After a solid start to the 2017/18 campaign a sticky middle was overcome and a strong run from the beginning of November to the New Year saw Leeds United sitting in fifth in the Championship.
Thomas Christiansen’s men started off the season nine unbeaten and headed into the New Year with a good set of results behind them.
After four matches without a win to end December running into January, Leeds put their six-match unbeaten run at Elland Road to the test against Millwall.
Clashes between the two sides are usually intense affairs, and this occasion was no different.
Neil Harris’ men had not won an away match all season with the Whites having a good run at Elland Road.
With that, the Lions took on Leeds United on January 20, 2018, in a pulsating encounter.
Leeds would go down to 10-men and come back to lead 3-2 heading into the final five minutes.
It looked to be an incredible victory for the home side before disaster hit and the numbers told.
Two goals from the visitors saw them come away with all three points and their first away win of the season seeing their hosts off 4-3 in crazy fashion.
FULL TIME | The referee brings the game to a close, and Millwall win 4-3 pic.twitter.com/IHti3UNvI2
— Leeds United (@LUFC) January 20, 2018
The result was not received well by the Leeds fans with them responding to the full-time tweet the club put out with anger.
We have just lost at home to the worst away team in the league, we deserve to get relegated
— Mauricesunderland (@Mozza_44) January 20, 2018
I feel physically sick after this result ????
— Mikey P (@mikeyplufc) January 20, 2018
— Lewis Mccall (@Lewismccall21) January 20, 2018
Down to 10th soon we will be in relegation zone……
— Rob Nevin (@nevin_rob) January 20, 2018
Sick to death of this team I follow. Had enough. Too many lows and very few highs.
— Nottingham (@sinot196) January 20, 2018
The outcome of this match would be a landmark result regarding Leeds’ season.
Having sat seventh in the division before the defeat, the wheels on a potential promotion push came off in spectacular fashion.
The defeat to Millwall was Leeds’ third defeat in four, and it would get worse for the club.
Two further games without a win saw Christiansen sacked and replaced with Paul Heckingbottom at the beginning of February.
A change in manager did not yield a change in circumstance and form, however.
Heckingbottom would have to wait until his fourth game in charge for a win at the end of February, another month and another four games would come and go before another win.
Leeds only managed four wins after the Millwall defeat, losing nine.
It was an incredible collapse from the early league leaders as they finished in the bottom half and in 13th place a massive 15 points off the play-off places they had occupied for a large part of the season.
From promotion contenders to going on a sensational run of poor form to finish way off the pace after a solid start.
That fixture was a turning point for both clubs that season with both going in opposite directions.
The initial reaction to the defeat was one of anger, but few could have fathomed that being the tip of the iceberg in what was to come.