So here we are, the last home game of the 2015/16 season, and what a season it’s been. Off the pitch we have seen as much drama as an hour long special of Emmerdale. On the pitch has been as inconsistent as... as inconsistent as... well, as inconsistent as a Leeds United performance.
There was still plenty to be optimistic about with only 2 games of the season left: Leeds will still have our highest finish in years, and with the summer optimism already starting to kick in, I know I couldn’t wait for the whistle on Saturday. On top of this the Whites were in a good run of form, the weather's starting to pick up, a big crowd was expected at Elland Road, and surely we'd have an easy 3 points against a team who were well worth relegation this year.
Elland Road looking good for the final home game of the season! Come on Leeds! ⚽️ #lufc @LUFC pic.twitter.com/gfAKVuSG4f— Daniel Hopper (@DanielH_LUFC) April 30, 2016
Alas, things are never that simple. The 90 minutes on the pitch summarised our entire season for me. Sloppy at the back and not clinical enough up front along with a side order of lacklustre. Similar to most teams in that mid table bracket in the championship, Leeds can do it sometimes, but not all the time. The first half was simply not good enough from Leeds and we never really got going. The final 15 minutes of the half gifted Charlton a goal needlessly. The second half wasn’t as bad, but equally as frustrating, as chances came and chances went. Charlton looked frail and shaky for most of the game. If we had played anything like we have in the past few weeks, they would have been there for the taking.
The goals were simple enough. Charlton had one from Johann Berg Gudmundsson go off the post before he deposited a cross from Morgan Fox into the net in the 39th minute. Ademola Lookman followed with a goal right at the beginning of the second half off another cross, this one from Gudmundsson, who is clearly a Premier League talent and will surely not be dropping to League One with the Addicks. The 2 goal deficit was devastating to the largest crowd at Elland Road in recent memory... and to our live-tweeting editor.
Goal for Charlton. 0-2. pic.twitter.com/EQ3T2GWs6X— Through It All LIVE (@ThruItAllLIVE) April 30, 2016
Charlie Taylor provided his usual great service into the box on several occasions in the second half, looking for a spark to begin a comeback, but Chris Wood couldn't connect with what should've been the opening goal in the 57th. 14 minutes later, Sol Bamba came up big to head in that first goal, putting the Whites down only 1-2, but with 25 minutes to find the equaliser, Leeds United came up short and lost to the relegation-bound Addicks by a goal in the home season finale. Video highlights and some bonus analysis provided by the lads at WALMOT below:
Perhaps this is a timely reminder. At least that’s how I’m looking at it. I’m sure no one is under the illusion that the current crop are good enough for a play-off push, despite what the season ticket deal or big Steve may say. This game re-highlighted the weaknesses we have had all season and will hopefully make it clear in Massimo’s mind what is needed in the summer. If we are to make a play-off push, and we are more than capable with some great additions, today is a perfect example of the type of performance we need to stray away from, and the best way to do that is by buying game-changing quality players.
Disappointing game aside, yesterday had another air of sadness about it, at least for around 50% of the fans. Yesterday may well have been Steve Evans last home game as Leeds United manager. Big Steve has divided opinion ever since he walked in the door at Thorpe Arch, and I personally would be very sad to see him not be given a chance of a proper run at it next season. He may not do himself any favours at times, but Steve Evans is a passionate man who wins football matches, and that’s all I need to know. He has clearly won admirers in his time here, as was shown by a large group of the support yesterday.
More chants of 'one Steve Evans' from the South Stand. Evans does the Leeds salute to them. Looked like a wave goodbye. #lufclive— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) April 30, 2016
He clearly doesn’t want to leave as he has said several times over the past few weeks. But as always with Cellino, you fear a sacking is inevitable. Steve Evans was quoted after the game saying "If I’m not here, I’ll remember this for the rest of my life. Thank you very much." And therein lies the problem. It's one week until the end of the season and the man still doesn’t know his fate. If Steve does get the chop, I guarantee he will end up at another championship club next season, and said championship club will probably beat us next season.
With one week to now until the season is put to bed however there is still plenty left to discuss at Elland Road. After Taylor, Cook and Dallas cleared up at the LUFC end-of-season awards last night, will they continue their streak and win all the TIAT awards as well? Will Steve stay or will Steve go? Who should we sign in the summer? Will Stuart Dallas win the Euros single handed? All very good questions that will be answered shortly.
Let us know what you think in the comments.