Leeds United 1 - West Bromwich Albion 1

Date: Friday 18th August 2023 Live on Sky Sports
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
(3-4-2-1) Meslier, Ayling, Rodon, Struijk, Byram, Gray, Ampadu, Shackleton, Gelhardt (Sinisterra, 83), James, Rutter
Unused subs: Klaesson, Cresswell, Gyabi, Greenwood, Bate, Darlow, Drameh
(4-2-3-1) Palmer 8.4, Ajayi 5.1, Kipré 4.5, Pieters 4.3 (Townsend, 76 5.8), Furlong 4.4, Molumby 5.5, Yokuslu 4.5 (Chalobah, 87 3.7), Phillips 6.4, Wallace 4.7 (Gardner-Hickman, 86 5.0), Swift 4.5 (Sarmiento, 69 5.0), Thomas-Asante 6.1 (Maja, 76 5.3)
Unused subs: Griffiths, Bartley, Mowatt, Fellows
Manager: Carlos Corberán  5.2
Scorers: Ayling (72); Thomas-Asante (52)
Referee: Matt Donohue 4.1
Attendance: 33,890   Home Fans 4.5   Away Fans 7.0
Submit your ratings for this game by clicking here: Ratings submitted so far: 11


Before the start of the season a point at Leeds would have been considered almost a bonus. However the ructions that have torn Leeds apart including injuries and key sales led me to believe that 3 points was possible. A cautious start led to Leeds upping their game and I felt we were lucky to get to half time at 0-0.

An upturn at the start of the second half eventually led to a goal that would have been disallowed with VAR. However once again the 60 minute syndrome set in and we were fortunate to come away with a point.

Worries persist about the contributions of Wallace, Swift and OKAY who seems unable to pass or close down at the moment. Ajayi's distribution is awful and Kipre is always on the brink.

Furlong's failure to close down James led to the equaliser. Phillips tried but was shot after 60 minutes.

Thank goodness for Palmer. A point is a point but two poor teams on the night.

Brendan Clegg:

Frustrating one that. Before the game I’d have taken a point. When I saw the lineup I’d have taken a point. Given how poorly I felt we played, the fortune in our goal and how good Palmer was a point is the most we deserved.

And yet… Leeds were not that great, we managed to get our noses in front and the win was there for us so it feels like two points dropped for me.

Dropping Townsend raised an eyebrow and our formation switched between 3-4-3 and 4-5-1 a lot - sometimes with Pieters as left back and sometimes with Phillips as wing back.

A solid enough first half with some problems:

  • Swift and Wallace hardly in it. Both worked hard off the ball but neither were any good on it - Swift not quick enough and Wallace too narrow, too isolated and almost under instruction not to cross it.
  • Creating our own problems with jeopardy football at the back - both Molumby and Okay really poor on the ball, Leeds shutting off their options.
  • Poor finishing - Phillips put in two great crosses so although we had no attempts on goal we fluffed the two best chances. BTA totally mistiming a header that was easier than Aylings finish… Furlong needing to only make solid contact with a cross on the run and he tried a sliding thing that just spooned it away.

In the second half we stepped it up, BTA nearly played in, Wallace hitting the bar via a great save and another good pass from Phillips, then finally a nothing corner led to a Molumby swing going in off BTA’s hand.

Given the number of times we’d got near their box on the right and not crossed it by this point… if I could’ve grabbed Carlos and shaken him by the shoulders to say ‘put the ball in the box and you might get lucky, championship defenders and goalies aren’t very good’ I would have. I’m sure I’m wrong and that waiting and waiting for the perfect moment increases your XG and therefore your G and all that, but it’s a bit dull and risk averse. Anyway… loved the Molumby celebration especially as he won’t claim the goal.

And then? Quite negative, no out ball, couldn’t pass for toffee. Palmer makes an unbelievable save that worried me he’d injured himself. And after such a save where you think he might’ve won us the game we go to sleep, allow a lazy flat cross in and then get caught not tracking and under the ball (Pieters) for Ayling to nod in. A nothing goal. Just put the ball in the box, championship defenders aren’t very good, etc., etc.

Bartley might well have made other mistakes in the night, probably wouldn’t have played as many ineffective triangle passes to nowhere, but he would’ve headed that away.

You’d have to say from there we did a "just enough" job to keep Leeds at bay and prevent any serious chances. Sarmiento and Maja came on but our formation and passing quality were miles away from giving them a chance to get on the ball and play. Okay was kept on for much longer. Not a lot happened.

A Friday night draw doesn’t spoil your entire weekend but if we keep playing that negatively away our away results won’t change. Let’s hope we’ve a couple of arrivals good enough to come into the starting 11 by next Saturday.

