Leeds looked tired and flat and without the midfield presence of either Ronaldo Vieira or Eunan O’Kane, were unable to generate much possession on the ball, leading to a desperate Birmingham City team to grab a late winner that was probably deserved on the afternoon. Leeds looked like a team that hadn’t had much rotation in the past few weeks, and it showed as a number of players were beaten to almost every 50-50 ball and the physicality of Birmingham wore down the visitors from Yorkshire. A disappointing loss, but Leeds still stay in the top six.
Really poor game but Leeds had very little about them today. Midfield never got a grip and carried no threat until Saiz came on. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) December 30, 2017
Birmingham City started out well against Leeds United, as the makeshift midfield got overrun. Birmingham had a number of good chances early in the half, with a few attacks having to be cleared into touch by Jansson and Conor Shaughnessy. Leeds had a moment of panic in the 11th minute as a long throw from Birmingham took a bounce in the Leeds box, but Leeds were able to punt the ball long away.
Birmingham had a number of other decent chances on the attack without a lot of very good chances, but did enough to keep Leeds on the back foot and completely disrupted the Leeds midfield. The partnership of Phillips and Shaughnessy looked poor, as they were unable to retain possession and Birmingham were more than able to control the match from the middle of the pitch.
Pablo Hernandez turned the ball over a number of times in his own half, but going forward the Spaniard provided the only attacking “intent” from the team. He play a pass into Kemar Roofe that was too heavy in the 21st minute and in the 32nd minute, Hernandez’s ball into the box sat well for Kalvin Phillips, but David Stockdale, the Birmingham keeper, got to it with some ease.
That was ridiculous. They've been getting away with fouls and such after the incident antics all day. We've been shit, but this ref has only helped the opposition. https://t.co/VDi4KZwhNI— The Scratching Shed (@TSSLUFC) December 30, 2017
The second half started the same way the first half ended, with Birmingham dominating possession. The Blues were also taking the physical play to Leeds, as the ref was quite generous to the hosts in terms of what did and what did not count as “possession” in terms of going for the ball. A number of times the Leeds players seemed a little surprised to not have a foul called as the Birmingham players knocked them off the ball.
Yellow card: Cooper tries to run a long ball out for a goal kick but Gallagher nicks it and Cooper fouls him. Free-kick wide left. 50th minute.— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) December 30, 2017
Liam Cooper’s afternoon was pretty much summed up by a sequence in the 49th minute, as he tried to see out a ball into touch, only for Birmingham City’s Gallagher to nick the ball from Cooper and start to go past him, forcing Cooper to foul him and got a yellow card for a silly, needless play. Roofe got a yellow in a similar fashion on the other end of the pitch, as he waited for a ball to go out for a corner, only for the ball to bounce off the corner flag. Roofe fouled the Birmingham player that got to the ball before him out of frustration, leading to his yellow.
The best chance for Leeds came in the 74th minute, as Samu Saiz picked out Hernandez in the box, but Hernandez’s shot was deflected over the bar by Stockdale. Felix Wiedwald made a good save in the 77th minute on a shot from Birmingham’s David Davis, but he was unable to do anything other than parry Jota’s shot in the 84th minute, and the ball fell to Birmingham’s Maghoma who put the ball in the back of the net, in what was a deserved goal for Birmingham.
Lasogga came on after the goal, and Leeds tried to grab a result, but Leeds looked unable to score today, and left St Andrews with the loss, the first since the last visit to the West Midlands against Wolverhampton.
Before I send myself loopy, a bit of perspective. We had some of our best players out and we're 5th (just!) going into the new year.— Daryl ⛄ (@Dazelar29) December 30, 2017
Today shows that, if we're honest, we're not a top 2 side. Top 6 is the target and I still think that's what we'll achieve.
...I hope #lufc pic.twitter.com/37QoulaREI
You can’t win them all, but Leeds will feel disappointed to not being able to win away at the bottom team in the table. The Whites face Nottingham Forest on Monday, so no rest in store for a team that sure seemed to need it.