Leeds United traveled to Birmingham City today needing a victory to keep pace with league leaders Norwich City who had pummeled Queens Park Rangers 4-0 at Carrow Road earlier in the day.
Past the 20 minute mark. Not a lot in this so far and you get the feeling that Bielsa's players aren't quite as sure of themselves in 3-3-1-3 as they are in 4-1-4-1. No great chances to speak of yet. 0-0.— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) April 6, 2019
The first half-hour or so was not the best display of football that you’d ever see, with both teams just not seeming to click. Leeds had a couple decent chances, one from Tyler Roberts who really should have passed instead of a bad-angle shot, and then Patrick Bamford hit the post after being clear in front, and honestly it looked harder to not score from the position he was played into.
GOAL! Birmingham 1-0 Leeds United #lufc— West Yorkshire Sport (@WYSdaily) April 6, 2019
And because Leeds are, well, Leeds, less than a minute after Bamford hit the post, Birmingham got a goal from almost nothing. Che Adams was able to get a shot off under a challenge from Liam Cooper and it somehow went into the far corner past Kiko Casilla. A goal against the run of play if there ever was one, as Birmingham had created almost nothing up until that point. The rest of the half saw Leeds still struggling to create anything while Birmingham seemed content to sit on their one goal lead.
HT: Birmingham 1 Leeds 0. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) April 6, 2019
Halftime saw Leeds probably feeling unlucky to be retailing, but football often isn’t exactly fair, so Leeds were going to have to claw back a goal to at least get some kind of result from this match. Stuart Dallas came on for Jack Harrison as well, although a totally unscientific poll of Leeds fans would have indicated that they would have rather seen Kemar Roofe come on for Bamford.
Another Leeds chance— John (@John_MooreMOT) April 6, 2019
Bamford .... pic.twitter.com/AoNJUsqkTy
Bamford missed another great chance in the 54th minute, as he had a ball played to him right in front of goal, but he somehow put the ball over the bar instead of putting it past a helpless Lee Camp. Another moment that you would have expected the big striker to convert.
Bamford had another good chance in the 68th minute, but his header was straight at Camp, and the Birmingham keeper saved it easily. Leeds started to turn up the heat at about the 70th minute, but would Leeds be able to convert any of the pressure into goals? Roofe and Jack Clarke were both brought in to try and liven up the attack, with Bamford and Mateusz Klich making way. Pablo Hernandez went into the middle, although he had been having a rather poor match, especially from dead-ball situations, where he could have made a huge difference for the club.
SAVE: Casilla again after Adams reacts quickly to a Jota free-kick and drives a shot in. Casilla had a very good game. 1-0 on 85 mins. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) April 6, 2019
Kiko Casilla had to be Leeds’ best player in the second, as he had to make a number of vital saves to keep the ball out of the Leeds net as Leeds were caught out on the counter a number of times as the team was pushing forward trying to find an equalizer.
Despite six minutes of stoppage time, Leeds were unable to find an equalizer. Another game on the road that should have resulted in at least a draw, if not a win, even with Leeds sending a number of crosses and long balls into the box searching for the heads of their central defenders, who had piled forward looking to latch onto a long, high ball into the box.
Dropped points for sure, and Leeds continue to make life more difficult for themselves by not getting results where they really, really should. Leeds will now continue to have to rely on other teams in order to get back into the automatic promotion spots with only six games left in the season.