Millwall manager Neil Harris: Referee was poor in match against Leeds United

BY RICHARD CAWLEY

Millwall manager Neil Harris has described Darren Bond’s handling of Saturday’s match at Leeds United as “poor” – and reckons the official gave nearly all the big calls to the home side.

The Lions lost 3-2 at Elland Road. Referee Bond only booked Leeds defender Pontus Jansson when he caught Jed Wallace with his arm as the winger was about to break through.

He also awarded a penalty to either side. But Harris felt Millwall’s was a clear foul – Liam Cooper bringing down Ben Marshall in the box. Ezgjan Alioski’s tumble looked a more flimsy claim.

Asked about the Jansson incident, the Lions chief said: “I’ve seen it back from various angles. It’s a very tight call. I thought the referee was poor on the day.

“I thought he favoured the home team to much on key decisions. I’m not saying he got every decision wrong, but every major decision.

“Our penalty was the most blatant you could ever see and had to be given. Dave Martin saves it.

“Then there is the red card incident. They were key moments.

Jed Wallace has a shot saved by Bailey Peacock-Farrell

“Some tackles he gave fouls for and although they don’t look too major if you roll the play two or three seconds then they are. He gave one on Ryan Leonard and one on Ben Thompson, if he doesn’t give them then it becomes a four on three and five on two.

“The ref favoured the home team and that’s human nature I suppose – in an atmosphere like that.

“The red card incident I felt was a red card at the time and the ref hasn’t given it. We have to get on with it. Those are moments that can change the courses of football matches.”
Harris’ only words of criticism for his team after the match were aimed at the defending for Luke Ayling’s header which pulled the score back to 2-2.

“It was a top performance by the players,” he said. “We knew Leeds were going to be very, very good and we knew they were going to cause us problems in the wide areas and getting balls in the box – their intensity and clever play. We knew it was not by chance where they are in the league.

Ryan Tunnicliffe puts his head in where it hurts

“We knew how good we were going to have to be and the threat we needed to cause them. The game unfolded probably quite how we expected. They were two very good goals we scored and in ways we knew we could get in against them.

“We tried to eradicate those areas of the pitch where they were strong in.

“The atmosphere created by the home fans and our fans along with the way the game went made it a great spectacle.

“So many people said afterwards that we were the best team they had seen there this season. They couldn’t believe how good we were.

“But at the end of the day we haven’t got the points. It’s nice to get plaudits but we have to make sure we come the right side of results over the next eight games.

“That is three top performances in a row against three very tough opponents. If we keep our performances as high then the wins will come.

“For so long we handled them really well. They’ve created more chances, controlled more possession, made more passes, crossed more balls and got on the end of crosses more than anybody else in the league.

“I’m disappointed with the second goal because before that we had weathered the comeback and had broken up the play.

“The second goal is a disaster. It is a poor clearance by Mahlon [Romeo], he needs to compose himself better to make the clearance. There is hesitation thinking the ball goes out, it doesn’t, and their reaction is better than ours. That’s the frustration, the only real disappointment from the weekend – we’d nullified them and they were just becoming a little restless.

“We gave them a goal and I said to the players it was such a good team performance – to let three goals in was a real blow for us.

“In the last eight we have to eradicate the mistakes at key mights which have blighted our season. When we had made errors like that we have been punished.

PICTURES BY BRIAN TONKS

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