Disappointing start for Hockaday and Leeds United

Leeds United striker Matt Smith shows his frustration at Millwall.
Leeds United striker Matt Smith shows his frustration at Millwall.

Leeds United head coach David Hockaday has put a brave face on suffering a disappointing defeat in his first game in charge.

The Whites opened the new season with a 2-0 defeat at Millwall as Mark Beevers put Millwall ahead after eight minutes and Shaun Williams sealed the result with a penalty two minutes from time.

New Leeds boss Hockaday bemoaned his side’s lack of a cutting edge, but insisted lessons would be learned and he was pleased with a second half improvement from the team.

He said: “From last season we wanted to change the philosophy at the club and get the players comfortable on the ball.

“Having said that, if you get a number of passes and then they start to press then that’s when you get through them, over them, around them but you get behind them with quality. We didn’t do that. We kept passing for passing’s sake, inviting more and more pressure.

“First half we didn’t perform, didn’t stick to the game plan. Having said that, we conceded a poor goal from a corner.

“The good thing is we responded well in the second half. But football’s about moments and we didn’t handle the moments as well as they did.

“We learnt a lot about our players and how they can handle the big occasion. We wanted to stop them carrying out their game plan, which is lots of diagonals and we allowed them too much time to do it.”

Leeds were made to pay for a sluggish start and were behind from the eighth minute when poor marking from a corner allowed Beevers to fire past new keeper Marco Silvestri.

Millwall came close to a second soon after as Beevers headed over from another corner.

Leeds created precious little until Luke Murphy hit an effort wide while the hosts finished the half the stronger with Richard Fuller blasting a volley over.

United improved after the break and should have levelled when Noel Hunt took advantage of a defensive mix-up only to see his shot cleared off the line by Carlos Edwards.

Silvestri saved a close-range shot from former Glasshoughton Welfare player Martyn Woolford as the action switched to the other end then he kept out a Shaun Williams free-kick.

United fashioned another chance when Sam Byram and debutant striker Nicky Ajose linked, but Michael Tonge’s header was straight at keeper David Forde.

Substitute Dominic Poleon almost made an instant impact when using his pace well to make a chance only to see his shot saved by Forde.

But it was effectively all over when Lee Gregory went down under the most minor of touches from 17-year-old Leeds debutant Lewis Cook and Williams put away the resulting penalty.

Perhaps justice was done as Woolford had earlier appeared to be bundled over in the area and referee Oliver Langford had not pointed to the spot on that occasion.

Match facts

Millwall 2

(Beevers 8, Williams pen 88)

Leeds United 0

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Sky Bet Championship

Attendance: 16,205

Millwall: Forde, Edwards, Dunne, Beevers, Malone, Abdou, Williams, Martin (Gueye 67), McDonald, Woolford (Easter 67), Fuller (Gregory 81).

Leeds: Silvestri, Byram, Wootton, Pearce, Warnock, Murphy, Austin, Tonge, Ajose (Poleon 79), Hunt (Smith 57), Doukara.

Referee: Oliver Langford.