Neil Redfearn’s Leeds United travelled to the Ricoh Arena with an unchanged side as they attempted to put Andy Thorn’s struggling Coventry City side to the sword. The home side were eight points away from safety at the foot of the table going in to the game and had only won five times during the whole campaign. United were looking to make up some ground on the top six after recent poor form has seen them fall away but it must have been a tiring journey for the Whites as they failed to ever really get going.
It didn’t look like that would be the case in the first five minutes though as there appeared to be very little in Coventry’s tank and the Leeds side, once again captained by goalkeeper Andy Lonergan, dominated the early possession and had a few early shots on goal from Ross McCormack and Aidan White. The Yorkshire club couldn’t make the most of their lacklustre opponents though and it wasn’t long before the Sky Blues were getting back into the game. Coventry have something Leeds United can’t deal with, a tall striker in Clive Platt and the big frontman won everything for the home side. Tom Lees and Darren O’Dea had no answer to him and he looked dangerous from every set piece Coventry were awarded.
Both sides looked poor and it was a question of which one could come out on top and it was the Sky Blues who got first blood via a scrap of luck. Despite the linesman flagging for a foul outside the box, play went on and Alex Nimely finally fell to the floor deep inside the area. The hosts had a penalty and Danny Pugh was the man adjudged to have fouled Nimely, on loan at Coventry from Manchester City. It was former United loanee Gary McSheffrey who was handed the task of dispatching the spot kick and he did just that, much to his delight as he wasted no time in performing his lengthy celebration just in front of the travelling Yorkshire army, winding them up in the process. United tried to respond straight away but Tom Lees couldn’t get his header on target. It wasn’t long however, before the visitors efforts were rewarded when United top scorer Ross McCormack added another goal to his tally for the season. City had held the lead for just over ten minutes when Adam Clayton came forward from midfield and it was his pass that was flicked into McCormack’s direction by strike partner Luciano Becchio. McCormack made no mistake in slotting the ball in the bottom corner and Leeds were level. The goal didn’t do much to inspire the team into action though and Coventry went in at the break with the upper hand as Clive Platt continued to get the better of the Whites’ lacklustre defence.
The second half began in a similar fashion to how the first one had panned out and it was clear to see why Coventry are struggling at the wrong end of the table. Unfortunately for Neil Readfearn and Leeds United though, they were second best to the hosts. However, the visitors did create two glorious opportunities to win the game in the second half. The first one was brilliantly carved out by the goal scorer from the first half, Ross McCormack who turned provider after he turned his man before teeing up Republic of Ireland Under-21 International Aidan White. White’s tame effort was easily repelled by Joe Murphy though and the chance had gone begging. Robert Snodgrass was the next man to turn provider and it was fellow Scot McCormack who received his superb pass, which was straight through the heart of Coventry City’s back four. You would have put your house on McCormack burying it but it wasn’t to be and Leeds had missed two guilt-edged chances.
Not only did Clive Platt have the beating of both Lees and O’Dea but Gary McSheffrey was also passing Adam Smith with ease at every opportunity. Luckily though for Both Leeds and Smith, Mcsheffrey’s final ball was poor and more often than not came to nothing. Something that Leeds fans will remember from his spell on loan with the club. Smith was eventually replaced by the returning Andy O’Brien in a substitution which saw Tom Lees revert to right back. Fabian Delph had also earlier been replaced after he was injured in an earlier tackle. It is unknown whether the injury will prematurely end Delph’s loan spell at the club but the product of the Leeds United academy gave the Leeds salute as he departed the field.
The home side began to win more corners and free kicks in and around the area and they looked dangerous from every one of them. Leeds’ set pieces on the other hand often ended in the hands of the goalkeeper and other than the two chances for McCormack and White, their attack looked toothless. Luciano Becchio was once again anonymous and had little or no impact on the game at all. It was McCormack who was replaced though, much to the dismay of the Leeds supporters. Ramon Nunez took his place on the field and the decision was met with a chorus of loud boos followed by a rendition of ‘You Don’t Know What You’re Doing’ aimed at Neil Redfearn. It was certainly a baffling decision after McCormack had arguably been United’s only real threat on the night.
With the game edging towards a 1-1 draw, the fourth official indicated there was to be five minutes of added time. The ball found its way to Alex Nimely on the right hand side of the pitch and he was simply too tricky for United’s defence as they hacked away at him and after a few missed attempts, someone made contact and Nimely was down again. Coventry had their second penalty of the game and Gary McSheffrey had the chance to earn all three points for the Sky Blues. The man deemed not good enough to play for Leeds United once again made no mistake from the spot and City had only their fourth win in twenty games.
It was yet another abysmal day/night at the office for Leeds United, who were second best to a team who were at the foot at the table before they cashed in on yet another lacklustre United performance. Darren O’Dea was completely clueless in dealing with Clive Platt, what Alex Bruce has to do get a chance in the team I just don’t know. His latest exclusion from the squad came at the expense of Andy O’Brien who replaced him on the bench and O’Brien certainly didn’t look ready to return to action. Aidan White and Danny Pugh are starting to look as bad as each other on the left hand side. As for Andy Lonergan, he looks a shadow of the player we saw when he first joined the club. Whether this is down to the curse of Andy Beasley, the captains armband weighing him down or just merely a lack of confidence I don’t know but it is not good to see. The players, the (caretaker) manager and the chairman are all letting the club down at the minute, it certainly is a worrying time to be a Leeds fan but then it usually is isn’t it? It is now clear that Neil Redfearn is not the man for the job, but then again he probably never was. A new man should be installed by the Doncaster game on Saturday but whether or not that happens remains to be seen. There has been so many lows to choose from during the past few years but at the moment, tonight feels like one of the worst. After coming up against one of the worst sides in the league, we have showed no heart, no desire, no skill, no passion, just nothing. We have taken one point against them this season and it’s just not good enough. It makes you wonder without some of the points we have accumulated with luck on our side this season against the likes of Burnley, Ipswich, Crystal Palace and others where we would be in the league.
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