I am not going to drag this one out; it hurt too much. Leeds United lost to Watford FC 0-1 on Saturday afternoon, and the 2015/16 season is effectively over. Nine points clear of relegation and 16 back of the playoff, Leeds will likely play in the Championship again next season, so without the FA Cup to dream of, it'll be interesting to see how Steve Evans plays the remaining league fixtures (youth please?). Anyway, back to the Watford game I don't want to talk about...
Leeds came out fighting and played a solid first half, controlling the dominant attacking force that is Troy Denney and playing the 9th place Premier League squad pretty evenly. There was a 15 minute spell in the first half that looked as it probably should have, with Watford bossing play from the 10th to the 25th minute or so, but for the most part, Leeds held their own.
25’ This game was always going to be parking the bus, hoping for a counter, happy with a replay, but this has been a hard 15 min to watch.— Through It All LIVE (@ThruItAllLIVE) February 20, 2016
Souleymane Doukara had the nicest play of the first half, looking like Leeds most potent attacking option, as he has throughout the last two months in Chris Wood's absence. In the 31st minute, Doukara danced through the Watford defense and passed to Stuart Dallas, who put a shot just wide of goal. We entered the half feeling about as good as could be expected, but of course, that would unravel quickly after halftime.
Watford came out punching in the second half, with two quick corners in the first two minutes of play. Less than ten minutes into the half, while Watford was still attacking, this cross went into the box, and without a Watford player on the other end to receive it, it should've easily gone out for a goal kick.
Of course, that was not to be, as Gaetano Berardi's substitute at Sam Byram's position/not-a-right-back-but-always-at-right-back Scott Wootton decided to give the game to the otherwise underwhelming Watford FC.
I... just... don't know what to say. It was as typically Leeds as we have come to expect, I guess. I summed it up in this tweet after the own goal that would eventually give Watford the win:
Leeds wouldn't really have a chance on goal until the final five minutes, when Lee Erwin had a shot at the Watford keeper, but really, they never threatened. The punchless Leeds attack couldn't throw a counterpunch; and the error-prone defense made a costly, costly error.
That said, the traveling support was fantastic, with 4,065 making the trip and singing loud enough to drown out the Setanta broadcasters on the stream I watched in North Carolina. If only the team had given the supporters the result they wanted and deserved.
To hold Watford scoreless for 90 minutes was a plus? I don't know what positives to take from it. Maybe we just move on, admit that a defeat in the FA Cup to a better Premier League squad, owned by better Italians, and invested in as we'd all wish Leeds would've been invested in was completely justified. But it hurts, as so many results have this season, and we'll move on to the game against Fulham on Tuesday night.
I'll never forget Scott Wootton's own goal though.
Let us know how you felt in the comments, if you dare. Thanks for reading. #MOT.