Leeds United 0 Fulham 1: YEP Jury give their verdicts

Adryan in action against Fulham.
Adryan in action against Fulham.
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Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s 1-0 home defeat to Fulham.

GARY NEWBOULD

United slipped to a disappointing defeat on Saturday afternoon against a poor Fulham side at a very cold Elland Road.

Due to Guiseppe Bellusci not recovering from injury, manager Neil Redfearn was forced to name an unchanged side from the defeat at Ipswich with Rudy Austin also a late withdrawal from the bench as the result of a recurrence of an ankle injury that failed to survive the pre-match warm up.

Meanwhile, Fulham arrived at Elland Road fresh from a 5-0 home defeat and included former White and last season’s player of the year, Ross McCormack amongst their ranks.

The two sides had conceded an appalling 69 goals between them in a combined total of 40 matches, so plenty of goals were anticipated and it was the Whites who came out of the traps quickest and produced some fine flowing football in the early exchanges with Lewis Cook, Alex Mowatt and Adryan looking particularly dangerous with Sam Byram only marginally wide of the pyjama-clad Gabor Kiraly’s goal with the opening chance of the match.

On the half-hour mark, United almost took the lead when a Mowatt header crashed against the bar and rebounded against Fulham’s Hungarian keeper before bouncing away harmlessly for a corner. The visitors only began to show some attacking intent after this point; however half-time arrived with the game remaining goal-less.

Fulham came out looking the more dangerous in the opening stages of the second period and the deadlock was broken on the hour-mark. As so often this season, United were once again architects of their own downfall as slack marking from a throw-in allowed Lasse Chistensen to centre for Hugo Rodallega to score.

Neil Redfearn reacted to the goal by introducing Billy Sharp for the largely ineffective Soulameyne Doukara and the former Doncaster man looked lively and keen to make an immediate impact and ran the channels well. The Whites should have levelled on 76 minutes when Adryan failed to connect with a header with Kiraly looking a beaten man. That was as near as it got for the home side with the late introductions of Dawson and Berardi, the latter replacing Stephen Warnock who looked to have strained his hamstring, not bringing the equaliser that United certainly deserved.

Therefore the loyal hordes who numbered in excess of 27,000 (a truly remarkable figure for this time of the year) were left to reflect on another wasted opportunity to register three points and advance towards mid-table safety. Two wins in 13 games and only two clean sheets in that period tell their own story as United now languish in nineteenth place and a mere five points above the relegation places. The Whites simply cannot afford yet another disappointing Christmas period if they are to avoid a full-scale relegation battle.

Man of the match: Lewis Cook.

KEITH INGHAM

Leeds United’s recent annual flirt with relegation looks on the cards again as Fulham won 1-0 at Elland Road, Ross McCormack silencing the boo boys with a measured performance.

People have very short memories!

Leeds started well with Sam Byram linking up well with the midfield at every opportunity. The first meaningful chance fell to Byram whose effort just went past a post. Alex Mowatt was agonisingly close to giving Leeds the lead but his header came back off the bar and hit the keeper on the head and out to safety.

McCormack nearly gave the visitors the lead but Liam Cooper denied him and Byram tried his luck when set up by Adyran but the keeper saved easily, 0-0 at the break.

The winner eventually came when the ball was pulled back to Hugo Rodallega who scored easily. Billy Sharp replaced a once-again subdued Souleymane Doukara and he produced a cross that Adyran should have equalised from – but his weak header went wide.

This was the first home defeat since we lost to Wolves at the end of October and many of the 27,000 went home very disappointed at another poor second-half performance by Leeds.

Simply not good enough boys!

Man of the match: Sam Byram, first half. Billy Sharp an effective substitute in the second.

MATTHEW EVANS

An inability to create chances and the added problem of not putting the few we did get into the back of the net was what did for Leeds at home to Fulham.

Fulham looked a good side and, as against Derby, United needed to be at the top of their game. That proved not to be the case on Saturday with too many players falling just short of what was required.

We shouldn’t get too despondent, this has been as hard a three-match run as you are likely to get in the Championship.

However, Neil Redfearn needs to consider changes at Forest next week to solve our lack of cutting edge.

Man of the match: Alex Mowatt.

JAMES HARRISON

Saturday was really disappointing. We’ve lacked the cutting edge that we have had at home recently and never really looked like scoring. Adryan should have scored with the header from Billy Sharp’s cross. If he had, we’d have gone on and won.

Man of the match: Billy Sharp.

STEPHEN CLARK

Those Leeds fans who enjoyed a Christmas drink last night will wake up this morning wondering how the Whites contrived to lose against Fulham and with serious worries over the club’s ability to stay up.

Leeds dominated the match in the opening stages without ever really threatening apart from Alex Mowatt’s header against the crossbar. However when Hugo Rodallega put Fulham ahead, Leeds fell apart. Difficult fixtures lay ahead and despite the football being nice to watch, there is a worrying lack of grit in the middle.

Unfortunately, there is no one other than Rudy Austin in the squad who is capable of fulfilling that role.

Man of the match: Alex Mowatt.

JONATHAN FORD

Well that was a game to forget, so much has changed since Derby at home and two bad results since have put us in a difficult position, with inconsistency costing us. Fulham are an average side, and we have gifted them three points through a lack of desire.

Man of the match: Mirco Antenucci.

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