Left-back Charlie Taylor hit out at the controversial decision to deny Leeds United a late goal against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday – but admitted a 2-0 defeat had all but ended any chance of making the play-offs.
A frustrated Taylor said “everything seemed to be against us” after a spate of missed chances and two bad errors at Hillsborough were compounded by a bizarre situation caused by referee Anthony Taylor 11 minutes from time.
The official awarded a Leeds goal after Liam Cooper bundled home Alex Mowatt’s free-kick while Wednesday were in the process of substituting striker Fernando Forestieri with Lucas Joao.
Forestieri was still leaving the pitch when Cooper converted the chance and Anthony Taylor bowed to fierce protests from Wednesday’s players, reversing his decision and ruling the effort out.
Wednesday, who led 2-0 at the time, went on to close out their victory and cut Leeds 13 points off the top six after a deflating week in which United had already lost a crucial game away at Ipswich Town.
United boss Steve Evans was scathing about a decision he described as “horrendous” and claimed Anthony Taylor had purposely allowed play to continue with Forestieri taking his time to exit the pitch.
Charlie Taylor said: “I know for a fact the ref blew his whistle to play the game. I don’t know what he’s saying but I’ve never seen that in football before and surely once the whistle has gone, that’s the game to be played.
“Everything just seemed to be against us. I don’t know what minute that was in but it could have put them on edge and at 2-1 anything can happen.
“It’s completely different to 2-0 and it would have given us a good 15 minutes to try and get an equaliser.”
United paid more heavily for both their failure to take repeated opportunities before half-time and the defensive failings which allowed Gary Hooper to score twice in three minutes at the start of the second half.
Leeds fell to 17th in the Championship and are once again closer to the relegation places than the top six.
Taylor said: “I think the squad has got too much quality to be worrying about relegation and I don’t think that’s on anyone’s minds. But the play-offs are realistically a very tough ask now.
“You never say never but obviously the last two games have changed that with them being promotion candidates.
“Performance-wise we didn’t play well at Ipswich but (at Hillsborough) I think a lot of people would say it’s our best performance. To come away 2-0 is really disappointing but the lads will remain positive and see what the next few games bring.
“It was a strange game. We could maybe say it was our best performance of the season with the way we knocked it about and if we’d come in 3-0 up at half-time I don’t think anyone would have been surprised.
“We dominated that much but their goals have knocked the stuffing out of us in the end. The difference was in both boxes.”