Bobby Thomas header denies Leeds chance to close on automatic promotion places

By Sports Desk December 16, 2023

Leeds missed the chance to close the gap on the Championship’s automatic promotion places as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Coventry at Elland Road.

Second-placed Ipswich had drawn 2-2 at Norwich in the early kick off but Daniel Farke’s side failed to take advantage.

Crysencio Summerville opened the scoring with nearly an hour gone after being set up by Georginio Rutter.

Defender Bobby Thomas hit back with 66 minutes played as he rose highest to head home.

Leeds did not start at their usual fast pace which had seen them win seven Championship home matches in a row.

Ben Sheaf’s fine tackle denied Joel Piroe a chance to shoot as Leeds looked to add a goal to their early dominance.

Sheaf brought a save out of Illan Meslier with a shot from the edge of the area.

Tatsuhiro Sakamoto then shot wide from a similar position as Coventry created another opening.

Leeds twice went close as first Glen Kamara was crowded out in the Coventry area and then Rutter failed to get a touch to a low Dan James cross.

James fell in the Coventry area under pressure from Joel Latibeaudiere as they chased an Ethan Ampadu pass but referee Geoff Eltringham rightly ruled there was no contact.

Leeds were guilty of trying to be too cute at both ends of the pitch and Rutter’s touch which failed to put Archie Gray through with a run on goal was typical of that.

Rutter flashed a shot just wide, Thomas blocked the French striker’s low cross and Joe Rodon headed a corner off target as Leeds looked for an opening.

Ampadu blocked Sheaf’s pass and Summerville fed Rutter but his missed shot meant another chance went begging in a goalless first half.

Leeds began the second period camped in the Coventry half but were unable once again to turn their early dominance into a real chance.

Rutter’s shot was blocked in the area but he had a telling contribution to the opening goal after 57 minutes.

Ampadu fed Rutter and his clever touch and pass set up Summerville who curled a low shot around the dive of Brad Collins.

Collins pulled off a one-handed save to deny James who shot on the turn and Coventry made Leeds pay for wasted chances as Thomas headed home the equaliser.

Sakamoto’s cross from the right saw the defender rise highest in the area to head past Meslier.

Substitute Callum O’Hare should have made it 2-1 to the visitors but could not connect with a low cross.

Summerville’s attempt at a repeat of his goal was repelled by Collins who also denied Rutter twice in quick succession and James hooked just wide in stoppage time as Coventry held on.

Related items

  • Liverpool line up Feyenoord coach Slot as Klopp replacement Liverpool line up Feyenoord coach Slot as Klopp replacement

    Arne Slot appears to be at the front of the queue to replace Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool manager.

    Klopp confirmed in January that he would be leaving the Reds at the end of the season.

    Xabi Alonso, who has led Bayer Leverkusen to their first Bundesliga title, was swiftly established as a leading candidate to take the helm at Anfield, where he starred as a player for the Reds between 2004 and 2009.

    The 42-year-old, however, is staying put in Germany, and Liverpool's search for Klopp's successor has taken them to Feyenoord's door.

    Slot has been previously linked to jobs in the Premier League. Leeds United wanted to appoint him last season before their relegation to the Championship, while he was targeted by Tottenham before they appointed Ange Postecoglou.

    The Dutchman intimated when linked with Spurs: "A normal next step would be to go abroad and I've always said that the best league in the world is the Premier League."

    Ideally, Liverpool will be aiming for a coach who can come close to replicating Klopp's style of play, and in particular has a flair for working with and developing young players.

    Slot has enjoyed fantastic success in Rotterdam. He became Feyenoord head coach in December 2022, after leaving AZ, and went on to win the Eredivisie title in 2022-23, having reached the Europa League final in the previous season.

    The 45-year-old has a 64.4 per cent win record from 146 games in charge, winning 94, drawing 29 and losing just 23.

    His Feyenoord team have scored 329 goals, an average of 2.2 per match, conceding 147 in return. Slot's points per game is a hugely impressive 2.13.

    Feyenoord are, though, set to relinquish their Eredivisie crown, as they trail leaders PSV by nine points. They have, however, won the KNVB Cup this term. 

    As there is no break clause in the Dutchman's contract, it has been reported that a compensation fee in the region of €10million (£8.5m) could prise him away from Feyenoord.

    Sporting CP boss Ruben Amorim is another coach who has been heavily linked with the Liverpool job, albeit he is reportedly in talks with West Ham.

  • Enzo Maresca delighted as ‘fantastic’ Leicester move to brink of promotion Enzo Maresca delighted as ‘fantastic’ Leicester move to brink of promotion

    Enzo Maresca praised his Leicester players for the 5-0 thrashing of Southampton that put the Foxes a win away from clinching automatic promotion.

    Ghana winger Abdul Fatawu scored three of them, with Wilfred Ndidi and Jamie Vardy also on target.

