Leeds United came into the match third on goal difference with Sheffield United’s win over Nottingham Forest in one of the early Good Friday matches while Wigan Athletic needed at least a point to try and pull themselves out of the relegation places with Millwall and Reading FC both getting a point, leaving Wigan and Rotherham United both needing points to keep pace.
And while Wigan went down to 10 men early on after a red-card for a handball on the line, they played themselves back into the match, scoring an unlikely equalizer in the first half and then a second goal in the second-half to take the lead. Leeds tried to come back and grab another goal, but it wasn’t in the cards and now the road to automatic promotion got just a bit tougher, although still within reach.
Leeds won a penalty after Bamford had a shot cleared off of the line by the arm of Cédric Kipré, with the Wigan defender earning himself a straight red card in the process. Pablo Hernandez stepped up to take the penalty and after what seemed like an hour, the referee whistled for the penalty to be taken and it was promptly saved by Wigan keeper Christian Walton.
The anger and annoyance at the missed penalty was short-lived, as Bamford took a brilliant shot that went in past Walton and sent Elland Road into rapture. A good strike on goal that gave Leeds the lead in the 18th minute.
And because nothing is ever easy when Leeds are involved, the team immediately started to play poorly. Despite the man advantage, it was all too often for Wigan to get forward. Gaetano Berardi and Kiko Casilla had a moment of madness that almost resulted in a goal when Berardi’s back-pass into space was almost latched onto by Leon Clarke, but his attempt at a chip went far wide.
Wigan play through the middle and a pass out to Massey on the right wing finds Alioski missing in action. Massey advances on Casilla and drills a finish inside his near post. No-one here saw that coming. Silence. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) April 19, 2019
Gavin Massey of Wigan made Leeds pay in the 44th minute, as Wigan got an equalizer. A well-deserved goal for 10-man Wigan as they had looked the better side for some time. Don’t know if it was nerves or if it was poor play, but Leeds had failed to put away Wigan and suddenly, instead of looking at goal difference, fans were just hoping for a win.
Leeds subs: Roofe on for Roberts, Forshaw on for Phillips. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) April 19, 2019
Marcelo Bielsa made two changes at half-time, with Tyler Roberts and Kalvin Phillips coming off for Kemar Roofe and Adam Forshaw in an attempt to freshen up the side, as Leeds had looked poor and in need of someone to take the game by the scruff of the neck.
Confidence has drained from Leeds and Clarke's knockdown from a high cross lets Massey head in his second of the game from close range. So simple. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) April 19, 2019
Unfortunately, Massey from Wigan is the player that took the game by the scruff of the neck, as his second goal in the 62nd minute to give Wigan an unlikely lead. The pressure seemed to be boiling over and threatening to undo all of the good work that Leeds had done this season.
Jack Clarke was brought on in the 70th minute to try and rescue Leeds, and Klich came off and Hernandez moved to a central role as Leeds tried to find a way to at least get a point out of the match.
Leeds heaped pressure on Wigan in the last 20 minutes, with little success as almost all of the shots were from outside of the area and looked as if they would never get past the keeper, despite the number of corners and crosses, as the ball just never seemed to get past Walton.
Despite five minutes of stoppage time, Leeds were unable to win an equalizer, as Leeds found a rather unique time to figure out a way to lose a game in which they opened the scoring for the first time all season. The good thing is that Leeds are still level on points with Sheffield United in the quest for automatic promotion, even if they are behind on goal difference. It was never going to be easy, was it?