By the final whistle half the pitch was cast in chill shadow and the remainder illuminated by bright April sunshine.
On the day Leeds broke through the 40-point barrier and Sheffield United took another inexorable step towards the Championship, it seemed symbolic of the contrasting fortunes of these Yorkshire rivals.
Granted, Leeds missed sufficient early chances to have won much more comfortably but, with their guests refusing to surrender, Oliver Burke came close as Sheffield United ultimately forced Bielsa’s tiring team into semi-retreat.
“It’s very difficult for victory to compensate for the loss of someone,” said the Leeds manager. “But it’s better to have one to say goodbye to an extraordinary person.”
Jack Harrison’s seventh goal of the season gave Leeds a 12th-minute lead. The opposite of a high velocity Lorimer-esque rocket into the top corner, his simple tap-in arrived thanks to an amalgam of Raphinha’s wonderful close control and Patrick Bamford’s clever decoy manoeuvre
When Tyler Roberts’s pass found Raphinha, the ball seemed super-glued to the right winger’s feet as he bypassed Enda Stevens before rolling the ball across the six-yard box for Harrison to apply the final touch.
If Leeds had self destructed they were rightly aggrieved at Graham Scott’s earlier failure to send off, or even book, George Baldock in the wake of an awful, two-footed, thoroughly reckless challenge on Roberts. A blow to the head sustained during that wince-inducing clash led to Baldock departing a little later, apparently concussed.
Heckingbottom subsequently looked dismayed as Phil Jagielka turned the ball into his own net after endeavouring to prevent Harrison’s cross reaching the waiting Raphinha.
Heckingbottom’s players had not done enough to prevent Leeds reaching 42 points. “The effort and fight was there,” he said. “But there were too many moments when we lacked quality.”