Leeds United’s shouts for a penalty at Hull City were a little hopeful - one earning Samuel Saiz a booking for diving, the other a shot from Kalvin Phillips which hit the arms of a defender - but the club might soon develop a complex about their abnormally long wait for a spot-kick.
Tuesday’s 1-0 win at the KCOM Stadium was the 49th successive game since Leeds were last awarded a penalty and they will complete a half-century of barren matches if Saturday’s meeting with Brentford passes without a break in the sequence.
The drought has covered almost a calendar year and stretches back to the injury-time effort missed by Pablo Hernandez in a home defeat to Reading on October 14, 2017, given after Liam Moore tripped Samuel Saiz in front of the Kop. By coincidence, the referee who penalised Moore, Jeremy Simpson, is back at Elland Road to officiate this weekend
Hernandez feathered that attempt tamely into the arms of goalkeeper Vito Mannone but outwith penalty shoot-outs, the midfielder is the last player to convert one for United during their League Cup win away at Burnley a month earlier.
Marcelo Bielsa gives injury update over Leeds United defender Barry Douglas
In the same 12-month period, eight penalties have been awarded against Leeds including the spot-kick converted by Stoke City’s Benik Afobe at Elland Road in August. Across the Championship, 32 have been given this season and United are among seven clubs who are yet to receive one, alongside Bristol City, Middlesbrough, Bolton Wanderers, Queens Park Rangers, Ipswich and Millwall.
Phillips’ appeal at Hull was the stronger of the two, a rising shot from 12 yards which struck the raised arms of Tommy Elphick. Referee Darren Bond was well positioned to see the incident but ignored the protests of United captain Liam Cooper.
On the night his decision was rendered irrelevant by Tyler Roberts’ winner nine minutes earlier and Marcelo Bielsa’s players have not been reliant on either penalties or set pieces. Eighteen of their 21 league goals - Roberts’ included - have come from open play, the highest total in the division.
Saiz’s dive, meanwhile, leaves him on the verge of a one-match ban. The Spaniard has four yellow cards on his record and is one away from crossing the Football Association’s first disciplinary threshold.