Leeds United 2 (Dallas 24, 62)
Derby County 4 (Marriott 45,85, Mount 46, Wilson 58 pen, Malone)
Well we did it again! A goal up after half an hour to give a 2 goal lead in the tie and we still contrived to reach our inner Leeds United to bring back the ghost of a thousand such failures in our history. Only we could manage to come up with another goalkeeper/defender cock-up, a penalty given away and a man sent off in the biggest game of our more recent history in front of a capacity and expectant crowd. It’s just, sort of what we do isn’t it?
To some extent though it should come as no surprise how we screwed this game up, indeed how we screwed our season up and screwed the play-off chance up. We saw several of these players screw up a similarly promising season in our previous campaign and sadly, the new players in our ranks, on the whole, still have the faults and failings of those they replaced. Kiko Casilla looked like the right choice in goal when he first arrived, all the regular jitters we suffered watching the young Flying Peacock were gone and for a run of games, barring the odd Spanish flap a the ball he looked safe and secure. Then, as arrived at the business end of the season he decided to regularly go walk about and screw up with a defender twice in the space of a few games is unforgivable. For Ayling this time read Cooper but the scenario was too similar for further comment. Cooper is well known to us of course but is one who, on the whole this season has been decent but, and it is a big but, we all know he has it in him to make a costly error, probably more often than a centre back at this lever ought to… and it costs us. It was Coops too who tried to rectify a gaping hole in the defence with a foul challenge for the penalty. Well it would be wouldn’t it. And then we have the manic Berardi, another player we know only too well; always gives 100% but always a potential liability…
Then there is the conundrum that is Patrick Bamford, another of the new faces this season. A man who promises much but delivers far too little. His challenges throughout the game last night were unacceptable for a big bloke at this level – how he was not a second to see red I’ll never know – and yet time after time he’d look at his man and then launch himself at him or put his hands behind his back to grab his man. It’s sloppy, it’s weak and it’s not good enough. There will be many this morning suggesting that, had Roofe been up front. The outcome may well have been different and I’m probably in that camp.
The worst aspect of the defeat last night was that we contrived once again to hand a far less impressive side than us the chance to reach the Premier League. They were often poor last night and, for the majority had no answer to us – other than to wait for us to hand them the game through our own sloppy game management. It hurts to see Vila and Derby fighting for that £200 million place even more than it does to think of us having yet another season in this god forsaken Championship that we already know will be even tougher next season with or without Bielsa. There can be no guarantee that even if the great man stays he will be able to put together a side that will compete, let alone one that will actually achieve our Holy Grail.
So, that’s it, we’ve had our ups and downs for another season and for great parts of it, it was good. Sadly we needed more; we needed a few more players at a better quality than we have, we needed to be more composed and professional at critical moments of it.
We will go again in August by which time this will not feel anywhere near as raw… but, there is no guarantee we’ll be as successful and, in any case, if we are to be, we need to bring in another group of players to push us on again. Have a good summer everyone!
Leeds Utd Derby County
Possession 43% 57%
Shots 22 14
On Target 8 5
Corners 3 3
Fouls Committed 17 15