Leeds United: Easter brings precious little cheer for Leeds

19 April 2014...     Barnsley v Leeds United  Skybet championship'Leeds Ross McCormack celebrates his goal. Picture Tony Johnson
19 April 2014... Barnsley v Leeds United Skybet championship'Leeds Ross McCormack celebrates his goal. Picture Tony Johnson
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THE EASTER period has not been a particularly rewarding time for Leeds United in the past decade, with the Whites aiming to buck the trend this year, starting with Saturday’s Roses engagement with Blackburn Rovers.

All told, Leeds have not won in their past five Easter outings at Elland Road and you look have to go back to Easter Saturday 2009 for their last home win, a 1-0 victory over Stockport County in front of almost 25,000 fans on April 15, 2009.

An early goal from Jonny Howson secured Leeds their ninth successive win on home soil and ensured they remained seven points behind second-placed Peterborough United with four matches left in their promotion quest in League One.

But Simon Grayson’s side went down 1-0 in their Easter Monday fixture at Leicester City in that 2008-09 campaign, with a late Steven Howard header putting the Foxes on the brink of promotion.

Howard’s winner came following a corner from future Leeds signing Max Gradel and sparked a pitch invasion from Leicester fans.

All told, in the past decade, Leeds have won just five times in 17 Easter fixtures and have endured slim pickings.

Last Easter proved somewhat mixed for Leeds, who started off with an overdue derby win at Oakwell, thanks to Ross McCormack’s final goal in a Whites jersey - and 29th of a prolific 2013-14 campaign.

But they could not back it up with victory on Easter Monday, losing 2-0 at home to Nottingham Forest, with Matt Derbyshire firing a brace for the Reds.

Back in 2012-13, Easter proved a truly dismal and insipid one for Leeds, with it ending in the sacking of Neil Warnock.

Leeds started off with a 3-0 reverse at Ipswich Town, on an afternoon when Warnock famously pointed the finger of blame at Tom Lees following his first-half dismissal.

David McGoldrick netted twice with sub Jay Emmanuel-Thomas adding a third as Leeds suffered at Portman Road.

Their second Easter fixture of 2012-13 ended in the exit of Warnock following the game after a 2-1 home loss to Derby on April Fool’s Day 2013 - United’s third successive defeat.

A late strike from Jake Buxton applied the last rites to Warnock’s 14-month reign at Leeds and earned Derby a ninth win in a row against them.

Sub McCormack had given Leeds the lead on 67 minutes - in a game which saw 18-year-old Chris Dawson make his debut - only for Paul Coutts to restore parity just six minutes later.

Back in 2011-12, Leeds slumped to a poor 2-0 loss at Reading on Good Friday 2012, with sub Adam Le Fondre hitting a late double for the high-flying Royals, with the visitors being a man light after just 13 minutes with Zac Thompson handed his marching orders.

Leeds’ second Easter assignment also proved one to forget with Warnock’s side losing 2-0 to visiting Derby in another game when a United player saw red - this time the guilty party being Michael Brown.

It was the third game on the spin that Leeds had seen a player dismissed, with goals from Steven Davies and Craig Bryson winning it for the Rams.

The 2010-11 season saw Leeds’ tilt for the play-offs peter out in the final month of the season, with Good Friday 2011 seeing Simon Grayson’s side draw 0-0 at home to Reading, whose eight-match winning streak was ended.

Leeds then went down to a 1-0 loss on Easter Monday at Selhurst Park with their play-off hopes suffering another jolt.

Neil Danns netted the only goal of the game for the Eagles after just eighty seconds as the Londoners boosted their own top-six quest.

Leeds were gunning for promotion from the third tier in Easter 2010, but suffered a big setback in a 3-0 home loss to Billy Paynter inspired Swindon on Easter Saturday.

Paynter scored twice and Charlie Austin grabbed the other as the Robins went second in the table with Leeds’ scoreless streak stretching to almost six-and-a-half hours.

Easter Monday at least brought some redemption in front of the Sky cameras with a double from an unlikely source in captain Richard Naylor earning Leeds a vital 2-1 win at Yeovil.

It ended a run of four successive defeats and provided a timely boost to their flagging promotion hopes.

Easter Saturday 2008 saw United prevail in a 2-0 Elland Road triumph over Walsall, to extend the Saddlers’ record of having never won at Leeds.

Jermaine Beckford was at the double for Leeds, to take his seasonal tally to 19.

United were pitched into a grim battle against the drop in Easter 2007 and started off with a vital 2-1 success over visiting Plymouth, with a late header from Lubo Michalik lifting Leeds out of the drop zone.

But Easter Monday proved thoroughly painful with a last-minute winner from Jamie Cureton dumping Leeds back in the bottom three.

Two draws arrived in Easter 2006 with Leeds kicking off with a 1-1 draw with champions Reading.

A late leveller from Stephen Hunt earned a point for the Royals and also endured that Sheffield United would accompany them to the top-flight.

Leeds needed to win to stop the Blades going up and all was set fair when Rob Hulse gave them the lead just after the break.

United’s second Easter fixture came at Bramall Lane and also ended in a 1-1 draw.

It was a game best remembered for Blades chief and future Leeds boss Warnock needing a police escort as he was sent from the touchline during a fiery derby.

Warnock was furious after a challenge from Gary Kelly on Blades defender Craig Short just before the break.

The promoted Blades were ahead after just 10 minutes as Eirik Bakke headed an own goal past Neil Sullivan.

But Leeds levelled through David Healy’s brilliant left-footed strike three minutes before the break.

United’s Easter results in the past decade.

2014: Barnsley (A) W 1-0; Nottingham Forest (H) L0-2.

2013: Ipswich (A) L 3-0; Derby (H) L 1-2.

2012: Reading (A) L 2-0; Derby (H) L 0-2.

2011: Reading (H) D 0-0; Crystal Palace (A) L 1-0.

2010: Swindon (H) L 0-3; Yeovil (A) W 2-1.

2009: Stockport (H) W 1-0; Leicester (A) L 1-0.

2008: Walsall (H) W 2-0.

2007: Plymouth (H) W 2-1; Colchester (A) L 2-1.

2006: Reading (H) D 1-1; Sheffield United (A) D 1-1.

2005: No Easter fixtures.