Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s 1-0 victory at Wolves.
Leeds United registered another excellent three points on the road with a hard fought victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday afternoon. The win saw the Whites enter the Championship’s top ten on Saturday evening as a result of gaining their 20th point of the season.
Coach Gary Monk made one enforced change to the starting line up from the frustrating midweek draw against Wigan Athletic with Ronaldo Viera replacing Pablo Hernandez who missed out due to a “dead-leg”.
An even first half was a perfect encapsulation of why both teams are presently loitering (without intent) around the middle reaches of the Championship table. It was also another illustration of why Hadi Sacko is a great definition of the phrase “raw talent”.
Without a doubt he is a player that opposition defences fear but it is debatable on occasions whether opposition defenders or Sacko himself have more of an idea of what he is going to do with the ball. Sometimes his play is sublime and other times verging on ridiculous, causing his colleagues and coach Monk to pull their respective hair out at regular intervals.
The first 45 minutes erupted in the last ten minutes before half-time when that man Sacko raced clear of the home defence to unleash a shot against the top of the bar, whilst at the other end Whites’ stopper Rob Green made a fine point blank save. Despite more end-to-end play the deadlock remained unbroken as half-time arrived.
United started the second half on the front foot without creating any clear cut opportunities before the home side came back into it. With 20 minutes to go, a fine Kyle Bartley through ball caused panic in the Wolves defence which Sacko seized on and drilled in a fine ball and a combination of Kemar Roofe and Silvio (the latter getting the more obvious final touch) steered the ball into the net much to the delight on the near 2,000 loyal hordes.
Five minutes from time and Chris Wood should have converted a fine cross from Roofe, to settle the match, but the opportunity went begging over the bar. At the other end Wolves almost snatched a late equaliser through Costa. United saw the lead safely through to a victory, to take the three points from their second successive trip to Molineux. This was a great way to bounce back from the disappointment of midweek and provide real hope and hopefully momentum for the games that lie ahead.
Man of the match: Pontus Jansson.
After two recent poor results, Leeds, backed by over two thousand fans beat Wolves 1-0 at Molineux.
The win moved them to 10th place in the Championship, only three points off sixth place.
In a ‘scrappy’ first half Leeds and Wolves failed to assert themselves, it really looked like a game between two teams that had struggled in recent games. Leeds had two calls for penalties but both were waved away by the official. Sacko had the best chance of the game but his shot hit the bar and went over. Green’s reflexes saved Leeds when Teixeira warmed his gloves, Taylor denied Costa before the first half was over.
Wood made Leeds’ third penalty appeal but again the referee looked the other way. Both Leeds and Wolves tried to break the deadlock, Costa’s effort going over and Ikeme denying Wood. The winner came with less than 20 minutes to play. Bartley’s long ball was chased by Sacko and Doherty, the later falling to the floor leaving the winger to drill a superb ball into the six-yard box, which was put into his own net by Silvio.
Wood’s effort went over before the best chance of the game fell to Costa but his shot was shockingly high and over, and Leeds held on.
Norwich are next up in the EFL Cup tomorrow.
Man of the match: Eunan O’Kane, improving every game.
Sometimes I think results colour our impression as to how well we played. Lots of us were a bit down after Derby and then giving away two points against Wigan but actually we didn’t play badly in either; we just came up short in certain areas and didn’t get the rub of the green. I came away from Molineux very positive and raving about how strong we were and how we battled through a tough game but I’m trying to keep my feet on the ground this time. The game could have gone either way. Hadi Sacko got lucky due to his persistence – they say the harder you work the luckier you get and this was a classic example. On another day the Wolves defender would clear the ball and Hadi’s cross would not have happened. On the other hand Wolves wasted some good chances.
We are a difficult side to beat with a defence now worthy of the name. I am sure Garry Monk will tell us there is much to improve on and he’s right but we are a match for anyone in this Championship.
Man of the match: Kyle Bartley.
Even though Roofe didn’t score, the sheer number of times that he was fouled was testament to his guile and industry.
Sacko’s cross was going to go in the net no matter who got the last touch. Wood was tireless and Jansson and Bartley held the back.
Three valuable points with another nervous finish but you feel that this is how it’s going to be in the Championship this season. Narrow margins between success and failure.
Man of the Match: Pontus Jansson.
If I had been asked this time last week what Leeds United’s points tally would be from the two games against Wigan and Wolves then I would probably have said that four would be a decent haul. So after the disappointing draw on Tuesday night, my expectations were low for the trip to Molineux.
Leeds though can now find themselves really kicking themselves for not putting the game to bed against Wigan, as had they done so they would have been just a point outside the top six. Instead the 1-0 win over Wolves has put the club in the top 10 for the first time in what seems a long time and well placed to push on for the rest of the season.
Although Kemar Roofe is still waiting for his first goal for the club, with the winner being “credited” to Wolves full back Silvio, the summer signing from Oxford has now got two full games under his belt and is gaining in confidence. That is a plus point to be taken from the win along with another fairly rock solid defensive display.
The only real negative is again the inability to put sides away. Hadi Sacko hit the bar and Chris Wood was off target with a couple of efforts. More opportunities need to be taken to ease the supporters blood pressure and make life a little more comfortable. But for now, the wins will do.
Man of the match: Eunan O’Kane.
Another close game but a deserved win for United who put in a rock steady defensive performance meaning we only needed to snatch the one goal.
Luke Ayling, Kyle Bartley and Pontus Jansson, in particular, had excellent games both defensively and playing out from the back. Kemar Roofe had his best showing so far in a Leeds shirt and Ronaldo Vieira and Chris Wood were equally impressive.
This wasn’t a pretty contest but it was entertaining enough with both teams clattering into tackles as play swung this way and that. It’s a credit to referee Stuart Attwell that there was a decent flow to the game.
Another solid away result but now it’s progression in the cup tomorrow please.
Man of the match: Pontus Jansson.