk), Marques.

Millwall (4-4-2): Forde; Dunne, Craig, Whitbread, Frampton; Henry (P Robinson, 86), Abdou, Bolder, Martin; Alexander, Harris (Grabban, 64). Substitutes not used: Pidgley (gk), Barron, Laird.

Referee: M Halsey (Lancashire)