Leeds United took on Sheffield United tonight with both clubs looking to consolidate, if not improve, their status in the Championship table.
Leeds had a horror start to the beginning of the match, as former White Billy Sharp scored with in the first two minutes to put Sheffield United ahead 1-0. The goal seemed to rattle the home side, as Leeds floundered around for much of the rest of the first half, with some dreadful looking passing combined with some dodgy defending.
SAVE: Brilliant from Lonergan, denying Sharp at point-blank range. Pennington lost the ball to Clarke, pass into the box teed up Sharp.— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) October 27, 2017
Andy Lonergan was not at fault for Sharp’s goal early on, and he provided a wonder save to keep the game at 1-0 after Matthew Pennington made an error (again) to let Sheffield United clear on net and Billy Sharp wasn’t able to steer a point-blank shot past the keeper.
Kalvin Phillips provided the magic in the first half for Leeds. After a Samu Saiz cross wasn’t properly cleared by the Blades, Phillips hit a wonder volley that sailed past Jamal Blackman, the on-loan Chelsea keeper.
SAVE: Lonergan again, absolutely superb to deny Sharp one-on-one. Quick free kick from Duffy, everyone else asleep. 1-1 on 44 mins.— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) October 27, 2017
Leeds again had to rely on Andy Lonergan to bail them out, as Billy Sharp once again caused Leeds problems as he pipped in to take a pair of total uncontested shots directly at the keeper. Lonergan was quick off his line to cut down the angle and his bravery and skill is the only reason Leeds did not go into half time a minimum of two goals down.
A stunner from Phillips and two huge saves from Lonergan. Level at the break but can't afford to play as poorly in the second half. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) October 27, 2017
Leeds once again started the second half on the back foot, allowing Sheffield United to get into good attacking positions. While Leeds made a few good attempts, once again the Blades dominated the early part of the second half.
OFF THE POST - Saiz, has a go left-footed from outside the box. Beats Blackman but comes back off the inside of the post. 1-1 on 57 mins.— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) October 27, 2017
Pontus Jansson came on for Liam Cooper in the 56’ minute, as it appeared that the Leeds captain took a bit of a knock. Right after the substitution Saiz was unlucky to not put Leeds ahead, as his shot came off the inside of the post and bounced out.
Phillips lucky to be still on the pitch pic.twitter.com/slLvDa9hxz— John (@John_MooreMOT) October 27, 2017
Kalvin Phillips was extremely lucky to have not received a red card for his horror tackle on Sheffield United’s Baldock and recieved only a yellow card. Phillips, despite the good volley to score his earlier goal, seemed to try to do too much and his set pieces were wasteful, as were Alioski’s.
Decent chance for Leeds, as Saiz picks out Alioski but header lacks power and Blackman saves. 1-1, 68 mins— Richard Sutcliffe (@RSootyYPSport) October 27, 2017
Saiz picked out Alioski as the winger had picked out a good bit of space on the right, but he wasn’t able to steer his header in towards goal. A player with a bit more power in the header would have been able to power it past the keeper, but Alioski isn’t that guy.
Leeds was punished in the 81st minute after Luke Ayling failed to keep track of the young Sheffield United substitute David Brooks, who took his shot very well, getting in close enough to pull Lonergan towards the near post and then picking out the far post to put Sheffield United in the lead. A very well-deserved lead given the balance of play for most of the match, it has to be said.
Leeds put some more pressure on the Sheffield United goal, but the Blades were always up to the pressure, and the match ended 2-1 in favor of the visitors.
Samu Saiz looked the best of the players in White today, with Kalvin Phillips having a wonder strike that was cancelled out by a horror tackle that on most days would have seen him taking an early shower. It’s hard to pick out which player was the worst, as there were a number of candidates, but this team needs to start putting together some better performances back-to-back if they wish to keep in at least the play-off places.
Sheffield United are now top of the league, and this is the second Yorkshire derby in which Leeds have looked very, very average. The club has got to get some positions sorted out, and perhaps being bounced by Leicester City in the Carabao Cup was the best thing, as Luke Ayling and a couple of the other players look like they need a rest.
Leeds will take on Derby County on Tuesday and once again look to bounce back after a bad home loss.