The YEP jury provide their verdict on Leeds United’s clash with Wolves.
Leeds United’s frustrating season was encapsulated on Saturday afternoon in the 2-2 draw in the Black Country against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The Whites started brightly, settling into a pattern of mediocrity before raising everyone’s hopes with a sparkling few minutes only to revert to type and produce some schoolboy defending to throw away the win and remain stranded in mid-table.
Neil Warnock once again tinkered with the side, making four changes. Stephen Warnock came in at left-back for the unfortunate Aidy White. The midfield was completely revamped, with Paul Green and David Norris providing the legs for Michael Brown.
Up front Steve Morison lined up alongside Ross McCormack.
Leeds started on the front foot, forcing a succession of corners and throw-ins deep in their opponents’ territory but as is their wont this season lacked the cutting edge to apply a killer blow.
Despite Dean Saunders’s side looking bereft of any confidence or ideas, so much so that they were struggling to even take goal kicks, Leeds too often allowed Wolves an easy get-out.
Leeds looked more likely to score with Morison looking impressive yet it was the home side who opened the scoring in the 57th minute. Once again Leeds allowed Wolves to get out of a situation they looked to have under control and Stephen Ward’s cross was diverted into the roof of his own net by Lee Peltier.
This sparked Leeds into life and they were level seven minutes later. McCormack showed admirable poise to get the ball under control and feed Luke Varney who astounded the travelling support by producing a superb curling effort from 15 yards for the equaliser, setting off more ironic choruses of “Varney Army”.
Leeds were very much on the front foot now and went ahead when Sam Byram was hauled down in the box by Tongo Doumbia. McCormack casually tucked the spot kick away and Leeds looked like picking up a precious three points on the road.
However as usual the Whites shot themselves in the foot when referee Roger East awarded Wolves a free-kick for an innocuous challenge deep in injury time. Leeds seemed to have seen out the danger until Paddy Kenny somehow managed to touch the ball behind for a corner whilst trying to shepherd it out. Although Leeds defended the first corner by conceding another, they allowed Danny Batth a free header to equalise.
The crazy nature of the Championship saw Leeds drop from eighth to 13th, but defeats in United’s next two games at Middlesbrough and Manchester City will surely see the season over.
Leeds were hoping to get three points at another ground that has not been a happy hunting ground. It’s back in the 1980s since we’ve recorded a win there.
Neil Warnock gave Stephen Warnock and Steve Morison their debuts at Wolves, Norris and Green coming in to replace Austin and very surprisingly Ross Barkley. El-Hadji Diouf was rested. I still wonder why nearly ever game Warnock has to make changes, Aidy White must be considered very unlucky to lose his starting place.
Leeds had the best in terms of possession in the first half with Morison and McCormack going close for Leeds.
At the other end Kenny saved well from Sako. 0-0 at the break.
The second half was much better fare and Wolves took the lead on 57 with an own goal from Lee Peltier, who diverted a cross into his own net. Leeds struck back when on 64 minutes Luke Varney sweetly finished to put the visitors level. Better was to follow when Sako was adjudged to have pulled back Byram and Ross McCormack coolly sent the keeper the wrong way to make it 2-1.
With time running out inexplicably Paddy Kenny touched the ball on its way out for a goal kick, a stupid mistake that cost Leeds as from the half-cleared corner, the ball was returned into the six-yard box for Batth to score.
Man of the match: Ross McCormack, definitely not Paddy Kenny!
A point at Wolves would not normally be a bad result but when you are winning until injury time it is a disappointment. Neil Warnock’s changes made a good impression and gave us fresh impetus. We’re still not entirely out of the play-off race.
Man of the match: Tom Lees.
United suffered injury-time heartache as Wolves denied the Whites a rare away victory.
The visitors started the better for the first 10 minutes before the home side had a period of pressure. However, half-time arrived with little in the way of quality on display.
Ten minutes after the interval poor marking led to Wolves taking the lead.
However, ten minutes later Luke Varney finished well to level the match. Twelve minutes from time Byram was fouled in the area and McCormack looked like he had won it for the Whites only for late drama that ensured a share of the spoils.
Man of the match: David Norris.
FOR the second week in a row it feels like Leeds have been hit by a sucker punch following a late Wolves equaliser.
Overall another frustrating away game for the club and maybe it’s time for a change in keeper as we should have left with all three points. Time to change this form at Middlesbrough.
The venue and tradition of the two clubs are worthy of Premier League football. Unfortunately those wearing the respective shirts aren’t.
A nondescript first half made way for a more dramatic second as Wolves led before an excellent finish from Varney and yet another successful spot kick looked to have secured three rare away points.
However, United’s inability to extend leads by more than a single goal was exposed when an injury-time header from a needlessly-contested corner meant only a single point has been taken on the road since victory at Huddersfield. The final relegation berth and seventh place are now separated by just 11 points in this most congested of divisions.