Ryan Leonard: Millwall’s players and fans are united in Championship drop battle


Ryan Leonard hailed the team spirit in the Millwall camp after their late comeback against Sheffield United earned them a crucial point on Saturday.

Gary Madine had given Leonard’s former side the advantage before Ben Marshall missed an 87th-minute spot-kick after John Egan handled on the line and was sent off.

But the Lions showed their powers of recovery as Jake Cooper equalised deep into stoppage-time to stretch their unbeaten Championship run to three matches and keep them two points above the relegation zone.

“I think it was a fair result,” said former Blades midfielder Leonard. “I think in the first-half we tried to contain them – the longer the game went on they started to drop a bit deeper and we started to really create some chances.

“We missed the penalty but deserved to get something out of the game.”

Asked whether recovering from Marshall’s penalty miss to still score a late equaliser sums up the never-say-die attitude in the camp, Leonard said: “Yeah, 100 per cent. It shows the togetherness and character of all the lads – the team spirit between the fans and the players.

“They travel up and down the country all season and to get a last-minute equaliser at the very end of the game shows what it means to everyone.”

With Reading beating Brentford and Rotherham United – who occupy the final relegation place – drawing at Stoke City, Millwall were edging closer to the danger-zone before Cooped headed home.

“Every point is massive at this stage of the season,” said Leonard. “Obviously, Rotherham came from two-down and we have managed to get one in the last minute. It’s a massive point for us, there are no guaranteed results at this stage of the season, it throws up strange results.

“Missing a penalty everyone would think the game is over, but we have managed to get something with the last kick of the game, which is nice.

“The team spirit between the lads has been brilliant all season, I said during the week that no matter where we have been, the result we have had, everyone has stayed very positive.

“And I think it is starting to show this week, we have had a tough run of five or six games and we have managed to get quite a few points out of those and it is starting to show.

“If we can take it into the last four of five games then we can stay in this division.”

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