Leeds United traveled to Norwich City today and fell to a 2-1 loss in a match that was plagued by individual errors and by a poor team selection and poor play. If this is what kind of effort Paul Heckingbottom can get out of his players, than serious questions need to be asked about his ability to manage this team.
The first 20 minutes or so of the match featured a few chances that went begging. Samu Saiz was played into space by Pablo Hernandez, but his cross could only find the head of a Norwich defender in what was one of the better chances that Leeds had, while Josh Murphy and Nelson Oliveira both got free in the Leeds box, but their low crosses weren’t able to find anyone.
Norwich sharper on the ball but everything's going on outside both boxes. Fairly apparent that there's nothing riding on this. 0-0 on 26 mins. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) April 28, 2018
The result won’t matter a whole lot for either team, which seemed to creep into the decision making of the players on the pitch, which makes the team selection for Leeds even more maddening, as at least the U23s would have tried to make an impact on the match in an effort to make the first team next season. However, instead we were “treated” to seeing loanees and senior players with little to play for trotted out there to barely care.
Kalvin Phillips scored in the 39th minute after a free-kick pinball around outside the box. Pablo Hernandez’s shot was punched out by the Noriwch keeper Gunn and after Ronaldo Vieira scuffed his shot on the volley, Kalvin Phillips sent the ball past the keeper to give Leeds the lead. It was an exciting moment in an otherwise dull match.
And speaking of exciting moments, Wes Hoolahan scored a goal in his final match at Carrow Road for Norwich City after his shot was deflected off of Pontus Jansson’s foot, hits one post over the outstretched Bailey Peacock-Farrell, and then bounced off the other post and dribbled past the goalline for an improbable goal to draw the match level going into halftime.
The second half started much as the first half did, with a few half-chances traded between the teams that looked like they’d rather be sitting at home.
56' Peacock-Farrell makes a really good save to deny Maddison from just inside the Leeds area 1-1— Leeds United (@LUFC) April 28, 2018
One of the better plays of the second half was a remarkable save by Peacock-Farrell from an absolute pile-driver of a shot from Maddison. If there is one thing that’s been a bright spot this season for Leeds, it’s been the play of young Peacock-Farrell.
Leeds made a few more chances, as did Norwich City, but neither side seemed to really want to take the match by the scruff.
69' Goal Norwich, Murphy scores 2-1— Leeds United (@LUFC) April 28, 2018
Josh Murphy was left totally unmarked in the Leeds box and the defenders picked their noses or contemplated the rotation of the earth or did something that didn’t involve playing, you know, defence, and so Murphy was able to get a chance to wide up and his shot with power and pace made no mistake.
Jay-Roy Grot, Adam Forshaw, and Pierre-Michel Lasogga were brought on after the Norwich goal, but they shockingly made no impact on the match. Again, this would have been a perfect time for someone like Ryan Edmondson or Sam Dalby to come on and try and make an impact, but they weren’t on the bench.
The referee gave five minutes of extra time, but Leeds looked more likely to surrender another goal rather than score an equalizer. Despite the great opener from Phillips, this was a poor performance from a team that looked completely unmotivated and didn’t want to be playing. A number of individual mistakes from Leeds players may resulted in the goals for Norwich, but as a team, this effort was poor and the team failed to play as together.