Leeds United faced the team directly on top of them in the table this afternoon, as both Leeds and Brentford needed a win if either team would have any chance to sneak into the playoffs. Leeds opened up the day eight points behind Bristol City for a playoff spot, but after a well fought win, ended the day five points behind Middlesbrough for the final spot. Leeds were often wasteful in the box, and probably should have conceded a goal in the first half when Felix Wiedwald make a reflex save to stop a well struck shot, but in the end, Leeds left with all three points and their first win since Boxing Day.
CHANCE: Top save from Wiedwald to tip Egan's volley over the bar after Jansson headed Woods' free-kick out. That was heading for the top corner. 0-0 on 13 mins. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) February 24, 2018
Leeds got an early corner that came to naught early in the match, but otherwise the match was pretty much all Brentford in the first 10 minutes or so. Felix Wiedwald did well to save a shot from Brentford’s Egan that looked certain to go into the back of the net. Brentford got another early chance that Florian Jozefzoon sent over the bar after almost getting past Vurnon Anita in a well-timed run to break free of the offsides trap.
Brentford continued to boss the match in the early stages, which resulted in a few more corners and chances for the Bees. Leeds dealt with the pressure well, but turned the match on it’s head from a free kick that Stuart Dallas won after taking the ball about the halfway line and charging towards the left touchline. Gjanni Alioski took the free kick well and Liam Cooper was able to head the ball into the net.
The goal seemed to lift the spirits of the Leeds players, as they got a lot more of the ball and showed more attacking intent after the goal as Brentford pushed forward in order to attempt to equalize, but didn’t really challenge the goal and the half ended with Leeds leading 1-0 for once.
The second half started much as the first half started, with Brentford trying to equalize, but Leeds had a bit more of the ball. Alioski was caught offsides a couple times to stop some decent attacking moves for Leeds, with Saiz starting to imprint himself on the match a little bit more.
Big penalty call as Alioski goes down under Barbet challenge. Not given. Leeds have a corner.— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) February 24, 2018
Alioski went down in a heap in the Brentford penalty box, but the diving would have been more believable if he hadn’t been going down in a heap all match. More attacking followed from Leeds, including a good chance for Lasogga, after the big German had gotten around Bentley, the Bees keeper, but his shot seemed weak and was easily cleared off the line by a defender.
Kalvin Phillips got a chance to shoot in the 66th minute, but his shot was easily saved as Leeds continued to do all the hard work but was just unable to get a decent shot at goal. Brentford threw on more attacking changes right before the 70 minute mark. Saiz was fouled after putting the ball through to Lasogga, but the ref failed to give advantage and blew the play dead.
Corner causes a massive scramble on the edge of the box with Alioski in the thick of it but Brentford get it away eventually. 1-0 on 78 mins. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) February 24, 2018
That was to be the last touch of the match for Lasogga, as he was subbed off for Caleb Ekuban. Ekuban immediately started to put pressure on Brentford, as all of the offensive changes that Brentford made seemed to leave them unable to retain possession and Leeds started to pile pressure on the Brentford goal. A corner resulted in a decent chance, but after a mad scramble, Brentford cleared the ball.
Yellow card: Barbet with the most tired pull you'll ever see on Saiz. Let him turn on halfway. 80th minute. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) February 24, 2018
The resulting free kick came to naught, and Leeds continued to be let down by the final ball as the team seemed just unable to find another shot to test Bentley. Dallas was subbed off in the 83rd minute for Hadi Sacko, as Heckingbottom once again went with a player with more pace to put more pressure on the tired Brentford defenders.
Depsite some nervy moments at the end of the match, Leeds were able to hold on for a win for the first time since Boxing Day. Liam Cooper’s header sealed all three points for Leeds and Heckingbottom was able to walk out of Elland Road with a win for the first time.