It was Paul Heckingbottom’s first game in charge of Leeds United and, whilst it was not a classic, there was plenty for the new man in charge to chew over.
Rather than being ripped apart, torn asunder and thrown to one side like a rag doll as they were against Cardiff City last time out, it was two moments of lacked concentration that ultimately cost Heckingbottom’s side anything from the game.
Hardly out of the blocks and with just 75 seconds on the clock and the Blades were proving a cut above with Billy Sharp putting them into the lead. A ball in, a missed header and an unmarked Sharp near the penalty spot were all that was needed for the home side to go a very early one goal up.
Indiscipline has cost Leeds United dearly in recent games, and by 20 minutes gone the Whites already had two names in the referee’s pocket book in Adam Forshaw (5′) and Kemar Roofe (20′). Roofe didn’t see the half out, brought off on 45 minutes and being replaced with Spaniard Pablo Hernandez.
Hernandez’s first contribution was to almost haul the Whites back in to the game, his pin-point delivery from a free-kick meeting a diving Pontus Jansson, his header forcing a fantastic save from Jamal Blackman in the Sheffield United goal.
Denied at the end of the first-half turned into rewarded at the start of the second-half for the talented Spaniard. Latching on to an over-pushed ball from a Blades defender running out from the back, Hernandez advanced up the left touchline before cutting back in and placing a deft chipped cross onto the head of Pierre-Michel Lasogga. His guided header beat the despairing dive of Blackman to haul the Whites back level.
Chances were there for both sides to take all three points but it was the home side that emerged victorious. It was another moment of lackadaisical application and a definite ‘eyes-shut’ moment as a well-worked free-kick into the Leeds area saw Eunan O’Kane’s hapless challenge result in a penalty. Up stepped Billy Sharp, the ex-Leeds United striker, and duly slotted home what proved to be the winning goal.
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