Late goal denies Leeds United fifth straight home win
Leeds United threw away two points in injury time as they had to settle for a 1-1 draw against a poor Wigan team at Elland Road.
Head coach Garry Monk was left to rue his decisions to take off winger Hadi Sacko, playmaker Pablo Hernandez and goal scorer Chris Wood in the second half as his team’s bid to sit back came unstuck in the first minute of added time.
Wigan, who had huffed and puffed, but never really looked like scoring in the closing stages could not believe their luck as a corner was met at the far post and headed back across goal by Max Power to Shaun MacDonald who smashed the ball in off the woodwork.
It was too late for United to reply and the home crowd was left stunned and unhappy with the tactics after the side had seemed to be heading for a fifth successive home win.
Whether they would have deserved that win was another question, however, as apart from a strong display by Wood up front their play lacked threat at times.
The Whites, whose team showed one change with Kemar Roofe in for Alex Mowatt on the left flank, took 11 minutes for their first serious attack when Pablo Hernandez combined well with Charlie Taylor down the left only to send a weak volley on the stretch wide.
Wood went closer with a turn and shot from the edge of the box that forced Wigan keeper Adam Bogdan into his first save.
At the other end Wigan fashioned their first chance as Michael Jacobs’ snap shot was comfortably gathered by Rob Green.
United took the lead in the 29th minute when Hadi Sacko looked to have overrun the ball down the right wing, but was given it back by Dan Burn and produced a cross that picked out Wood in the box. The big striker had a lot to do, but chested the ball down and smacked a sweet volley into the corner of the net for the opening goal.
Within a minute Leeds threatened again as Roofe looked to race clear only to be pulled down in the edge of the box. The free-kick came to nothing, but soon after Sacko’s shot from range was deflected wide.
Wigan responded as Jacobs found himself free in the box only to see his shot hit the post.
A Will Grigg shot was then deflected wide and from the resulting corner Green saved Jake Buxton’s header and Wood cleared off the line to deny Nick Powell’s follow-up.
Leeds got back in the ascendancy at the start of the second half with Jansson heading a free-kick over. Sacko got clear down the right only to see his shot from a tight angle deflected for a corner and from it Jansson bundled an effort over the bar.
Buxton sent a near post header over from a corner for Wigan, but United were still looking dangerous at this point with Luke Ayling seeing a low shot parried away by Bogdan.
The resulting corner was met by Jansson again, but his goalbound header was cleared off the line by Buxton.
Wood’s looping header looked to be heading for the top corner, but Bogdan made a fine save and it stayed 1-0.
Leeds then lost all their momentum after Monk made the substitutions and created precious little for the final 20 minutes.
They invited Wigan on and Max Power sent a lob just over.
The game seemed to be fading out to a 1-0 win when the visitors won a corner as the match went into four minutes of injury time. MacDonald scored from it and Wigan had a point to take back with them, leaving Leeds in 13th place.
Head coach Monk reckons his side would have to learn lessons from the game.
He said: “We are very disappointed not to get the three points, we paid a very high price at the end.
“After going in front we have to be more determined to get that second and third goal.
“We need to not rest and try and dominate. We need to go on and get a second and a third goal, that is the next step for the group.
“We are growing as a team and hopefully the team can continue to grow and get points. We have to allow the players to grow.
“When we got the goal it was the perfect opportunity to kick on with the crowd behind us.
“If we make that game 2-0 we kill them and it is game over. We are not far away, this group can learn and grow.
“We had some good chances to make the game comfortable and we didn’t take them.
“Wigan are a decent enough team but we should have won, we had the best chances.”
Leeds United 1
Wigan Athletic 1
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Leeds: Green, Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Taylor, Phillips, O’Kane, Hernandez (Mowatt 73), Roofe, Sacko (Grimes 66), Wood (Antonsson 85).
Wigan: Bogdan, Byrne (Gomez 62), Buxton (Morgan 62), Burn, Warnock, MacDonald, Perkins, Power, Powell, Jacobs (Wildschut 45), Grigg.
Referee: Peter Bankes.