Leeds United 2 Brighton 0
For the first hour of this game I thought I was right on the money, calling this as a second consecutive nil-nil draw. We’d seen hardly a shot on target and very few attempts on goal as both defences looked impregnable and such half-chances as were given were frittered away. Chris Wood passed up a couple of fine opportunities to add to his tally while Rob Green pulled off a superb save from Liam Cooper’s outstretched boot at the other end.
But then that feeling came back, that feeling that the stars are aligning and all the footballing gods are willing, positively demanding that Leeds get that play-off place and ultimately a return to the Premier League.
A moment of magic from Charlie Taylor on the left wing showed us just what we’ve missed with his long injury, you could say, pardon the pun, that it has been our err, Achilles Heel that we just haven’t got behind defences often enough whoever plays out wide. With Leeds gradually turning the screw on the Brighton back line, Taylor suddenly put his head down and went for it. He clipped the ball across and finally Chris Wood found his touch with a sublime header back across the desperately diving figure of David Stockdale. Stockdale had a 100% record against Leeds prior to today and while he won’t be happy being beaten he’ll share our joy at that header from his favourite team’s top striker.
With Leeds ahead, the game opened up and it was a masterstroke bringing on the strong running Doukara to heap more pressure on that Brighton back-line. A minute miscalculation by Tomori took the Douk’s legs and the rest, as they say, is history.
The stats suggest there was little between these sides, and on corner count the South Coast outfit were well ahead but Leeds had two things the Seagulls didn’t; a real killer instinct and an error free defence.
The benching of Pontus Jansson out of the blue and some cryptic comments from Garry Monk concerning his absence today has cast a bit of a shadow that we don’t yet understand and Coops took quite a while to settle in, causing Rob Green to perform an amazing save with that one intervention and slicing the ball out of play and back over his byline with a couple more. But eventually he settled to his task; is he as good a bet as Pontus? I don’t think so but it will be interesting to see if this was a one-off kick up the bum for Pontus or something more serious. As it is ultimately our defence proved just as strong with Charlie Taylor filling in for Ayling and I’d guess Berardi, popular as he is, may be the one to miss out long term. These are details though, the key thing is we have got that 8 point gap to Fulham and now their game in hand is gone and most results went our way this weekend. Two weeks to contemplate that and then another monster of a game at Reading. Dare we dream yet?
Leeds United Brighton
Possession 50% 50%
Shots 11 12
On Target 3 3
Corners 3 8
Fouls 10 11