Well that certainly wasn’t what we were hoping for. A terrible display yesterday at the City Ground showed once again that the Leeds United defense is simply poor. Without Pontus Jansson or Tyler Denton, both of whom played well against Luton Town but were not in the starting XI yesterday, the defensive mistakes continued to happen, most notably on corners, and we deserved to lose by the final score of 3-1.
Though Leeds dominated play for the first ten to twelve minutes or so, it only took Nottingham Forest sixteen minutes before they put their mark on the score sheet. Leeds failed to clear their lines on a corner kick, leading to a Pajtim Kasami goal off a well-struck volley that flew into the top left corner of the goal past a helpless Rob Green.
I’m not going to dwell too much on the Forest goals here, but if you want to see them, here are the full highlights.
Maybe our best offensive effort of the first half came in the final five minutes, when Marcus Antonsson had a low shot which forced the Nottingham goalkeeper into making a decent save.
45+2. Chance! Henderson is at full-stretch to deny Antonsson's low effort from inside the area. #lufc's best chance so far (1-0)— Leeds United (@LUFC) August 27, 2016
The half ended with Leeds down 1-0, and we were angry that we gave up another goal off a corner. Have we not been practicing our defense? I guess not. More to come on that.
After a boring first 20 minutes of the second half, Kalvin Phillips came on to replace Ronaldo Vieira. And just a minute after the substitution, we came close to equalizing.
66. Chance! Sacko drives #lufc forward and looks to play in Antonsson but it comes back to him and he blazes over (1-0)— Leeds United (@LUFC) August 27, 2016
And then, when Leeds had the pressure on, things got worse. In the 71st minute, Nottingham Forest doubled their lead, and it was off another corner. Another corner! With 19 minutes left in the game, we were down 2-0 and all hope seemed to be lost. The ball came in for Damien Perquis and he headed it past Green without a problem. Again, see the lowlights above for that one.
When this goal went in my face went red; I was furious at our team play. And then, as if Leeds wanted to give us fans a small, glimmer of hope, Kalvin Phillips scored a wonderful free-kick in the 83rd minute to put us back within one, and the 1,925 Leeds faithful in the stadium were given something to sing about.
It seemed as though we could possibly get out of this game with a draw! We surely looked like we would score, as we were on the attack for the rest of the game.
84’ GAME ON. Phillips with the goal on the free kick, now is time to make magic happen. Perfect. Go go go go. 2-1. pic.twitter.com/ylKAhWD4Zd— Through It All LIVE (@ThruItAllLIVE) August 27, 2016
Leeds came close to equalizing right before the 90th minute, and then five additional minutes were added. We had several chances, including a Phillips volley over the bar, but then... then Forest finished us off.
In the 94th minute, Oliver Burke slotted the ball past Green from a tight angle, and sealed the three points for Forest. The third goal looked a lot like the third goal in the season opener at QPR, and August came full circle.
I wasn’t the only one who was angry after the match. We HAVE to tighten up our marking on corners if we want any chance of getting a top-table finish. Luckily, we have the international break coming up, which means that the likes of Jansson will be able to come back and hopefully anchor the back line.
If we cannot find a way to stop these goals off simple mistakes, then we are destined for an 11th-17th place in this season’s campaign, and that is something I don’t think anyone wants to see again.
The international break will give us a chance to take a deep breath, reset, get set with our squad, and march on together. Let’s do that shall we?