- English Football League - Championship
- Saturday, February 15th 2020
- Elland Road
James Crawley reports from Elland Road
Report: Leeds United 1-0 Bristol City
Saturday, February 15th 2020
Luke Ayling’s first-half goal was enough to sink City at a wet and windy Elland Road, as the host’s capitalised on a dominant first-half display.
The former Robins right-back returned to haunt his former club, providing the finishing touch after a melee of blocked shots inside the 16th minute.
City improved in the second half though and even had calls for a penalty dismissed.
Nahki Wells went closest to equalising with a shot which sailed narrowly off target, though the visitors had an in-form Dan Bentley and the crossbar to prevent Leeds from running away with the game, though 1-0 was how it ended.
Tomas Kalas and Nathan Baker returned to Lee Johnson’s defence in two of four changes from the midweek win over Derby. Joining the pair in Yorkshire were Han-Noah Massengo and Andreas Weimann with Korey Smith, Jack Hunt, Famara Diédhiou and Filip Benković all missing out.
Experienced Wales international Ashley Williams captained the side in the absence of Smith, who was risked after suffering a knock on Wednesday night.
City had the chance to go level on points with Leeds United, who started the day in second place, but it would be a tough opening half in difficult conditions with the home settling quickly. In fact, City would have to weather the storm in more ways than one, with Leeds flying forward and enjoying plenty of the ball early on.
With the Robins on the backfoot, Whites captain Liam Cooper went close to opening the scores with a glancing header, before former City defender Ayling popped up with the opening goal.
His initial shot was blocked which led to ping pong in the penalty area. City threw bodies on the line with further efforts from Jack Harrison and Mateusz Klich denied, but with Johnson’s men unable to clear, the ball fell back to Ayling who blasted the ball past Dan Bentley from close range.
An offside call disallowed Leeds’ pursuit of a second not long after when Patrick Bamford looked to capitalise on a rebound off the bar, and the striker wasted another shot from outside the box, with Bentley far from troubled.
The City keeper did well to parry a low shot from Helder Costa, who was proving a constant threat down Leeds’ right, before Johnson made his first switch of the afternoon with Callum O’Dowda introduced for Weimann.
City were soon seeing more of the ball, if only marginally more, but the Republic of Ireland international would be involved in City’s first real clear-cut attack. The midfielder found himself in a wide position where he held up play, before finding Jay Dasilva in support. His cross was headed goalwards by Jamie Paterson, but it was light work for Kiko Casilla in the United goal.
And they looked brighter after the break and could arguably have had the chance to level from the penalty spot. But City's appeals for a handball were waved away by the referee before, Henriksen's effort from distance rose over the crossbar.
Johnson would look to his second substitution on the hour-mark with Diédhiou on to replace Paterson, with a change in attack plan in a bid to find an equaliser.
But while Leeds’ relentless nature has subdued somewhat, they still caused a threat from wide positions.
Harrison saw a whipped ball across the face of goal narrowly avoid the sliding Costa, who was later in behind the City backline. He opted the square the pass to Bamford on this occasion, but Bentley blocked superbly to deny a simple tap-in on paper before Kalas could clear the danger.
And Bentley would be the hero again when Costa ran through one-on-one after racing on to a long free kick. The Leeds man’s took the ball past Bentley but with the goal gaping, the shot-stopper miraculously recovered to get a touch to the ball as Costa looked to pull the trigger.
City’s final change came soon after with Kasey Palmer replacing Eliasson, with Johnson throwing everything he could to rescue a point at least at Elland Road.
And Wells nearly delivered. Diédhiou slipped a superb through ball behind the Leeds defence, which Wells latched on to but with a narrow angle he lashed hit shot off target, the ball rippling the side netting on its way.
Harrison would rifle a late shot off the crossbar as Leeds were denied doubling their advantage and substitute Jean-Kevin Augustin fired wide before the final whistle confirmed the result.
It means City’s 41-year wait for a win at Elland Road continues.
Next up for Johnson’s men are West Bromwich Albion at Ashton Gate next Saturday.
- Ayling (16')
- Pablo Hernández, Patrick Bamford
- Niclas Eliasson, Jamie Paterson, Andreas Weimann