    Leicester need only to win at Preston on Monday, or at home to Blackburn on the final day, to make sure they will finish ahead of at least one of Leeds or Ipswich. Indeed, if Leeds lose at QPR on Friday Leicester will be up before they take to the field again.

    Maresca, in his first season as City manager, said: “I don’t think that was the best performance of the season but the performance was fantastic, very good on and off the ball.

    “We could have been better on the ball but we are all very happy because the opposition are a fantastic team.

    “The good thing about tonight is that now we know that with one win we get promoted.

    “It was a good feeling at the end, the fans have been fantastic.”

    Fatawu, on loan from Sporting Lisbon, opened the scoring in the 25th minute when Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall played him through. The 20-year-old might have been offside but the flag stayed down. Southampton manager Russell Martin was also aggrieved that a challenge on Saints striker Che Adams by City defender Wout Faes was not given as a foul by referee Robert Madley.

    The second half belonged to Leicester though, with Ndidi charging in to head home a cross from Stephy Mavididi to double the lead.

    Fatawu struck again in the 75th minute when he accepted a pass from substitute Hamza Choudhury before smashing past goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.

    Fatawu set up Vardy for a well-taken fourth and completed the rout with an emphatic finish after the former England striker returned the favour.

    Maresca, however, joked: “I just said ‘next game you will be on the bench’ because with Abdul and young players especially, after three goals he is already thinking he is a top player.”

    Saints – famously beaten 9-0 by Leicester in the Premier League in 2019 – must now pick themselves up for the play-offs barring an extraordinary combination of results and scorelines.

    Martin made it clear he would not be doing that for them though, so disappointed was he with their capitulation.

    “The players need to show a bit of love for each other and pick each other up, I’m fed up of doing that,” he said.

    “They need to feel some pain – the same pain that I’m feeling right now.

    “Rolling over like that, it’s actually pathetic, losing 5-0. They have to rally round as a group and show some care for each other.

    “I did not like what I saw from my team one bit at 2-0 down. Self-preservation, our body language and people throwing their hands up in the air.

    “It surprised me actually. What can you do? I told them I didn’t like it.

    “I told them Che Adams is out of contract this summer and the one person who has the excuse if he didn’t really want to be all in and not work hard for his team, but he did that more than anyone. So it was inexcusable for anyone else not to do that.

    “The fans were amazing, they were still clapping at the end and deserved better than that.”

  • Grant McCann hails ‘outstanding’ response as Doncaster close on play-off spot Grant McCann hails ‘outstanding’ response as Doncaster close on play-off spot

    Grant McCann was a proud man after Doncaster won 4-1 at Colchester to register a 10th straight victory and move into the play-off places.

    Colchester took a ninth-minute lead through Jayden Fevrier, who converted Tom Hopper’s cross at the far post, but remain in relegation danger after Rovers’ emphatic comeback.

    Luke Molyneux equalised after collecting Jamie Sterry’s short free-kick and scoring with a low 25-yard shot and Doncaster took a 22nd-minute lead through Harrison Biggins, who netted from close range from Molyneux’s delivery.

    Tom Anderson netted a third in the 76th minute at the near post from Hakeeb Adelakun’s pass, and Joe Ironside sealed victory when he converted after Sam Hornby had tipped James Maxwell’s shot onto a post.

    A point on the final day against Gillingham will seal a play-off spot regardless of results elsewhere and McCann said: “I’m really proud.

    “Obviously conceding early wasn’t ideal for us but the response was outstanding.

    “We scored two very good goals, the first one from Mols (Molyneux) and the second one was another very good goal and something we knew could help us in the game, Biggo’s (Biggins) runs from the centre circle in between the posts after good play by Mols.

    “In the first half, we were a little bit edgy and it was a little bit even Steven in the game.

    “But in the second half, we were really comfortable and scored another couple of really good goals.

    “We always play for more goals; we never sit tight and take what we’ve got – that’s just the way we like to go about things.

    “We came up against a team that’s obviously down the wrong end of the table and we knew it was going to be tough.”

    Fevrier had Colchester on track to secure survival but they go into Saturday’s final game just three points above the drop zone, with their goal difference superior by four over Sutton.

    Colchester boss Danny Cowley said: “It was a tough night for us.

    “We have the ability to self-harm, to self-destruct, in a game where we let four terrible goals in.

    “For 75 minutes, it was 2-1 and they’ve had three shots at goal, two from 30 yards, and somehow they’re winning the game.

    “We were 2-1 down at half-time where we felt we shouldn’t have been, as we’d done a lot right.

    “We were in total ascendency and they don’t even want to score any more goals, they want to hang onto what they’ve got and we gift them another two goals.

    “I’ve just looked back at the goals and they’re very hard to defend.

    “We actually played well box to box but you can’t say you’ve played well when we’ve conceded the goals that we have.

    “It’s a damaging night and I’m really angry. We just did the basics so poorly.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.