West Brom 1st
West Brom: One change; Robson-Kanu in for Charlie Austin
Leeds put behind them the disappointment of their first away defeat at Charlton with a spirited 1-0 win over top of the table West Bromwich Albion. Gjanni Alioski’s first half deflected strike was enough to take Leeds top of the Championship.
A tough test was expected by the faithful as table toppers West Brom came to Leeds 11. The Midlanders were the only unbeaten team in the Championship and many pundits tips for the automatic promotion places.
Leeds started brightly with the midfield trio of Phillips, Shackleton and Klich getting the ball forward to wingers Costa and Harrison at every opportunity. Klich had Leeds’ first opportunity but Johnson dealt with the effort easily, the first talking point was when Stuart Dallas put a shot on goal which stool the arm of ex Leeds loanee Kyle Bartley. The referee waved away the Leeds claims for a penalty.
West Brom threatened on the break but Casilla dealt with the shots, albeit a few that came his way. Leeds lost captain Liam Cooper with a leg injury and the captain limped from the field, Gaetano Berardi replaced him. A few bookings from the referee came as a little ‘niggle’ came into a enjoyable first half.
The breakthrough came just before the break, Harrison seemed to have lost the chance to shot from inside the eighteen yard area but he played the ball to Gjanni Alioski who’s shot deflected off Kyle Bartley’s outstretched leg and went in at the far post. The relief at the goal was evident as the fans celebrated the opening goal for Leeds.
Ejanni let’s fly to give Leeds the lead
Leeds should have been two goals to the good before the break but Sam Johnson superbly saved from Patrick Bamford and denied Helder Costa from the rebound.
The second half started with the visitors having the majority of possession. Pereira was causing the Leeds defence problems but his efforts on goal were stopped by Casilla and was wide with another effort. Leeds substitute Tyler Roberts, on for Jamie Shackleton had an effort dealt with by Johnson. Tyler Roberts was then surprisingly substituted by Luke Ayling for tactical reason, Stuart Dallas moving into the midfield.
West Bromwich continued to test the resolve of the home side, but time after time Leeds denied their opponents by putting bodies in their way. Substitute Zohore had two efforts that flew past the woodwork and Leeds held on past the ninety minutes mark to claim a very important three points.
Luke Ayling and Mateusz Klich celebrate the win.
This was just what supporters and players needed after a couple of poor results. Strangely for the first time this season the possession stats showed that the visitors had more than Leeds but the home side dominated on shots on goal.
Stand out players; Patrick Bamford was immense and was kicked throughout the ninety odd minutes but harried and refused to be bullied by the WBA defence, Stuart Dallas and Ben White were superb in defence and before going off injured Jamie Shackleton put in a great shift in midfield.
The first time we’ve had back to back home wins over the Albion since the 80’s. A great win.
I met David O’Leary pre game, lovely fella too.
By Keith Ingham