Leeds United's season effectively came to an end at the Etihad Stadium with a crushing 4-0 defeat at the hands of Premier League Champions Manchester City, and with it surely comes the end of Neil Warnock's reign at Elland Road.Once again the Leeds boss produced a baffling team selection and coupled it with some bizarre substitutions, all of which were too much for the travelling fans who called long and loud for his dismissal.
The United midfield was once again reshuffled following the defeat at Middlesbrough in midweek. Aidy White came in on the right hand side, despite not having the ability to use his right foot. Rodolph Austin was restored alongside Michael Brown with Luke Varney asked to provide width down the left.
Roberto Mancini was keen to ensure that there was no repeat of his sides's shock defeat at Southampton last weekend. He included YaYa Toure, David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez as well as former United start James Milner as he went all out for the victory.
On a beautiful spring afternoon, the home side were quickly into their stride, although the first scare for Jamie Ashdown came from a horrifically short back pass from Michael Brown, the keeper doing well to clear the ball from danger.
It took City just five minutes to open the scoring, carving Leeds apart with a slick passing move we can only dream of our side putting together. Silva, Tevez and finally Toure moved the ball through the Leeds back four, Toure calmly rounding Ashdown to slide the ball into the empty net.
Brown, playing against his former club, was up to his usual tricks of trying to irritate the opposition and got himslef involved in a clash with Toure, the Ivorian pushing the Leeds man to the floor after a tangle of legs. It was a moment of respite for the Whites who were soon back under attack, Silva firing just wide followed by Tevez hitting the side netting.
On 15 minutes the contest was as good as over. Sergio Aguero burst into the Leeds box and was held off by Tom Lees. The referee appeared to wait until Aguero stopped to appeal before giving the penalty, which was soft to say the very least. The Argentine striker dispatched the spot kick confidently to make it 2-0.
By now the Leeds fans had decided to make their own amusement, all to aware that they were unlikely to be roused into action by the team on the pitch in the white shirts. The whole repartee of the Leeds songsheet was used, with some new classics such as "Michael Brown is not for sale" as well as a mimic of the Poznan and some shoes off if you hate Man U.
Jamie Ashdown in the goal in front of the traveling support produced a fine tip over the bar to deny Toure from 25 yards as City moved up a gear around the half hour mark, after Leeds had managed to stem the tide for a few minutes.
Just before half time Leeds had their first effort on goal. Ross McCormack had not even had scraps to feed on so was keen to take a free kick awarded on the edge of the area. He got the ball around the wall but it was straight at Pantilimon in the City goal who saved comfortably.
The Leeds fans had taken to singing "Let's pretend we've scored a goal" and then randomly celebrating much to the bemusement of the home fans.
Neil Warnock made two changes at half time, replacing the ineffective Brown with David Norris but more surprisingly with Leeds chasing the game removed Ross McCormack replacing him with Steve Morison.
The third goal was always going to be a crucial one and unsurprisingly it went City's way. Aguero made a run to the touchline and crossed the ball for Tevez to turn into the net from just inches out.
That was the game as good as over with Leeds looking totally impotent in the attacking third of the field. Ironic ole's greeted every pass as Leeds at least looked to keep possession but with no idea of how to penetrate the City defence it was a pointless exercise and they soon resorted to the hit and hope tactics.
City should have made it four when Ashdown palmed a Yaya Toure effort away, only for the ball to fall to substitute Jack Rodwell who headed the rebound against the crossbar. It was 4-0 six minutes later as a ball over the top caught the Leeds back line square and Aguero stretched to divert the ball past Ashdown via a post.
The Leeds fans now made their feelings toward the manager known, making it pretty clear that it's time for him to go to retirement in Cornwall. The closing minutes were almost played out in silence, the Leeds support vocally spent, and the City support having decided to beat the traffic.
The final whistle brought down the curtain on Leeds chances of a trophy this season (Ha!) and with a place in the playoffs looking out of reach it is time for the planning for next season to start. Warnock alluded to that fact himself in his post match interview when he stated:
"My contract ends this season and there is no way I want to stay in the Championship again next year."
He then added that if GFH decided to dispense with his services earlier he would not be surprised, before deluding himself again about how well he has done in his year in charge when he said:
"With what has gone on behind the scenes over the last 12 months I think I deserve a medal... I am afraid I am going to have to get used to the chanting. I do not think I deserve that after the year I have had."
Neil - After the year we have had watching what you call football, I think we have earned the right to say what we want.