Sometimes in life, you give everything and still lose. For me, that's exactly what the Leeds United players did against a strong Bristol City side, as the Whites fell to the Robins 1-0 on Tuesday night.
On the face of it, the game was even with both teams having 12 shots each and both hitting the target 3 times. However, for me, Leeds were the better side and deserved to take something from the game, they just lacked that cutting edge that they will need to find if they want to challenge for a top six finish.
Bristol City started the game as the better side, they pressed Leeds early and didn't give Leeds a chance to settle into the game. Bristol City had chances throughout the first ten minutes, but Rob Green was up for the early challenge.
10’ Spoke too soon: O’Kane and Phillips need to step up in midfield, Leeds defense under a lot of pressure. Green been solid early. 0-0.— Through It All LIVE (@ThruItAllLIVE) September 27, 2016
The first real chance for Leeds came at the 12th-minute mark on a good pass from O'Kane to Dallas, who hit a shot/cross wide of the goal. The best chance of the first half fell to Bristol City in the 16th minute: a good turn and shot hit the side netting as Green just stood and watched. The Bristol faithful thought they’d scored, but that celebration would have to wait.
After that, Leeds started to get a foothold in the game playing some nice football. Sacko had a half chance on 19 minutes when his shot deflected straight into the hands of Frank Fielding in the Bristol goal.
Leeds' best chance of the first half came in the 20th minute. Sacko broke down the right and cut the ball back to Hernandez who just shot wide.
The Leeds players looked confident, both Janssen and Bartley were dealing with Tammy Abraham and Leeds were in the ascendency. Great play just after the half-hour mark between Dallas and Hernandez nearly gave Dallas a chance. However, his heavy touch gave the Bristol city defenders time to clear.
Tammy Abraham did have one of his few chances in the 42nd minute for Bristol, but his shot was poor.
Just before the half-time whistle, the intensity and emotion of the game seemed to go up a notch.
Firstly, Pontus Jansson was booked for removing the ball from the ground, and it could have been worse if Bartley hadn't intervened. Then, Dallas and Tomlin clashed and both were booked, with Monk and Clotet both having words with the referee about the incident.
The half-time whistle went and, as the players made their way down the tunnel, Janssen looked like he was struggling.
Hoping not but looked to me like Jansson tweaked a hamstring as Leeds defended that corner. Holding it as he went down the tunnel.— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) September 27, 2016
When the players returned for the second half Janssen was replaced by Cooper.
Leeds started the second half well. However, confusion in the Leeds box in the 51st minute nearly cost us, and Bartley was on hand to make an important tackle and clear.
Bristol City made their first change on 53, with Taylor-Moore replacing the injured Little. After a foul on Hernandez (which wasn't given) let Tomlin break, the Bristol midfielder slipped the ball to his captain, Marlon Pack, who smashed the ball past Rob Green to give Bristol the lead.
The Leeds players reacted well after the goal, as they immediately pressed for the equaliser.
Some nice work by Sacko down the right gave the space for a shot, although it took a deflection and went wide for a corner. Leeds made a change to give their offense some fresh legs in the 68th minute, as Kemar Roofe replaced Stuart Dallas. Soon after, after some decent play down the right, Sakho had a chance but once again he hit it wide.
70’ SACKO KEEPS MISSING. Come on lad. Great chance there. pic.twitter.com/7zeno3tfgt— Through It All LIVE (@ThruItAllLIVE) September 27, 2016
Leeds were still pushing for an equaliser and Wood found some space for a shot, but he was denied by a good save from Fielding in the Bristol goal. And then, as Leeds pushed for a winner, Bristol had the chance to put the game to bed, but Bobby Reid's shot went wide of the goal. Both teams had chances, but none could take advantage. Tammy Abraham was mostly quiet on the night, and he was subbed off in the 78th.
Before added time, Garry Monk was sent to the stand. The frustration of the scoreline and some calls from the referee seemed to get to him. Even though he was sent off, it was nice to see him show passion for the cause.
88’ Garry Monk sent out, so that’s fun. Complaining a bit much, but there’s been plenty to complain about.— Through It All LIVE (@ThruItAllLIVE) September 27, 2016
Leeds continued to press but to no avail, and the final whistle rang out at Ashton Gate. Leeds’ four game winning streak came to an end in a game they could have won, as they played Bristol well on the road.
My Man of the Match
I’m giving my MOM to Hadi Sacko. He was the main driving force in the Leeds attack and worked hard all game. However, he needs to improve his decision making when he has the ball in the final third of the pitch, as his shot selection and some of his crosses tonight were not good enough.
At the end of the game, I genuinely felt sad. Over the last month, I have watched as the players have developed into a team I honestly believe can challenge at the higher end of the league.
I hope the lads will take solace in the fact that we are playing the best football we have seen at Elland Road for quite some time. As long as Jansson isn’t injured too badly, it’s just one loss in a month of good wins, and the match really could’ve gone either way. Let’s hope Monk has them brush themselves off and look to mauling our South Yorkshire neighbours on Saturday. MOT.