LEEDS UNITED’s failure to defend properly at corners again proved the club’s undoing in Saturday’s 3-1 loss at Championship hosts Nottingham Forest.
Forest took a 16th-minute lead after Leeds yet again failed to clear their lines, allowing Pajtim Kasami to fire the ball home into the top left corner.
United improved offensively after the break with Hadi Sacko blazing a fine chance over but United’s Achilles heel again proved their undoing when Damien Perquis flew through the air from another corner to head home and double Forest’s lead with 19 minutes left.
Kalvin Phillips then smashed home a sensational free-kick to give Leeds hope with seven minutes remaining but Forest finally killed the game off in the fifth minute of injury time through a clever finish from Oliver Burke from an acute angle.
Leeds began brightly with Pablo Hernandez threatening down the left wing and firing the game’s first shot wide after six minutes.
But Forest went close to taking the lead seven minutes later when a fine raking pass from Pajtim Kasami led to a corner from which Oliver Burke’s glancing header produced a decent low save from Rob Green.
United hit straight back with a corner of their own which wizzed across goal but it was a similar story at the other end two minutes as Forest took a 16th-minute lead.
Henri Lansbury’s left flank deliver was flicked on by danger man Oliver Burke and United yet again failed to clear their lines, allowing Kasami to stick out a leg and produce a deadly finish into the top left corner.
Leeds attempted to rally and Hadi Sacko’s right wing delivery forced ‘keeper Stephen Henderson into a juggling act before eventually collecting.
But Forest continued to offer by far the greater attacking threat with left winger Ben Osborn comfortably on top of his battle with Luke Ayling.
The best Leeds could offer was a 33rd-minute pea roller from Liam Bridcutt that sailed well wide.
Ronaldo Vieira was then booked for taking down Henri Lansbury on the edge of the area but Kasami’s free-kick was straight at Green.
Taylor was then in the right place at the right time to block a dangerous Kasami effort soon after.
At the other end, Forest continued to look equally shaky at defending corners but Hernandez’s 40th-minute delivery ended with Charlie Taylor smashing an ambitious volley well wide from 20 yards.
As the half time interval approached,
Hernandez then produced a fine pass to pick out Hadi Sacko in the area but the wide man was unable to capitalise and the ball was cleared.
But United then went their closest yet to scoring in first half stoppage time when Marcus Antonsson’s low effort was desperately scrambled away by Stephen Henderson.
Whites head coach Garry Monk made no changes during the break, and the restart began with another decent pass from Hernandez setting up a half chance for Chris Wood who blazed over from 20 yards.
Seven minutes later, good play from Lansbury presented a headed opportunity for Kasami but his effort lacked power and allowed Green to save.
But United then began to offer more of a threat and just shy of the hour mark, a Taylor cross caused problems before Sacko’s foul ended a threatening move.
Forest, though, went very close to doubling their lead just after the hour when United failed to clear a long throw and Osborn scrambled the ball narrowly wide.
Vieria was then very lucky to avoid a second yellow card for a rash challenge and Liam Bridcutt was booked for a similar offence soon after.
But United then squandered a fine chance after 67 minutes when Sacko showed great pace to break inside but then smashed a powerful effort over the bar.
Taylor then fizzed wide from a tight angle as Leeds continued to press but United’s main Achilles heel again proved their undoing when they conceded from yet another corner with 19 minutes remaining.
Lansbury was responsible for the right-sided delivery from which terrible marking allowed Perquis to fly through the air and head home from just four yards out.
The goal seemed to signal game over but after Antonsson had headed a half chance wide, United pulled a goal back in stunning fashion through substitute Phillips with seven minutes left.
There appeared little danger as United won a free-kick at least 25 yards out and wide on the left hand side but Phillips blasted the ball home with stunning power to the right hand side of Henderson’s net.
Forest began to panic and Liam Cooper almost leveled when heading wide from an 85th-minute corner as United aimed to salvage a draw.
A lovely move instigated by another substitute, Kemar Roofe, then led to Antonsson forcing a fine save from Henderson in the first minute of injury time.
As part of a frantic finish, Matty Cash then squandered a brilliant chance to bag Forest’s third when blazing over the bar from a counter attack and the miss almost proved costly as a 20-yard volley from Phillips dipped narrowly over.
But Forest ultimately killed the contest off in the fifth minute of injury time when Burke raced into the United area down the byline and cleverly squirmed home a clever finish across goal from a tight angle.
There was still time for United to squander another great chance when Roofe smashed the ball over from close range but the damage was done, as a third league loss from five games left United fourth bottom of the Championship going into the international break.
Leeds United: Green, Ayling, Cooper, Bartley, Taylor, Bridcutt, Vieira (Phillips 66), Hernandez (Mowatt 81), Sacko (Roofe 71), Antonsson, Wood. Subs not used: Silvestri, Coyle, Jansson, Doukara.
Nottingham Forest: Henderson, Pereira, Mancienne, Perquis (Mills 77), Lichaj, Cohen, Burke, Lansbury, Kasami, Osborn, Vellios (Cash 83). Subs not used: Smith, Traore, Veldwijk, Ward, Vaughan.
Referee: G Eltringham.
Attendance: 20,995 (1,925 Leeds).