FULL TIME: Brentford 2 Leeds United 0: Whites' automatic promotion prospects left dangling by a thread

LEEDS UNITED'S automatic promotion hopes were dealt another huge hammer blow as a 2-0 defeat at Brentford left the Whites third and three points behind second-placed Sheffield United with just two games to play.

By Lee Sobot
Monday, 22nd April 2019, 9:24 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd April 2019, 9:29 pm
INQUEST: As Leeds United fall 1-0 down at Brentford.
INQUEST: As Leeds United fall 1-0 down at Brentford.

Three days after Good Friday's crushing 2-1 loss at home to Wigan Athletic which left United's automatic promotion destiny out of their own hands, goals from Neal Maupay and Sergi Canos left Leeds facing the possibility of their top two hopes being over even before kicking off this weekend's penultimate fixture at home to Aston Villa.

A 3-0 win for Sheffield United at Monday's hosts Hull City has left the Blades with the opportunity to pull six points clear of Leeds with a far superior goal difference if winning Saturday's clash at home to already relegated Ipswich Town.

The Blades' goal difference is now 11 goals better than Leeds' and the Whites are also six points behind leaders Norwich City whose goal difference is also ten goals' better than United's.

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After squandering more glorious chances and seeing claims for a cast iron penalty ignored, Leeds conceded in the final minute of the first half when Neal Maupay raced on to a through ball past a sleeping defence before slamming past Kiko Casilla.

Leeds again started the second half brightly but after failing to make any breakthrough, Canos finished a lovely move two minutes after the hour.

Leeds squandered a decent chance in the second minute when Luke Ayling cut in from the right and squared to Patrick Bamford who could only blast wide.

Three minutes later, returning captain Liam Cooper's strong tackle sent Tyler Roberts through on goal but a heavy touch allowed Bees 'keeper Luke Daniels to race out and claim the ball.

United then lost Gjanni Alioski to injury in the 12th minute with Stuart Dallas brought on and Brentford then squandered a decent chance one minute later when Canos could only blast over the bar following hesitant defending.

But Brentford then survived when referee Keith Stroud waved away United's seemingly cast-iron claims for a penalty when Bamford was sent tumbling in the area by Julian Jeanvier.

Leeds were well on top and the recalled Adam Forshaw's deflected effort from a cleared corner fizzed just wide though the Whites were also indebted to a fine challenge on Pontus Jansson to block an effort from Neal Maupay who had been played in by Ollie Watkins.

Brentford's Rico Henry then wasted a fine chance as his shot from inside the area was deflected narrowly over following fine work from Canos down the left flank.

Canos was only denied by a brilliant one-handed save from Kiko Casilla to keep his arrowed shot out of the top left corner six minutes before the break.

But it was Canos who then struck to set up Brentford's opening goal as his through ball caught United's defence sleeping and provided Maupay with a one on one which the striker clinically finished by smashing the ball past Casilla.

Even then, Leeds squandered a golden chance barely 60 seconds later when Roberts was played in down the right but fired his effort the wrong side of the left-hand post.

Leeds began the second half brightly with Forshaw, Hernandez and Bamford all firing over before Bamford narrowly failed to connect to a cutback from Roberts.

But Brentford were in no mood to be so wasteful and the Bees doubled their lead two minutes after the hour when a lovely move involving Watkins and Maupay ended with Canos producing a lovely chipped finish over Casilla.

Leeds were then inches away from conceding a third just four minutes later when Maupay's overhead kick flied narrowly over.

After Mateusz Klich saw an effort saved, Canos was then guilty of trying to almost walk the ball in from a flowing counter which allowed Casilla to stop him short.

Leeds then huffed and puffed but failed to make any breakthrough leaving the club staring at the prospect of the play-offs bar some very unlikely results over the last two weekends.

Leeds United: Casilla, Alioski (Dallas 12), Cooper, Jansson (Clarke 64), Ayling, Forshaw, Klich, Roberts, Harrison, Hernandez, Bamford (Roofe 58). Subs not used: Peacock-Farrell, Phillips, Berardi, Shackleton.

Brentford: Daniels, Odubajo, Henry, Canos (Marcondes 83), Maupay, Watkins (Dasilva 87), Mokotjo, Sawyers, Jeanvier, Konsa, Bech Sorensen. Subs not used: Gunnarsson, Ogbene, Racic, Forss, Oksanen.

Referee: Keith Stroud.