|Leeds United 2 v 1 Bristol City|
Tuesday, 14th February 2017 Kick-off 19:45
Match Report: Leeds United 2-1 Bristol City - Steely Fortitude is a Virtue
Wednesday, 15th Feb 2017 12:04 by @LucasMonk_
Chris Wood scored his 22nd goal of a prolific campaign as Leeds United ensured that they remain in firm contention for a play-off berth, after the Whites responded to a string of two successive league defeats on the spin with a 2-1 home success over relegation contenders Bristol City at Elland Road last night.
The task was conspicuous to the Leeds United players and management; to make amends for the perfunctory performance that allowed Cardiff City to claim three points from them on Saturday with victory over a Bristol City outfit to whom they’d been defeated by at Ashton Gate in September.
In a match in which Pontus Jansson, Eunan O’Kane, Hadi Sacko, and Kemar Roofe were restored to the starting lineup, the hosts first established a slender lead on 28 minutes when Chris Wood converted from close range after being played in on goal by Pablo Hernandez’s quick thinking from a free-kick. This lead was doubled just two minutes into the second period, when Hernandez received the ball from Luke Ayling on the verge of the Bristol City penalty area before seeing a low, left-footed strike take a deflection off Aden Flint before rolling past former Schalke stopper Fabian Giefer and into the back of the net.
After creating a deluge of goalscoring opportunities as the game neared its conclusion, the visitors would register a solitary consolation for their efforts via the towering Bosnian target man Milan Djuric. The cumbersome 26 year-old, formerly of Italian sides Parma and Cesena, headed the ball home at the back-post despite the most valiant efforts of United goalkeeper Rob Green with what proved to be the last act of the match.
The result sees Leeds remain 5th in the Championship table, with Garry Monk’s charges having now amassed 57 points throughout the course of the current season. Norwich City, who lie on the periphery of the play-offs in 7th, now trail United by seven points after the Canaries succumbed to a late Newcastle United equaliser in their 2-2 draw at Carrow Road last night. Leeds make the journey to Portman Road for their next match on Saturday afternoon, and should they defeat Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich Town, they will have bettered their tally of points for the entirety of last season.
Leeds United (4-2-3-1) - Green; Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Berardi; Vieira, O’Kane (Phillips 77’); Sacko, Hernandez (Doukara 83’), Roofe (Barrow 63’); Wood.
Unused Substitutes: Silvestri, Cooper, Pedraza, Dallas.
Bristol City (4-4-1-1) - Giefer; Little (Djuric 46’), Flint, Wright, Golbourne (O’Neil 86’); Cotterill, Hegeler, Brownhill, Bryan; Tomlin; Abraham (Taylor 37’).
Unused Substitutes: Fielding, Matthews, Pack, Paterson.
Leeds began proceedings, shooting toward the Kop, and the hosts made a sprightly start, going agonizingly close to opening the scoring with merely two minutes of play elapsed. Pablo Hernandez’s dinked cross toward the back-post could only be headed wide by Kemar Roofe, who’d been recalled to the starting lineup after replacing Alfonso Pedraza during the 2-0 defeat to Cardiff on Saturday.
Bristol City were then promptly presented with an opportunity of their own just a solitary minute later - a free-kick approximately 35 yards from goal. Up stepped Birmingham loanee David Cotterill, who saw his well-struck effort swerve and veer in the air before United ‘keeper Rob Green parried the effort to safety.
Roofe, who earned his summer move to Elland Road after playing the part of a talismanic figure in the colours of Oxford United, was next to try his luck for goal. The 24 year-old combined with Hernandez before swivelling on a sixpence and firing narrowly wide of the mark with 9 minutes having been played.
The same combination carved out another opportunity 2 minutes later, with Roofe and Hernandez reversing roles and the Spaniard seeing his effort from the edge of the penalty area fly just wide of goal.
United refused to relent in their application of attacking pressure, and with 14 minutes on the clock, Ronaldo Vieira slipped Hernandez in on goal, but the Spaniard was denied by visiting goalkeeper Fabian Giefer, who saved his effort from a narrow angle.
On 23 minutes, the hosts’ top scorer Chris Wood was to be the next man in white to test Giefer, turning to evade a defensive challenge before firing a low effort from the edge of the area that called the German into a competent save.
In spite of that, it would not be long before Wood did open the game’s scoring. Hernandez capitalised on the quandary of the Bristol City defence by thinking on his feet and playing in Wood with a swiftly taken set-piece, before Wood converted with aplomb from close proximity, powering the ball past a hapless Giefer and sparking exasperated protestation from City’s Lee Tomlin, who was promptly shown a yellow card for his trouble. A 22nd goal of a bounteous harvest this season for Wood, who has excelled under the guidance of Garry Monk and his coaching staff.
The lead was no less than United deserved, but a slender lead of one goal is certainly assailable. With that in mind, Leeds continued to heap on the pressure, with Ronaldo Vieira firing narrowly over the crossbar with a fierce left-footed effort on 32 minutes.
The visitors would create a rare opening on the counterattack with the half’s last act. The fleet-footed Joe Bryan scampered down the left before drawing Green into an excellent save before Pontus Jansson averted the danger and cleared the ball to safety.
