|Leeds United 3 v 2 Ipswich Town|
Saturday, 23rd September 2017 Kick-off 15:00
Match Report: Leeds United 3-2 Ipswich Town - Kalvin Phillips dazzles as Whites down Tractor Boys
Saturday, 23rd Sep 2017 22:54 by @LucasMonk_
On an overcast afternoon at Elland Road, Leeds United vanquished Ipswich Town by a scoreline of 3-2 - in spite of a largely insipid and pedestrian performance on their part - to remain placed at the summit of the Championship.
For Leeds United, the visit of Ipswich Town was a momentous fixture. After retaining first position in the Championship regardless of the fact that their team had been so sorrowfully beaten amidst a backdrop of pure and unadulterated enmity at The Den last Saturday, Tuesday evening’s defeat of Premier League Burnley - owing to penalties - had instilled in many United supporters a hope that Leeds would mark their return to league competition with victory. Those hopes were not dashed, though they were only marginally fulfilled with a performance that was not at all a veracious representation of the footballing dexterity possessed by United’s players.
A clear majority of the team that were deployed at Turf Moor by head coach Thomas Christiansen on Tuesday were, as had been ubiquitously anticipated, omitted from the starting eleven today. Andy Lonergan, Paweł Cibicki, Mateusz Klich, Ronaldo Vieira, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Jay-Roy Grot, Gaetano Berardi and Stuart Dallas were all either relegated to the substitutes’ bench or excused from the match day squad altogether. This gave rise to recalls for Felix Wiedwald, Pierre-Michel Lasogga and Samu Sáiz - in addition to others of their ilk.
The hosts began proceedings, shooting toward the south stand, and immediately sought to create for themselves goal-scoring opportunities. It took a mere matter of three minutes before Ipswich defender Jordan Spence, who signed a two-year contract with the Tractor Boys during the summer transfer window, upended Samu Sáiz in a most careless manner, and his impudent, abrasive challenge prompted referee Geoff Eltringham to issue to him a yellow card. The consequent set-piece, twenty-five yards from goal, was taken by Pierre-Michel Lasogga, though the German would see his fierce, driven shot blocked by a determinedly defiant Town wall.
Leeds continued to exert attacking pressure, winning two corners that were defended resolutely by their opponents, before establishing a slender advantage in the match’s 13th minute. The youthful Irish defender Conor Shaughnessy, who recently acceded to a new four-year contract with United that will expire in 2021, played a most discernibly astute through-ball that was seized upon by Lasogga, who exuded aplomb and calmly guided the ball into the bottom-left corner to send 33,307 United supporters into delirious celebration in unison.
Ipswich endeavoured to mount a seemly response in an attempt to eliminate the lead of their opponents and regain a foothold in the match. The Tractor Boys earned a deluge of corners that were symptomatic of a potential revival.
Spirited defender Luke Ayling, was next to chance his arm for goal as he fired toward the net a half-volleyed attempt from all of twenty-five yards, though he would see his effort peter innocuously out of play having been well wide of the mark.
In the 27th minute, an impeccably-timed intervention in the form of a sliding tackle was elicited from Ayling, after Ipswich’s David McGoldrick made inroads into the United penalty area. Of the ensuing corner, the visitors made nothing - but they would soon restore parity.
Two minutes passed before Joe Garner was impeded on the right channel, prompting referee Eltringham to award to Ipswich a free-kick. Grant Ward’s enticing delivery was emphatically connected with by the head of an unmarked McGoldrick, who wheeled away in delight to celebrate the moment with both abandon and his teammates. The many set-pieces from which Ipswich had posed to Leeds a danger perhaps foreshadowed the event.
Perturbed having had their advantage eliminated in exasperating circumstances, the hosts responded alacritously to that particular disappointment. A quintessential display of incision, teamwork and composure in the form of one move carved their opponents asunder and Samu Sáiz’s deft header was raced onto by Kalvin Phillips, who assuredly held his nerve to tuck the ball home from close proximity and an acute angle after rounding Town ‘keeper Bartosz Białkowski. Leeds had regained their lead little more than two minutes after McGoldrick’s equalising header.
In the 43rd minute of play, Pablo Hernández, who had played such an integral role on Tuesday night as a substitute, found his compatriot Sáiz with an exemplary through-ball, though a timely intervention on the part of Ipswich defender Luke Chambers precluded an effort on target from the diminutive playmaker.
With only added time remaining to be played in the first period, Garner would have a venomous half-volley and Chambers would see a powerful header, destined for goal, cleared off the line by Vurnon Anita at the last to ensure United held a slender lead at the interval.
Ipswich sought to make a sprightly start to the second half, and United captain Liam Cooper was called into action in the 49th minute to make a hefty sliding block inside the area after Tristan Nydam had received possession from McGoldrick.
