It was more trick than treat in the end as Leeds United managed to squander a lead to suffer their third straight home defeat in a bit of a Halloween shocker against Derby County at Elland Road.
United led early through Pierre-Michel Lasogga’s fifth goal of the season and looked comfortable without playing well until they conceded two goals in seven minutes to lose out again with the winner coming from a controversial penalty so in keeping with the date there was a villain to boo in referee Simon Hooper.
There was no comeback in the last 10 minutes plus five minutes of added time and the 2-1 loss was Leeds’ sixth in seven matches as their early season form has now evaporated.
After starting poorly against Sheffield United in their previous defeat Leeds were sharper this time and took the lead after just eight minutes when Ronaldo Vieira won the ball in midfield and quickly sent Samuel Saiz racing away. The Spanish playmaker then found Lasogga who found the net with a powerful strike hit early into the bottom corner.
Another chance followed within a minute from an identical move involving Vieira and Saiz, but Ezgjan Alioski saw his opportunity disappear after he took an extra touch and could not get a shot away.
The rest of the half lacked excitement, however, although Matthew Pennington made a great block to deny Sam Winnall in the box.
The big talking point of the half came when Kemar Roofe got round the back of the Derby defence and Saiz looked set to head in at the far post. The defender made contact with the player and none on the ball, but the Leeds star also tried to make a lot of it after the ball sailed over his head and no penalty was forthcoming. It was to prove a big moment in the match.
United looked to start the second half as they had the first as Roofe cut in from his wing only to fire over from the angle of the box.
Chris Martin saw a 25-yard shot deflected wide at the other end, but there was little danger for a home back four with Pontus Jansson back to somewhere near his best.
Alioski’s cross-come shot on the volley from wide out was turned away for a corner by Derby keeper Scott Carson, but disappointingly the former Leeds custodian was not tested further apart from having to punch away a corner.
Instead it was Derby who came on stronger. Martin could not quite reach a low cross in the box then turned well outside the area only to see his low shot saved by Andy Lonergan.
Saiz did go on a fantastic run after keeping the ball in on the touchline from a Jansson clearance, but fired his shot over from the edge of the box.
Derby came up with their best move of the game on 73 minutes and were level as Craig Forsyth overlapped down the left at pace and his low cross was tapped in from close range by Winnall.
Alioski headed wide under pressure from a Saiz cross as the Whites looked to go back in front, but it was 2-1 soon after when substitute Hadi Sacko was adjudged to have fouled Tom Lawrence.
There was not much contact, but it was clumsy from the home winger, although replays have suggested the Derby player was outside the box.
A penalty was given this time by referee Simon Hooper, who had made a number of mistakes throughout that had angered both sets of fans and Winnall stepped up to put the ball past Lonergan for what proved the winner.
Leeds huffed and puffed to get a late equaliser, but only fashioned one chance when Lasogga lashed a shot just over from the edge of the box after latching onto a flick on by Jay-Roy Grot.
Head coach Thomas Christiansen was unhappy with the winning goal and that Leeds were denied a first half spot kick.
He said: “In the mood I am right now it is best not to speak on it too much.
“There was a clear penalty for us in the 40th minute and they were given one that I think was not in the box. I feel impotent right now.
“I am sad for the players that they were punished in that way.
“I believe we had one of our best games defensively in the first half.
“I think we did enough to win the game. At 1-1 it was not good enough, but until their first goal they did not have anything but shots from outside the box.
“I take my responsibilities but there’s some things I can’t control. Another defeat is very bad, yes, and we have to change, but there are some other things I cannot control.”
Derby manager Gary Rowett said: “Leeds need the first goal because they break on you with pace, they are a fast side that can hurt you. But we’ve shown character in games and we kept our patience.
“Once we got the goal we were much the stronger team and deserved the win.
“I said to the players at half-time if you get one goal they will not react well.
“With the penalty it is hard to see if he is inside the box. I can understand Leeds being a bit disappointed with that, but we thought it was a foul for the first goal so things evened themselves out.”
Leeds United 1
Derby County 2
(Winnall 73, Winnall 80, pen)
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Sky Bet Championship
Leeds: Lonergan, Ayling, Pennington (Grot 84), Jansson, Dallas, Roofe (Sacko 76), O’Kane, Vieira, Saiz, Alioski (Hernandez 84), Lasogga.
Derby: Carson, Wisdom, Keogh, Davies, Forsyth, Lawrence, Huddlestone, Ledley (Wiemann 68), Johnson, Winnall (Thorne 87), Martin.
Referee: Simon Hooper