|Ipswich Town 3 v 2 Leeds United|
Sunday, 5th May 2019 Kick-off 12:30
Leeds slip to embarrassing defeat on final day
Sunday, 5th May 2019 19:42 by Tim Whelan
As always Leeds had most of the possession against relegated Ipswich Town, but this time it was a few lapses at the back that condemned us to defeat.
There was quite a bit of speculation the Bielsa would rest a few players for the playoffs, but in fact the only change was to bring Roofe in for the suspended Bamford, as the former came back from his latest injury. Perhaps our head coach was bearing in mind that we still needed a point to be certain of finishing third and therefore get a slightly easier playoff semifinal.
There was a bit of an air of anticlimax among the Leeds following, now that this game wasn't going to the final day occasion we'd looked forward to for so long. We still took nearly 4,000 to Portmanteau Road, but there were a few spare seats at the top of our section in the Cobbold stand, while the Ipswich fans in the lower North Stand were enjoying their relegation party.
Once again Leeds dominated the possession in the early stages, without carrying that much of a threat up front. Dallas sent one shot across the face of goal, and Forshaw was set up by a neat passing move, but sent his shot straight at the goalkeeper. Apart from those chances the best we could do was to send couple of long range shots well off target.
But it was the home side who took the lead on the half hour, against the run of play. A long ball sent Quaner racing down the Ipswich right, only for his progress to be rudely interrupted by of another of Casilla's mad moments, racing well out of his area to bring down the Ipswich man. I feared the Spaniard would become yet another of the red cards we seem to suffer at this particular venue, but the ref decided that a yellow would be sufficient, as Quarter would have had a narrow angle once he'd caught up with the ball.
But that was only a temporary reprieve, as we failed to clear from the resulting free kick and the ball fell kindly for Downes, who made no mistake from close range. And in the manner of most of our away defeats this season, the opposition grew in confidence once they had got themselves in front. We continued to try and pass our way through them, but too many moves broke down, while a couple of clever flicks ended up losing possession.
Klich sent a half volley well over the bar, and I was just starting to think he was sleepwalking through the game when he grabbed the equaliser just before half time. Ayling cut the ball back as Klich ran to the edge of the box completely unchallenged, and he accepted the invitation to hammer the ball into the corner of the net.
At half time I was thinking that we ought to go on and win this quite comfortably, but Ipswich got back in front within a couple of minutes of the restart. Again it was down to some dozy defending, with Phillips just letting the ball bounce off him, seemingly unaware of and danger as Ipswich came through the middle. Quarner was left to play the ball through to Dozzell, who was given time to pick his spot and put them 2-1 up.
So once again Leeds were chasing the game, though we did manage to force Bialkowski into a couple of good saves to deny Hernandez and Roofe. On the hour Bielsa made his only substitution of the game, with Jack Clarke coming on for Forshaw, and for the first time since his illness Clarke seemed to be getting back to his best. The result was that Leeds finally woke up and looked like we actually wanted a result from this game.
Cooper headed just wide from a corner when I thought he was bound to score, and somehow the ball again stayed out after a goalmouth scramble a few minutes later. Clarke went past a defender in the box and forced Bialkowski into a save, and from the rebound a couple of shots from Hernandez were scrambled away. And a couple of good moves came to an end due to the referee's total inability to remember to play advantage.
But that only delayed the equaliser until the 76th minute, when Rode chested a cross from Ayling onto the bar and Dallas managed to force it over the line. The Ipswich defence protested about something, and I'm told that some of the Ipswich fans behind the goal thought it was handball and others that it was offside. If in doubt appeal for everything. Offside was unlikely when there was a defender on the goal line, but it wouldn't be our first goal this season to involve a Roofs handball.
At that point I thought we were going to go on and win the game, especially when the ball came to Harrison in the six yard box, but his shot was deflected wide of the far post. An even better opportunity arrived with ten minutes to go, as Roofe was brought down after he was sent through on goal and Ipswich captain Chambers was shown the red card. But Roofe slipped as he took the penalty and comically sent it over the bar. We've now missed three penalties in succession, with three different penalty takers.
And right on 90 minutes there was another comedy moment at the other end of the field, this time to present Ipswich with an unexpected winning goal. Again Casilla had rushed well of his line and a catastrophic mix up with Ayling saw the ball drop to Quarner on the edge of the box. He nearly scuffed the shot but he only had to get it on target, and eventually it rolled into the empty net.
There were still five minutes of injury time, partly due to Bialkowski taking about a month over every goal kick, but Leeds wasted most of it by playing long balls straight into touch instead of threatening to snatch a point. And so it was that we went down to an embarrassing defeat against the division's bottom team. I can't begin to imagine the frustration if this game had really mattered.
The only good thing about today was that WBA lost at Derby, so despite out result we hung on to third place, therefore we face Derby in the playoff semi final, rather than inform Villa. But whoever the opposition we'll need to do much netter than this in the playoffs, and given our performances in the last four games I wouldn't bank on it.
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