Leeds United 3 (Bamford 10, Alioski 56, Harrison 71)
Fulham FC 0
Goodness me that feels as if the weight of the world has been lifted off our shoulders! Leeds have taken a massive step towards Premier League football with a crushing 3 – 0 victory over promotion rivals Fulham that leaves us eight points clear of third place Brentford with only seven games left.
It was nowhere near as positive at half time though; Leeds had taken a tenth minute lead with a fine sweeping move that ended with a sublime side foot finish from the often maligned Patrick Bamford but that was the only real threat from Leeds in that first half. For the rest of the time it was Fulham bossing the possession and looking a very polished side, albeit with a cynical aspect to their play that often left a slightly nasty taste in the mouth. Mitrovic in particular showed the unpleasant side of his character as he led with an elbow to the neck of Ben White in the opening two minutes but escaped punishment, just as he did for a similar incident in the reverse fixture back in December. Referee Tony Harrington missed that and a number of other dubious challenges from the Londoners but video evidence my yet come into play to see Mitrovic banned from the next three games; that may still prove to be fatal to Fulham’s promotion push.
At half time Marcelo Bielsa took decisive action and withdrew Patrick Bamford and Helder Costa, sending on Pablo Hernandez and Ezgjan Alioski. Suddenly Leeds looked altogether more a single unit while suddenly Fulham looked leaden legged and two further clinical finishes from the home side put the game out of the reach of the Cottagers. Matty Klich clipped a low ball first time along the right wing to Harrison who in turn prodded it across the Fulham area. Everyone missed it apart from Alioski at the back post and he showed supreme coolness as he stabbed the ball back the way it came and inside the post with the Fulham defence slip sliding the other way. That was in the 56th minute and fifteen minutes later Pablo reprised the Klich pass in spades as he lofted a first time pitching wedge over the Fulham defence from a Luke Ayling pass. Harrison was after it again tussling with Joe Bryan, he brushed Bryan aside and then stabbed the ball past the Fulham keeper.
Leeds were totally dominant in the second half and almost evened up the match stats – only the possession stats remained in Fulham’s favour. For once Leeds used a lesser share of the ball much more efficiently than the opposition.
Credit must go to Marcelo Bielsa for a brave and unusual half time reshuffle and of course to Pablo Hernandez. If he can stay fit then surely he can become our modern day Gordon Strachan and carry us to glory!
Seven crucial games to go but another win on Tuesday against the Hatters and our own madness can be set free on the world, not to mention starting to smell those prawn sandwiches. Watching Leeds with the company of some good mates on Zoom is not half bad you know!… as long as we win!
Leeds Utd Fulham FC
Possession 42% 58%
Shots 10 12
On Target 5 5
Corners 4 4
Fouls Committed 16 15