Charlton v Leeds United: YEP Jury give their verdicts

Alex Mowatt, jumps up alongside Charlton Athletic's Jordan Cousins.
Alex Mowatt, jumps up alongside Charlton Athletic's Jordan Cousins.
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Our YEP Jury have their say on a weekend of turmoil for Leeds United and the 2-1 defeat at Charlton Athletic.

STEPHEN CLARK

Sky TV used to have a Sunday evening drama serial called Dream Team, based on a fictional Premier League side Harchester United which, although very enjoyable, was seen as escapist nonsense because of its ridiculous storylines about Machiavellians in the boardroom and shenanigans in the dressing room.

However real life is proving to be stranger than fiction at Elland Road, as Friday evening saw the latest plot twist in the Leeds United soap opera.

The ‘Sicknote Six’ of Silvestri, Antenucci, Bellusci, Doukara, Cani and Del Fabro should never be allowed through the gates of Thorp Arch again. For all six of Massimo Cellino’s signings to fall foul of injury just 24 hours before a fixture is either a huge stroke of ill fortune or another deliberate act of sabotage to further undermine manager Neil Redfearn.

There can have been no sadder sight in football this weekend than the picture of the lone figure of Redfearn setting out the cones on the pitch at the Valley for his charges to undertake their warm up. Usually a job for one of the coaching staff, it is a stark reminder of the lack of support that Redders is receiving.

The head coach had spoken of his desire to be able to play 4-4-2 and with his squad reduced to the bare bones, he had the opportunity to play such a system with Billy Sharp and Steve Morison partnered as a front two. For 75 minutes the system seemed to work perfectly with Leeds in charge against a Charlton side who were already thinking of the summer holidays.

Sharp’s missed penalty was another example of Leeds shooting themselves in the foot, but Morison’s superb volley just before the break ended his goalscoring drought and sent the travelling hordes wild. His goal epitomised the difference between those who are willing to work hard for the team, and those who decided that they needed the weekend to rest aching muscles.

Unfortunately the team lost their way in the closing stages and two late goals handed Charlton all three points and sent United spiralling to a fifth successive defeat, all suffered since the suspension of assistant coach Steve Thompson for under performance.

That decision seemed to have firmly swung the tide of opinion against our Italian owner, and the events of this weekend saw his name sung in less than complimentary fashion. We appear to be reaching an end game in the Cellino era, and one can only hope that his return next month is purely to sanction the sale of the club to someone who puts the side before self. That is a Leeds United ethos that Massimo has been unable to grasp.

KEITH INGHAM

Leeds United slumped to their fifth defeat after Charlton beat them 2-1 at The Valley, the match might be forgotten but the lead up to the fixture will not.

Six of the Italian contingent, Silvestri, Del Fabro, Bellusci, Antenucci, Doukara and Cani claimed they had injuries on Friday after training and could not travel. This not surprisingly angered a lot of fans and even photographs of one of them (Silvestri) showing his injury didn’t appease the supporters. It does seem strange that they all picked up injuries at the same time. The official line confirmed their absence but many people, myself included considered this an insult to Neil Redfearn and the thousands of supporters travelling down to London.

Leeds started well and Sam Byram was tripped in the area but Billy Sharp’s penalty was saved by Henderson. It was no surprise when they took the lead, Steve Morison volleying a splendid effort past Henderson.

Charlton were level on 75 minutes, Watts getting behind Wootton to fire past Taylor, worse was to follow five minutes later when Taylor fouled Vetokele and unlike Sharp, Buyens made no mistake from the penalty spot.

It’s a shame that certain players show such contempt for their club and fans and this season can’t end soon enough for most of the long suffering fans of this once mighty club.

Man of the match: Steve Morison.

MATTHEW EVANS

Leeds United summed up a season when they turned up at The Valley with half a squad and half a management team playing in front of the best travelling fans in the league.

The game that followed included a promising start, a missed penalty and a goal from Steve Morison which was inevitably overturned in a stagnant second half when most of the players joined their colleagues on strike.

It’s another infuriating period to be a fan. The players and manager have the promise and potential to be a real success story with even the smallest number of additions. But that vision doesn’t seem to be shared everywhere and, of course, our best player was one who looks certain to leave in the coming months.

Man of the match: Rodolph Austin.

GARY NEWBOULD

The Whites (or those who could be bothered to play) slipped to a fifth consecutive defeat at the Valley. Steve Morison scored his first goal in 22 months but late lapses condemned United to defeat. One can only hope that the next change is one of ownership.

Man of the match: Rodolph Austin.

JAMES HARRISON

It was so disappointing to lose the game on Saturday, especially after being a goal up with less than 20 minutes to play.

Steve Morison’s goal was outstanding.

It was a great ball in from the corner and to strike it so sweetly on the volley was a brilliant piece of individual skill.

The goals we conceded were very soft though.

Tony Watt took his goal extremely well but he was allowed too much space in the box. Stuart Taylor should have done better for the second goal. With it being his first league appearance of the season, he was always going to be rusty so we can’t put too much blame on him.

Man of the match: Sam Byram.

JONATHAN FORD

Not a week goes by when something silly doesn’t happen at the club at the moment, but pride for the lads on the pitch, where for the first 70 minutes we were in control. The last 20 minutes epitomised the recent weeks. I’m happy for Steve Morison!

Man of the match: Steve Morison.

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