Our YEP Jury give their verdicts on Leeds United’s 2-1 home defeat by Charlton.
Steve Evans’ job prospects at Leeds were dealt a blow when relegated Charlton Athletic dealt most people’s accumulators a blow with a surprising 2-1 victory at Elland Road. They were though worthy of the victory as Leeds looked to be ‘on the beach already’. A poor end to a uninspiring season.
Evans brought in Lewie Coyle for the injured Gaetano Berardi, Luke Murphy and Jordan Botaka replaced Toumani Diagouraga and Lee Erwin, who dropped to the substitutes’ bench.
Leeds had their first opportunity but Nick Pope blocked Murphy’s effort after Chris Wood set him free, at the other end Ademola Lookman curled a free-kick wide as both teams tried to assert themselves. Stuart Dallas had two opportunities, the later effort tipped over the bar by the Charlton keeper. Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s fine effort struck the frame of the goal before he opened the scoring just before the break when he met Morgan Fox’s cross.
It wasn’t the best first half I’ve seen this season but not the worst. Lookman doubled the visitors lead within minutes of the restart, making the most of hesitancy in the Leeds defence, Wood’s effort beat Fox but not the bar as Leeds tried to level matters. With under 20 minutes left a sustained spell of pressure was rewarded when Sol Bamba met Charlie Taylor’s cross to lift spirits around the ground, Mirco Antenucci who had just replaced Liam Bridcutt so nearly levelled matters but Pope again thwarted Leeds.
With time nearly up Mirco Antenucci set up Wood but man of the match Pope again denied the striker.
Not the best way to say goodbye to the faithful, but it did sum up this uninspiring season, promising much but delivering very little.
Man of the match: Nick Pope (Charlton keeper).
Every one of the YEP Jury forecast a Leeds win against Charlton… so we should have guessed that we would lose! It was the archetypal Leeds United performance against a side we ought to beat in front of a decent crowd at Elland Road; as so often, we blew it.
Why did we lose it? Because we are only an average side with some good young kids and when every player is not absolutely on their game we are just not strong enough. When everyone is on it then we can, and have done several times, beat the very best this division has to offer.
Lewis Cook is perhaps the prime example of a young player still with lots to learn who has a good game and then follows it with a poor one, such as he put in against Charlton. So, I wasn’t that disappointed in as much as we ought by now to be used to it; until we strengthen we will be erratic and so will our results.
Man of the match: Charlie Taylor.
The weather at Elland Road on Saturday afternoon was a perfect reflection of the game and indeed the season in general: Mixed with occasional downpours and some bright spells.
How a team as poor as already-relegated Charlton Athletic have taken four points off Leeds United this season shows the level of work required of whoever is told how to conduct the orchestra next season.
The usual mixture of sublime and ridiculous in front of in excess of an amazing 25,000 loyal hordes contributed to a defeat that will do little to increase Steve Evans’ already slim chances of retaining the coach’s position next season.
Just as at Hull the previous week poor concentration around half-time saw the Whites fall two goals behind before another Sol Bamba goal 20 minutes from time set up a grandstand finish which failed to produce the desired outcome.
I know I’ll be back next season, who else will be is anyone’s guess!
Man of the match: Charlie Taylor.
This was not a good performance in front of a crowd far bigger than the team deserved. Even the urgent calls from the stands late on didn’t lift the players to apply any real effort to beat a team already consigned to relegation.
It came as a bit of a relief to be leaving Elland Road for a few months. At least when we return, the slate will be clean and our games will become competitive. The club would do well to work out, over the summer, why our home form is so shambolic.
United had no stand out player. Charlie Taylor did okay and showed why his consistency has won him Player of the Year but I’m giving man of the match to Chris Wood who worked hard, held the ball up well and suffered only from a lack of service.
Man of the match: Chris Wood.
Leeds United ended their season at Elland Road with a match that was as much of a damp squib as the campaign it was drawing to a close.
The Whites were exposed as a team with no pace or purpose, undone by a quickness of thought and action that they fail to display themselves.
For 30 minutes Leeds had the better of the play but never forced the Charlton keeper to work. Once they fell behind, all confidence ebbed away and the afternoon developed into another one of frustration.
By the time Sol Bamba had scored, I was already on my way to the pub. Leaving Elland Road early used to be sacrilege. Unfortunately now it’s the norm. I’m not sure if I’ll be back next year. Things need to change, because we have now been outside the Premier League for as long as we were in it, and in our current state there appears to be no way back.