ALEX MOWATT, who celebrated the “perfect birthday present” as his match-winner sunk Millwall, has refused to rule out Leeds United gate-crashing the Championship’s top six.
Midfielder Mowatt turned 20 on Friday and proved the toast of Leeds the following day with his deflected 39th-minute free-kick.
The victory moved United 12th and eight points clear of the Championship drop zone headed by Millwall – but Leeds are now fifth in the division’s ‘form table’ over the last six games with Neil Redfearn’s side having amassed 13 points from their last six matches.
The Whites are still 15 points behind sixth-placed Norwich City and can be backed at 40-1 to reach the play-offs, but Mowatt said: “You never know. If you get a good run of games going then you see how high you can climb up.
“A couple of weeks ago people were saying relegation and things, but now people are talking about getting near the play-offs. That’s this league for you.”
United should have been out of sight at half-time on Saturday with Sam Byram, Lewis Cook and Steve Morison all having chances to add to Mowatt’s curling free-kick.
Third-bottom Millwall were much improved after the interval and could have made United pay for their profligacy, but Martyn Woolford squandered the best chance when blazing over the bar.
In an end-to end-second half, Leeds had chances of their own with Morison firing agonisingly wide and Scott Wootton heading over inside the final 10 minutes.
But United had done enough to net their third Championship victory in four games, to mark the perfect weekend for Mowatt.
The midfielder beamed: “That was what I was after on Friday night when I was thinking it would be nice to get a goal for my birthday. It was the perfect present.”
Millwall boss Ian Holloway, meanwhile, was left fuming by West Yorkshire Police’s continued ticket restrictions on Lions supporters.
Only 234 Millwall fans made the trip to Yorkshire and those travelling fans had to report to Woolley Edge service station to collect their tickets on the way to the ground.
Holloway fumed: “Why should West Yorkshire Police treat us any differently from everybody else? Are we so much worse?
“We should be shown the utmost respect like everybody else.
“After all, the game has moved on and so has supporters’ behaviour, so what is the issue?”
Leeds United: Silvestri, Wootton, Bamba, Bellusci, C Taylor, Byram, Austin (Antenucci 70), Murphy, Cook, Mowatt, Morison. Unused substitutes: S Taylor, Berardi, Sloth, Adryan, Sharp, Cani.
Millwall: Forde, Cummings, Dunne, Hooiveld, Harding, Angel (Upson 60), Williams, Woolford, Fabbrini (Fuller 60), Martin, Maierhofer (Gregory 45). Unused substitutes: Archer, Beevers, Abdou, O’Brien.
Referee: P Tierney (Lancashire).
Man of the match: Alex Mowatt.