Leeds United 0 Sunderland 0

Last updated : 11 April 2024 By David Watkins

9th April, 2024, EFL Championship.

Another very disappointing result from another game in which we dominated the possession but just did not create enough with it. We seem to have lost our cutting edge just when we need it most and this was another performance reminiscent of several we saw early in the season when we also often failed to break down sides intent on an eleven-man defence.

At the end of the day, we gained a point on Leicester who failed to match our result at the Den but the games are running out and the expectation has to be that Ipswich will not stumble against Watford tomorrow. We should have made more out of tonight’s games.

The truly creative players in our squad – Summerville, James, and Georginio – all came up short of what we know they can do for some reason. Is the season’s slog finally catching up with them? Who knows? Maybe we should have changed things up earlier than we did – the roar that greeted Mat Joseph every time he appeared on the touchline was a clear sign as to what the crowd wanted but, once again, Daniel Farke trusted mainly in his starting eleven until the final ten minutes. He must have a dilemma now as to whether to stick or twist for the Blackburn match on Saturday which we all know will be another very similar challenge with Rovers still probably needing a few more points to be certain of not going down. And a sobering thought is that Blackburn won 5  -1 against the Black Cats only a few days ago!

We have to mention referee Tim Robinson too – yet another very poor Championship referee. By most accounts, there were two very clear handball shouts in this game, albeit one was obscured from my view by the posts and one by the fact it was 100 yards away. Daniel Farke was clear about them and the second one at least got a mention on TalkSport radio while I was driving home – it has been labeled ‘a shocker!’ The referee’s refusal to sanction the Sunderland keeper for his time-wasting was also irksome and to add only three minutes at the end was ridiculous – though he did, in the end, add another minute and a half for the time wasting during added time.

We can’t blame the ref for not winning the game though, that comes down to our lack of creativity and the ponderous way we often attacked. To manage just a single shot on target in a game where we had 70% of the possession beggars belief, we have to find a way to do better than that in the remaining four games in which, at the moment at least, all four of our opponents might  still have something to play for and with ‘not losing’ probably being their main aim. It’s worth noting we won 13 corners tonight too, but I can’t remember a single half-chance we created from any of them. It was a similar story on Saturday at Coventry in respect of our possession, shots on target and ineffective corners. The one pleasing difference was that we did appear much more solid in defence this time, although Sunderland didn’t exactly test us that much.

The odds must be on Leeds facing the daunting challenge of the playoffs at the moment but, as we saw with Leicester tonight, that can change match by match, but you’d have to think we now need to win at least three of our remaining games if not all of them to snatch one of those two priceless spots at the top.


Sky Bet Championship

Leeds United 0

Sunderland 0

Leeds: Meslier (GK), Firpo, Ampadu (C), Kamara (Gnonto 71’), Bamford (Piroe 82’), Summerville, Rodon, James (Joseph 82’), Gray (Roberts 82’), Rutter, Gruev. Subs not used: Darlow (GK), Cresswell, Cooper, Anthony, Byram.

Sunderland: Patterson (GK), Ballard, Pembele (Alese 69’), Bellingham (Semedo 90’), O’Nien (C), Clarke, Neil, Styles, Rigg (Roberts 59’), Hume, Ekwah. Subs not used: Bishop (GK), Mundle, Ba, Aouchiche, Hjelde, Dack. 

Referee: Tim Robinson

Booked: Firpo (Leeds) Ballard, O’Nien, Rigg, Bellingham (Sunderland)

Venue: Elland Road

Attendance: 36,793