Timid Leeds United suffer another home defeat

Jordan Botaka, lively display after coming on as substitute for Leeds United.
Jordan Botaka, lively display after coming on as substitute for Leeds United.
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Leeds United’s long run without a home win goes on after they fell to a 2-0 defeat to a well organised Birmingham City team at Elland Road.

Goals from Demarai Gray in the first half and Jacques Maghoma in second half injury-time condemned the Whites to their third defeat in four games in the Sky Bet championship and they are still waiting for a first home win this season.

They are also still without a first half goal at Elland Road this season after they were once again left chasing the game after not getting out of the blocks quick enough.

Once again there was a second half improvement and a spell in which they were unlucky not to get a goal, but unless they can get going earlier in home games they look to be in for a long, hard campaign.

The Warning signs that Birmingham were a sharp side on the break were there early as Gray got in behind the defence in the seventh minute only to see his shot roll wide.

Chris Wood, back after injury, saw a shot blocked at the other end following a decent move, but again it was the visitors looking dangerous on 12 minutes when Maikel Kieftenbeld was free in the box, but could only get a weak header in.

David Davis powered a long range shot over after David Cotterill’s free-kick had bounced to him off a defensive wall.

Gaetano Berardi, once again one of Leeds’ best performers, got forward from right-back and forced the first save from Birmingham keeper Tomasz Kuszczak, albeit and easy once from a weak shot on the turn on the edge of the box.

But it was Birmingham who went ahead just past the half-hour when Clayton Donaldson ran on to a long ball and got in behind Liam Cooper. The United defender recovered to get a tackle in, but the ball only went to Gray who advanced before lashing a shot past Marco Silvestri into the top of the net.

Silvestri did save, at two attempts, from a Cotterill free-kick and also kept out a low Gray shot from the edge of the box while Wood could get no power in a header from a Berardi cross at the other end.

Leeds’ best chance of the half came near the end when Dallas found room in the box only to see his angled shot well saved by Kuszczak.

United looked to up their performance level after the break as Alex Mowatt got a shot in only for it to be comfortably saved. Sol Bamba then headed narrowly wide from a corner.

Donaldson sliced wide for Birmingham after getting on the end of another long ball that was not dealt with by the home defence.

Head coach Uwe Rosler made his first change, putting on Jordan Botaka for new boy Will Buckley, who looked woefully short of fitness and confidence on his debut, and suddenly the hosts had more threat.

They created their best chance on 67 minutes when Cook was set free in the box only to see his shot beaten away by Kuszczak.

Birmingham quickly turned defence into attack and Gray got clear. His low cross was just cut out by Bamba, but fell to Maghoma whose shot was cleared off the line by Cooper.

Mirco Antenucci was introduced as Leeds switched from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-4-2 and they continued to make the running with Botaka showing good touches on the right wing.

But they failed to create another clear chance, although Bamba headed wide from one of the 13 corners they forced.

It was all over in the first minute of injury-time when Maghoma fired past Silvestri to make it 2-0.

Botaka hit an angled shot narrowly wide and saw another effort deflected wide as he kept going to the final whistle, but this was another game in which Leeds had not done enough to win at home and stretches their winless run to 10 at Elland Road.

Head coach Rosler was disappointed in his side’s display.

He said: “Birmingham City didn’t surprise us, they were well organised, packed the midfield and have pace on the wings.

“Their goal was a foul and we didn’t get a break. We ended up chasing the game and at the moment we can’t break teams down that are sitting deep.

“Teams don’t need to work very hard to score against us. We are not blaming anybody, we stick together. Offensively and defensively we can be better.

“It is not always about playing nice football, sometimes you have to be nasty.

“Going into the next home game we have to find the right answers.

“The expectation level will not change at Elland Road. At home at the moment we don’t get in right. Our body language and we need to be more aggressive and have a more determined approach to our game. We need to make things happen and not wait for them to happen.”

Match facts

Leeds United 0

Birmingham City 2

(Gray 31, Maghoma 90+1)

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Sky Bet Championship

Attendance: 24,601

Leeds: Silvestri, Berardi (Byram 73), Bamba, Cooper, Taylor, Buckley (Botaka 57), Cook, Murphy, Mowatt (Antenucci 67), Dallas, Wood.

Birmingham City; Kuszcak, Caddis, Morrison, Robinson, Grounds, Cotterilll (Maghoma 63), Kieftenbeld, Davis (Spector 74), Gleeson, Gray (Solomon-Otabor 81), Donaldson.

Referee: Paul Tierney