Leeds United revival proves shortlived

Matt Smith has a header saved against Nottingham Forest. Picture: Simon Hulme
Matt Smith has a header saved against Nottingham Forest. Picture: Simon Hulme
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Leeds United’s revival ended at two games as they produced a poor display to lose 2-0 at home to Nottingham Forest at Elland Road.

After wins over Blackpool and Barnsley in their previous two games there was never much chance of making it a hat-trick as the Whites were chasing the game from the second minute.

Forest went ahead from their first attack when Stephen McLaughlin found a hole in the Leeds back four to send Matt Derbyshire clear to coolly shoot past keeper Jack Butland.

The home keeper did save from Ben Osborn’s header soon after, but lack lustre Leeds went two down on 16 minutes as Derbyshire took advantage of a defensive error by Scott Wootton to round Butland and effectively kill the game off before it had started.

United were nothing short of dreadful in the opening half, their only semblance of a threat being a Ross McCormack free-kick that was not far wide.

Forest were not much more than organised and did not have to be as they coasted to a two-goal half-time lead.

They could have added to their tally when Osborn got in a decent strike from distance, but Butland got down to save.

Leeds were much better after the break as they added some urgency to their play at last. Luke Murphy’s shot clipped off Noel Hunt to bring about one save from Dorus De Vries and the Forest keeper also saved from a McCormack free-kick.

McCormack and substitute Matt Smith were both off target with difficult volleys and Michael Tonge sliced a shot wide, injuring himself in the process.

Another of the subs, Danny Pugh, hit the crossbar with a mis-hit cross and Tom Lees and Smith both sent headers over, but in truth Forest remained comfortable at the back even if they offered nothing of an attacking threat in the second half.

Forest’s young substitute keeper Dimitar Evtimov looked nervous after coming on late on, but was only called on to make one proper save, pushing a Smith header wide.

This was a match to forget and will not live long in the memory of any fan that wasted their Bank Holiday going to Elland Road or anyone watching on Sky.

Match facts

Leeds United 0

Nottingham Forest 2

(Derbyshire 2, 16)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Sky Bet Championship

Att: 20,517

Leeds: Butland; Wootton, Lees, Pearce, Warnock; Murphy, Brown, Tonge; Austin; McCormack, Hunt (Smith 60).

Forest: De Vries (Evtimov 80); Harding, Collins, Lascelles, Halford, Vaughan (Greening 54), Paterson (Jara 82), Osborn, McLaughlin, Derbyshire, Mackie.

Referee: I Williamson.