Leeds United 1 Charlton Athletic 2: Relegated Addicks end Whites run in Elland Road finale

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LEEDS United’s recent good run was brought to a crashing end as relegated Charlton Athletic picked up a 2-1 victory at an unimpressed Elland Road.

Charlton signalled an early warning when Johann Gudmundsson thumped an effort against the post and the same player lashed home from close range to give the Addicks a 39th-minute lead.

Sol Bamba heads in Leeds United's goal against Charlton. PIC: James Hardisty

Sol Bamba heads in Leeds United's goal against Charlton. PIC: James Hardisty

That lead was doubled four minutes after the interval when Ademola Lookman was afforded far too much space and rifled home from 20 yards.

Chris Wood then hit the crossbar with a close range header just before the hour and United finally pulled a goal back with 19 minutes left through Sol Bamba’s header.

But Leeds could not find an equaliser despite six minutes of injury time in what might have proved head coach Steve Evans’ last game in charge at Elland Road.

Evans made three changes to the team that started at Hull City with Jordan Botaka coming in for Lee Erwin on the left wing.

As expected, Lewie Coyle replaced in the injured Gaetano Berardi at right back, while Luke Murphy also came in for Toumani Diagouraga in midfield.

In front a decent Elland Road crowd, Leeds had a fine chance to take a third-minute lead when Chris Wood’s pass found Luke Murphy honing in on goal from the left flank but his low shot was saved by Nick Pope’s feet.

But after a rash challenge from Liam Bridcutt gave Charlton a free-kick on the edge of the area, Ademola Lookman’s 20-yard set piece whistled just wide of Marco Silvestri’s right side post.

At the other end, after a fine turn Jordan Botaka, Stuart Dallas fired wide from range before a similar effort from Charlie Taylor failed to threaten.

Pope was then forced to tip a dipping Dallas free-kick over the bar but Charlton then went agonisingly close when Johann Gudmundsson thumped a low effort from 25 yards against Silvestri’s left hand post.

Lewis Cook and Liam Bridcutt were then the next United men to shoot wide or over from range before a beautiful pass from Luke Murphy picked out Lewie Coyle whose weak low effort was saved.

But from nowhere Charlton then took a 39th-minute lead when a stinging low left wing cross from Morgan Fox fell directly at the feet of Gudmundsson who smashed home from close range to give Silvestri had no chance.

Charlton were then left thanking their ‘keeper Pope for a diving header some 40 yards from goal to stop Chris Wood from being clean though as Leeds looked to respond.

But the Addicks finished the half by squandering a fine chance to double their lead when Igor Vetokele was found in acres of space in the area but could only produce an ineffective shot that was blocked by Sol Bamba.

United were booed off at half-time and unchanged Whites side began the second period on the attack with a low deflected Dallas shot saved.

But Charlton continued to look threatening and after a couple of early forays forward it was no surprise when the Addicks doubled their lead.

Lookman was given far too much space just outside the area and needed no second invitation to unleash a low 20-yard effort that flew past Silvestri into the bottom left corner.

Evans reacted by hauling off Dallas for Alex Mowatt and United were denied by the crossbar shortly before the hour when a peach of a cross from Taylor was flicked on by Wood who looked to have scored and kicked the post in frustration.

A Botaka effort was then deflected just wide, after which Mirco Antenucci was brought on for Bridcutt.

But Charlton were a constant menace on the break and Leeds breathed a sigh of relief when Callum Harriott fired just wide from a counter.

United finally pulled a goal back with 19 minutes remaining when a lovely free-kick from Taylor was met by Bamba’s powerful header.

Antenucci then chose to shoot from a tough angle with 12 minutes left and saw his effort saved when a square pass would have given Wood a tap in.

Moments later, Antenucci’s dinked pass released Wood in on goal but his delicate flick was kept out by Pope, much to Elland Road’s frustration.

United then bombarded the Charlton goal in the latter stages with both Cook and Bamba going particularly close but the damage had already been done.

Leeds United: Silvestri, Coyle, Bamba, Cooper, Taylor, Bridcutt (Antenucci 65), Murphy (Diagouraga 74), Cook, Dallas (Mowatt 50), Botaka, Wood. Subs not used: Peacock-Farrell, Wootton, Phillips, Erwin.

Charlton Athletic: Pope, Fanni, Diarra, Teixeira, Fox, Kashi, Jackson, Harriott, Gudmundsson (Suk-Young 71), Lookman (Ba 88), Vetokele (Makienok 82). Subs not used: Mitov, Sarr, Lennon, Motta.

Referee: Keith Hill.

Attendance: 25,458.