After a rather uneventful period, Ipswich defender Spence was fortunate not to have scored a calamitous own-goal in the 62nd minute; Eunan O’Kane’s driven, right-wing cross was almost headed past Ipswich custodian Białkowski by the former West Ham United prodigy.
Immediately afterward, Lasogga diverted the ball into the path of Sáiz, who once more found himself outmanoeuvred by Chambers upon entering the penalty area. Lasogga then played a pass into space for Ezgjan Alioski, who rather avariciously elected to fire narrowly wide of the post in lieu of playing across goal a squared pass.
The hosts then won a corner, to be taken from the left by Hernández. His ensuing delivery was then inexplicably fumbled by visiting ‘keeper Białkowski and the ball clearly crossed the line, much to the bemusement of the supporters. After conferring with goal-line technology, referee Eltringham awarded United a third goal.
Ipswich, however, were not for rolling over. A meagre four minutes passed before they evoked trepidation in the minds of the home fans with benevolent assistance from Leeds ‘keeper Felix Wiedwald. The right-wing cross of energetic full-back Dominic Iorfa was deflected into the path of Garner by the hapless German, and the former Rangers, Preston and Watford forward gleefully gobbled up the opportunity to score his fourth goal of the season.
The match’s remainder would be safely negotiated by United, who cleared away umpteen Ipswich crosses and dissipated a late opportunity to extinguish the last vestiges of hope within their opponents through Sáiz, and Thomas Christiansen’s charges secured a third successive home victory and, with it, three points to ensure they remain the division’s leaders.
Leeds United (4-2-3-1) - Wiedwald; Ayling, Shaughnessy, Cooper, Anita (Berardi 60’); Phillips, O’Kane; Alioski, Sáiz, Hernández (Dallas 76’); Lasogga (Grot 86’).
Unused Substitutes: Lonergan, Pennington, Klich, Roofe.
Ipswich Town (4-4-2) - Białkowski; Iorfa, Chambers, Spence, Knudsen; Ward (Sears 68’), Adeyemi, Skuse, Nydam (Celina 68’); Garner, McGoldrick (Waghorn 85’).
Unused Substitutes: Gerken, Kenlock, Connolly, Woolfenden.
Half-Time: Leeds United 2-1 Ipswich Town - Lasogga 13’, Phillips 32’.
Full-Time: Leeds United 2-1 Ipswich Town - Lasogga 13’, Phillips 32’, Białkowski (OG) 67’.
Match Statistics (Leeds / Ipswich)
Possession: 53% / 47%
Pass Success: 76% / 72%
Aerial Duel Success: 60% / 40%
Attempts: 9 / 14
On Target: 2 / 3
Corners: 6 / 12
Fouls: 11 / 11
Booked: Cooper (Leeds). Spence, Knudsen (Ipswich).
Man of the Match: Kalvin Phillips
The 23-year-old’s industrious, energetic union with Eunan O’Kane at the heart of the Leeds United midfield once more played a pivotal role in making possible the victory of Thomas Christiansen’s side. Phillips maintained a pass completion percentage of 80% - higher than the match’s average of 74% - while also successfully contesting six aerial duels in addition to scoring United’s second goal.
Venue: Elland Road (capacity of 37,890).
Attendance: 34,002 (90% of capacity).
Referee: Geoff Eltringham.
From United, this was an unremarkable, but not in any way egregious, performance. Leeds bested Ipswich in terms of possession, pass completion and aerial duels and the opportunities ceded to the visitors by the Whites arose in consequence of their own errors.
Conor Shaughnessy, who was rightly awarded a new four-year contract earlier this week, performed efficiently once again in spite of his relative inexperience and youthfulness, creating the opening goal from zilch by playing a most delightful ball into the path of Pierre-Michel Lasogga. Liam Cooper, his rather more seasoned central defensive comrade, encountered difficulty against the threat posed by Town’s David McGoldrick and his failure to perform to a similar standard as Shaughnessy had done meant that Luke Ayling had to twice intervene to prevent the Tractor Boys from scoring.
The volume of efforts Ipswich were permitted by United to have will rightly be cause for concern ahead of Tuesday’s momentous visit to third-placed Cardiff City, but as supporters we can find ample solace in the knowledge that Pontus Jansson will be available for selection - his return will produce similar effects to a wondrous footballing alchemy of some kind that will curb much of the defensive incompetence that we bore witness to today.
While we may not have secured victory in consummate style, secure victory we did. The careers of football players may live and die by performances, and with that in mind this scribe can envisage but a few who may be omitted from Tuesday night’s venture into Wales on the basis of their slipshod contributions today, but those of managers live and die principally by results - and there is no chance of Thomas Christiansen’s reign being an ephemeral one if he continues to guide Leeds to satisfactory results, even if the nature of the standard of his charges’ performances is rather mutable.
Mick McCarthy, Terry Connor and all associated with Ipswich Town should take heart from the qualities exhibited by their players today. There cannot be very many teams who toil to a greater extent than they do and such diligence may take them far.
Photo: Action Images
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