Our YEP Jury give their verdict on Leeds United’s 1-0 defeat at Sunderland in the FA Cup third round
After 45 minutes it looked like it was going to be an exceptionally long afternoon on Wearside for the five and a half thousand travelling Leeds United supporters.
The line up may have been different but the first-half performance was the usual listless dross we have become so used to.
However the second-half display, whilst ultimately fruitless offered hope for the relegation battle to come as Leeds, undoubtedly with some harsh words from Neil Redfearn ringing in their ears, produced a performance that had Premier League Sunderland grateful for Patrick van Aanholt’s 33rd-minute strike.
With seven changes, Redfearn proved true to his word, resting the youngsters who will prove pivotal in the months to come, and offering the fringe players a chance to show that they are capable of improving the team. Of those brought in, Dario Del Fabro was the pick, looking a capable partner for captain-for-the-day Liam Cooper.
In midfield, Luke Murphy was a huge improvement on Tommasso Bianchi.
If only the crowd could forgive his odd lapse, then he may be able to keep the midfield ticking over, and allow Cook and Mowatt to do what they do best. Rudy Austin was also his usual infuriating self, a hotchpotch of driving runs and misplaced passes.
The biggest disappointment of the game was Adryan. Given a free role in a front three, he was wasteful in possession and listless in his defensive work, allowing Sunderland to bring the ball out at will in the first half with his lack of pressing.
His poor shot when presented with Leeds best chance in the opening minutes of the second half summed up his afternoon. He left the field with head bowed when replaced by Billy Sharp.
Leeds knocked on the door in the second half without ever looking like blowing Sunderland’s house down. Bryan Montenegro fluffed his lines when he got his chance, skewing a shot high and wide.
Sunderland threatened on the counter, but Marco Silvestri was firmly behind anything hit at him in a performance which will hopefully boost his confidence.
Leeds almost snatched an equaliser with a late Liam Cooper (I think I was a long way away!) header, but it was not to be and Sunderland hung on for a repeat of their greatest ever win.
For Leeds it is a trip to Bolton on Saturday for a much more important game. Redfearn will have learned a lot yesterday.
The side that gets selected should be the best available, not filled with the president’s favourites. If it is, then there is hope for us yet.
Man of the match: Liam Cooper.
Leeds were beaten 1-0 in the FA Cup third round at Sunderland. Considering the changes, it was a decent effort with a few of the players brought in giving Neil Redfearn something to think about when he names his next team.
Redfearn made seven changes to the team that so under performed at Derby, giving Del Fabro and Taylor in defence and Montenegro a opportunity in attack. Casper Sloth, Berardi and Murphy were also promoted to the first team. Silvestri was surprisingly kept in goal.
The formation seemed to be a 4-3-3 system.
Sunderland, who lined up with a strong side looked to impose themselves on Leeds early. After a couple of half chances created by the home side and they eventually went ahead with a stunning strike from van Aanholt and it was 1-0 at the break.
The second half was much better from Leeds, with Austin and Murphy upping their games to make it more of a battle in midfield.
Charlie Taylor then looked to have been brought down inside the area but the referee waved away Leeds’ penalty claims.
Silvestri saved Leeds twice from strikes by Sunderland. Leeds in the final moments nearly grabbed a replay but Liam Cooper’s header came back of a post with the Sunderland keeper beaten.
Man of the match: Mirco Antenucci.
Well, a tale of two halves left me wondering what if, as I made my way home from Sunderland yesterday afternoon.
The first half went by current form but in the second half we were far better than them and deserved at least a replay – we were just some better shooting away from doing just that.
We were also denied the most obvious of penalties, a little luck our way and it would have been a different game. I thought Rudy Austin was immense in the second half and Charlie Taylor looked solid, as did Liam Cooper, who looked assured.
Pride in defeat.
Man of the match: Liam Cooper.
It felt like we’d watched men against boys in the first half as Leeds went behind to a clinical finish. It could have been more than 1-0 at the break but for good organisation in the Leeds back line and wasteful play from Sunderland.
United were far better in the second half and at last created some good chances with Adryan, Montengro, Austin and Cooper missing chances. Had one of them fallen to Antenucci or Sharp it could have been a different story. A penalty appeal denied for Charlie Taylor and a late header onto the post compounded the overall diasappointment. We didn’t disgrace ourselves and some of the fringe players will have done themselves no harm.
Man of the match: Rodolph Austin.
United departed the FA Cup losing to a first-half wonder goal on Sunday lunchtime. However at least there was much more fight and application especially in the second half when Adryan should have opened his Whites account and we were denied a clear penalty. Five minutes from time, captain-for-the-day Liam Cooper struck a post, however to be honest neither side would have wanted a replay. Seven changes were made by Neil Redfearn and one or two, like Del Fabro did themselves no harm at all.
Man of the match: Liam Cooper.
Another away defeat but we can be proud of the second-half performance. The first half was dreadful, we didn’t keep hold of the ball and created nothing. The whole midfield and attack were ineffective and made a poor Premier League side look like world beaters. The second half was a different story. We created numerous chances and were extremely unlucky not to score. Adryan should have scored straight after the break and we were denied a blatant penalty. Cooper was outstanding at the back and was unlucky to hit the post at the death. Everyone in the ground thought it was in. I also thought Casper Sloth played very well and should be involved at Bolton on Saturday.
Man of match: Casper Sloth