And while Leeds went down 2-0 to Villa after about 17 minutes, Leeds would somehow battle back in the second half and get an unlikely 3-2 win away at Villa Park.
We’re Leeds United, we’re top of the league.
| Update: Barry Douglas confirmed to be missing today’s game due to a sickness bug pic.twitter.com/qlD3dEgIWa— Leeds United (@LUFC) December 23, 2018
Leeds had an awful start to the match. First, Barry Douglas was injured during the warm-up, meaning that Leif Davis got his first start for Leeds. Not the way you’d like to see a player get a start in the league, especially away from home in a fairly high-profile match. Second, Leeds gave up two goals almost right off the bat, digging themselves in a rather large hole despite playing actually pretty well.
Aston Villa scored the first goal of the game in the fifth minute, as Tammy Abraham made no mistake after getting the ball from a good pass from Conor Hourihane went to McGinn who found Abraham.
Despite being down a goal, Leeds continued to create chances, coming close on a couple different occasions, Kemar Roofe had a good chance that ended up with the ball just lying on the grass in front of the goal, but no Leeds player was close enough to get to the ball.
Harrison gave the ball away, Kodjia skipped into space and laid the ball off to Hourihane who had time to find the net from the edge of the box. Shocking start and seriously need to get a grip of this quickly. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) December 23, 2018
And because when it rains, it pours for Leeds, Villa made it two in the 18th minute after a shockingly bad giveaway from Jack Harrison gave Kodjia time and space to run at the Leeds goal and pick out Hourihane who calmly slotted the ball home past a helpless Bailey Peacock-Farrell.
Leeds did not allow themselves to get down, however, as the team continued to probably be the better of the two teams. Pontus Jansson had a good shout for a penalty as his shirt was pulled while he was going for a header by Alan Hutton. Hernandez went extremely close from free kick that absolutely looked as if it was in on the TV broadcast. Hutton once again had a decent penalty shout against him, as he barged into the back of Roofe in the penalty box, but since Leeds got a penalty this season, there won’t be another called in Leeds’ favour until next August at the earliest. Mateusz Klich had a clear shot on goal, but he didn’t get any power on the shot and it was easily saved by the Villa keeper Orjan Nyland.
Annoying... playing pretty well, getting behind them, and working the ball into good positions, but not quite sharp or decisive enough to make it count. Not a 0-2 game. #lufc— EastStandUpper (@EastStandUpper) December 23, 2018
So Leeds went into half-time the better of the two teams, but still down 2-0. Leeds had looked the better team, but Villa had made the most of their chances and put some good pressure on Leeds.
Jack Clarke came on for Harrison at half-time, and that would end up making a world of difference. Clarke had made his presence known almost right away, getting the ball in a good position and putting some pressure on Villa’s backline with his pace.
After getting some room on the left hand side of the defence, running at Ahmed Elmohamady, Clarke then skipped through the Villa box and unleashed a good shot that went sailing past Nyland and into the net. Villa had been carved up by a teenager who had just came off the bench about 10 minutes before.
And then about five minutes later, just past the hour mark, Leeds would draw level from a corner kick as Jansson would get his head to the ball and smash it into the back of the net. Leeds had somehow found their way back into the game and, if anything, looked far more likely to get another goal to win the match.
Glenn Whelan somehow avoided getting a penalty despite a blatant hand-ball in the box that absolutely should have been called. Somehow, the referee missed another penalty for Leeds. It’s almost as if Leeds got their penalty for the season, and no more will be given.
Leeds sub: Leif Davis off, Jamie Shackleton on. 78 mins. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) December 23, 2018
Leif Davis, who had to be drafted into the starting XI at the last possible minute, came off in the 78th minute for Jamie Shackleton, who had dropped to the bench with the return of Luke Ayling at right back.
Leeds and Villa would trade chances in a rather nervy final ten minutes plus five minutes of stoppage time as both teams looked for a winner.
And Leeds would find the winner as Roofe scored in the fifth minute of stoppage time after a bad clearance from Villa fell right to Roofe who drilled the ball into the far corner of the net with his left foot. What a goal. What result.