HT - Leeds United 1-0 Bristol City - Wood 28’.
As Leeds had begun the first period of play, it was the prerogative of the Robins to begin the second, shooting toward the Elland Road Kop.
However, the visitors would suffer a calamitous start to the second-half with United extending their advantage through Pablo Hernandez on 47 minutes. Luke Ayling ventured forward on the right before passing to the Spaniard, whose left-footed effort from inside the area took a deflection off Aden Flint before rolling into the back of the net.
From that moment onward however, it would be the visitors who would begin to apply significant attacking pressure in pursuit of a route back into the match. Firstly, on 55 minutes, substitute Matty Taylor, who recently made a contentious move to Ashton Gate from Bristol Rovers, drew United ‘keeper Rob Green into a facile save with a low effort that lacked conviction, before Josh Brownhill’s attempted lob from 25 yards dipped just over the crossbar.
David Cotterill then delivered a floated cross to the back-post for the physically imposing Milan Djuric, whose downward header was superbly kept out by a defiant Green on 59 minutes. Joe Bryan was next to try his luck on goal, with the former Bath City loanee seeing a fiercely struck low effort from 20 yards tipped round the post by Green, who was putting on a stellar showing for the 22,402 supporters in attendance to behold.
The introduction of Gambia international Modou Barrow in place of Kemar Roofe on 63 minutes provided a period of welcome respite for the hosts, who would have appeals for a penalty kick waved away by referee Jeremy Simpson after Luke Ayling’s cross appeared to strike the hand of of a visiting defender.
Barrow, who was making his home debut after joining United on loan from Swansea City on transfer deadline day, was presented with the chance to score his inaugural goal for the club on 73 minutes. Chris Wood had taken the ball around visiting ‘keeper Fabian Giefer, before cutting the ball back across goal, only for the Gambian to take an erroneous touch that allowed the Robins to clear their lines.
With merely four minutes of normal time remaining, the valiant Ronaldo Vieira won a free-kick deep inside the Bristol City half. Kalvin Phillips stepped up to the plate to take it, seeing a sumptuous swerving effort curl just wide of the top corner.
Bristol City would then register a scant consolation in the final minute of added time, with the towering Djuric heading past Green at the back-post in the game’s dying embers to deny the hosts a clean sheet.
FT - Leeds United 2-1 Bristol City - Wood 28’, Hernandez 47’. Djuric 90+5’.
Man Of The Match
The creative conjurer has enjoyed a highly productive campaign in his first season back in English football after leaving Swansea in 2014, and he made all the difference for his side last night, with his guile and vision rewarded with a goal and an assist in what was a masterly performance from the midfield maestro.
Pass Success: 87%
On Target: 2
WhoScored Match Rating: 9.47.
Media: Victorious Leeds United head coach Garry Monk and losing manager Lee Johnson:
Garry Monk, speaking to the BBC:
"It was a good response and pleasing to get the three points. There was a little bit more pressure and expectancy on us to get the result tonight.
"It was the first time we had suffered back-to-back defeats since the start of the season, so we are happy to get the win.
"I thought we did very well in the first half in particular and we are pleased to get back on track."
Lee Johnson, also speaking to the BBC:
"The first goal is always going to be big, especially at a big away club like this. The first goal is a clear foul. Wood has clipped Bailey Wright's heels and pushed him in the back."
"Tammy Abraham has done something to his thigh. He'll have a scan over the next day or two.
"Tammy is gutted because he feels like it might be a bad one but hopefully that won't be the case."
Match Statistics and Facts
Stats - (Leeds/Bristol)
Possession - 45% / 55%
Pass Success - 79% / 78%
Aerial Success - 50% / 50%
Shots - 15 / 19
On Target - 4 / 9
Tackles - 18 / 22
Fouls - 12 / 9
Corners - 4 / 5
Referee - Jeremy Simpson.
Booked - Ayling, Vieira (Leeds). Tomlin, Cotterill, Wright (Bristol).
Attendance - 22,402.
After two successive defeats, a welcome reclamation of winning form, and though our manner of victory was less than consummate, with Bristol creating a plethora of chances in the second-half, I take the view that our performance did merit the result. We appeared to show a greater degree of conviction, of tenacity, and of precision, exemplified most of all by the performances of Pablo Hernandez and Rob Green, with the latter enjoying perhaps what was his finest game in a Leeds shirt since moving to Elland Road on a free transfer amid much scepticism last summer.
Onward we go to Portman Road on Saturday, where I envisage an arduous encounter against a physically imposing and abrasive Ipswich Town side who are unbeaten in their last three matches. Should we taste victory there of course, we’ll have not only consolidated our position in the play-offs further with another valuable three points, but also, we’ll have bettered our points tally for the entirety of last season. The immeasurable progress we’ve witnessed under the discerning tutelage of Garry Monk perhaps doesn’t receive the credence it merits from the assembled press, but I, presumably along with many others, am quite content for us to go about our business in a quiet and seemly manner, to go under the radar, so to speak.
Photo: Action Images
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