Leeds United traveled to Stoke City, lost 2-1 and finished with 10 men after a second-half red card. Leeds will be left to rue the missed chances and poor play in the final third, where Stoke will feel lucky to have bundled the first goal across the line and then grabbed their second goal late on when Leeds were down a defender and did a poor job of dealing with the pressure while trying to break forward.
Leeds grabbed a goal back absolutely at the death after getting a goal literally seconds before the final whistle from a corner kick,
The best moment in the first half had to be the minute’s applause in the 6th minute in remembrance of Toby Nye, the 6 year-old who touched the hearts of everyone at the club. Stoke even had a presentation before the match of a Stoke shirt with the number “6” on the back with his name. Cancer has no colours, and despite the usual feeling among fans that football is greater than life or death, it’s moments like these that put everything in perspective.
Leeds had a few moments of quality in the first half, but mostly looked second-best to the final ball. Kemar Roofe had very few opportunities and Jack Clarke had at least two or three Stoke players surrounding him almost every time he touched the ball, not allowing the teenage forward a chance to cut in and abuse the defender that was tasked with covering him, unlike against Derby County where Clarke was allowed to set the fullback covering him on fire.
Leeds had some sustained pressure in the first half a couple different times, but despite winning a few corner kicks and getting some pressure, they were unable to get a goal. Stoke also had a few moments of pressure, but their attacks came up short, and Bailey Peacock-Farrell had a good save on a free kick to deny perhaps their best chance of the half.
The second half did not start any better for Leeds,and despite having a bulk of the possession and getting a majority of the touches on the ball, it was Stoke that scored first after a really, really poor clearance by Mateusz Klich, who had a very tough first half that didn’t really get any better in the second half.
Shot from Adam Forshaw from long range, no power or accuracy on it and it dribbles wide. 1-0 on 74 mins. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) January 19, 2019
Forshaw’s poor shot was a good metaphor for Leeds in the second half, as the team just looked out of sorts and couldn’t connect in the final third at all. Jack Harrison was subbed off for Tyler Roberts after he had a fairly ineffective match. Jordan Stevens also came on and made his senior debut for Leeds, as he was inserted for Klich in the second half as well.
Jansson was given a second yellow card for a “foul” on Benik Afobe, despite the replay showing that he simply fell down in front of Afobe, who didn’t seem to lose any momentum and simply took a really, really poor touch that allowed Peacock-Farrell to come out and get a save. Pablo Hernandez had gone down earlier in the half after being hacked down on the edge of the penalty box, but nothing was given.
Joe Allen scored a second goal in the 88th minute to pretty much seal the deal for a Stoke victory over Leeds. Luke Ayling had tested Jack Butland, the Stoke keeper, from a corner kick a few minutes earlier, but otherwise the Leeds attack was pretty toothless during the entire match, and despite the pressure, Stoke was able to deny the final ball and forced Leeds into long-range speculative shots to try and get back into the match.
Leeds finally got on the board in the final minute, but it was too little far too late with the club unable to pull off another miracle result in the dying embers of a match.
Leeds will be disappointed to drop three points on their travels, but the Championship is a slog and Leeds are still on top of the league even with the loss. A point would have been good enough for Leeds, but that wasn’t in the cards.