  • Palmer - 8 Extra mark for that one save. We’d have lost that game with Griffiths in goal.
  • Semi - 7 Pretty good for most of it but often had no ball out.
  • Kipre - 7 As above, a couple of good long passes. Maybe got lucky with a loose challenge that some refs would’ve given a pen for.
  • Pieters - 6 Okay but at fault for the goal.
  • Furlong - 5 Energy, athletic, hard work, fights, good long throw but too often his quality on the ball… first touch, pass, crossing are just so poor it kills us.
  • Okay - 5 Poor night but at no point did I feel anyone else would be better.
  • Molumby - 5 Was also poor, sloppy and slow on the ball, grafts as you expect but we need more.
  • Phillips - 7 Our best outfield player. Had little service but when he did get it was clinical… created 3 good chances and his power gives us a sturdier feel that few others offer.
  • Wallace - 4 His career has been about running and crossing. We’ve coached crossing out of him and he’s often so narrow that he can’t pick up the ball and run with it. Ineffective as a result of his instructions.
  • BTA - 6 Usual hard work and nicked a goal. Needs to receive and release it quicker.
  • Swift - 5 I’m a bit of a critic but he did run and press loads tonight. Hasn’t got the pace for this role but one spin and pass nearly came off.
  • Sarmiento - 5 Couldn’t get into it but the flashes of quality and speed look like he’ll be our best player. Can’t be far off a start and I’d like to see him for much longer next week.
  • Maja - 5 Not fit still but in these cameos the feet speed and thought speed are there… wins free kicks and throws where others would lose the ball. Encouraging.
  • TGH & Chalobah no real time to rate.

Kev Buckley:

The sides that Allardyce couldn't save: Leeds Utd 1 WBA 1

The pre-match commentary suggested that a three-goal win would see the Albion go top, but just three shots, albeit two on target, was always going to be very unlikely to produce that outcome.

Whilst the Albion have run out of parachute payments, Leeds seem to have not realised they would be getting some having, apparently, lost eleven players from the first team squad over the summer: four sold and seven gone out in loan.

Corberan's swap of Pieters for Townsend had the TV team thinking that we might be going 343 with the right-footed Phillips in behind the right-footed Swift on the right, but it started off looking like a more standard, as in with a right-footed player on the left of the three, 4231.

Five minutes in and the Leeds left-back dribbled inside and got off a shot that just curled wide of the far post, and, ten minutes after that, Molumby getting robbed on the half-way line gave Leeds a four on three which they seemed to have failed to make anything of, as Albion got players back, but then did get off a goalbound shot between Ajayi and Furlong which Palmer had to dive to push away.

Phillips would be involved into two attacking moves, first cutting back onto his right foot to deliver a cross that went just over the head of BTA and then misfiring at the near post after Furlong, who was often playing ahead of Wallace, delivered, the ball running on to BTA but his effort was blocked.

Leeds would nearly capitalise three times just before the half hour as Albion's attempt to play out from the back gave Leeds possession deep inside our half, first, with Palmer already diving to right, when the ball took a big deflection off Kipre taking the shot into the empty side of the goal, only to hit the post, secondly after an awful first touch from Molumby required him to pull back the player heading goalwards, and finally after Yokuslu was robbed in a similar area with Leeds unable to take advantage yet again.

The left-footed cross that Phillips delivered, with about ten to go, that was just too far in front of Furlong's stretch at the back post made you wonder why he constantly slows up our play down the left by cutting back onto his right, but that was about the last of the first half action, such as it was, with only 1 extra minute somewhat of a blessing.

Five minutes into the second and BTA did very well down the right to pull it back for Wallace at the near post but the keeper pushed his flicked shot onto the post and out for a corner that was driven in, hard and low, and took two deflections before arriving at Molumby's feet after which his shot took another two deflections, and so wrong footed the keeper. TV replays showed that it had been BTA's arm that caused the wrong-footing, but with no VAR in the second tier, the referee wouldn't have seen the reply until after the game.

It looked to me as though Albion retreated into a sit-back and hope 541, an approach which allowed Leeds to pull another fine save out of Palmer, this time getting fingertips onto one that was heading for the top corner but which only hit the bar.

Right after Sarmiento had replaced Swift, Leeds swung over a cross from their left that Pieters, not someone who has looked out of place in the middle at the back, seemed to forget how to play there and did not even bother to jump as the player he was nominally marking at the back post powered above him and headed home.

Instead of looking to hold on to three points, Albion now seemed to be trying hold on to one, with Palmer required pull off one more fine save before Corberan made changes as 75 minutes ticked over, although what the double like-for-like swapping of Townsend for Pieters and Maja for BTA, was supposed to actually change is open to question, and whilst, ten minutes later, another double substitution, Chalobah for the just booked Yokuslu and TGH for Wallace did see Phillips moving to the right wing, it didn't really change all that much.

Most of the seven minutes of stoppage time were taken up by Furlong delivering a series of long throws that came to nothing, apart from, perhaps, suggesting that we had run out of ideas as to how to add to our three shots on target, not that taking the lead from a four-time deflected dead-ball situation and then looking to hang on for half an hour was all that much of an idea in the first place.