Leeds United 0 Southampton FC 1 – fallen at the last hurdle

Leeds United 0 Southampton FC 1 - fallen at the last hurdle. Ultimately, the players could not find a way past Southampton FC at the third attempt.

Leeds United 0 Southampton FC 1 – fallen at the last hurdle. Leeds made it to to the Championship Play-offs final at Wembley. But, at the final hurdle, the players could not find a way past a solidly organised Southampton FC, and could not replicate their superlative performance against Norwich FC in the second leg of the play-offs.

I’m proud of Leeds United reaching the play off finals. We were down and out last summer: a long and drawn out change of owner and a new manager, and a damaging loss of players. This cost our team two months at the beginning of the season whilst other clubs had a head start. The progress to the play-offs was itself an achievement and a base to build on.

In the play-offs Leeds were out-smarted by Southampton. Summerville and Gnonto were neutered by Southampton wingbacks. Rutter lacked experience in the middle to play closely enough with Piroe. Rodon – a rock in defence for the most of the season – lost his nerve in defence. If he expects promotion next season Farke needs to improve his tactics next season and bring in a Vinnie Jones type player who has the experience to drag Leeds through difficult teams.

Some players appeared to suffer stage fright and Leeds did not manage anything like enough shots on target to win. A rather belated arrival of substitute Dan James gave Leeds a late rally but the cross bar defeated us – he at least deserved to come on at half time. Rodon was poor in defence and Southampton exploited that by springing the offside trap and scoring from a rare shot on goal.

The championship is harsh. You come third and lose promotion over one game to a team who did the double over you despite beating the fact that you beat both the top two teams home and away over the season. Leeds may have achieved 90 points over the season – not since the ’90s has a Championship team scored 90 points and not been automatically promoted – but still had to go through the ignominy of play-offs knockout matches and face the cruel punishment of having fallen at the last hurdle.

Player of the match: Dan James who still managed to terrorise the Southampton defence with his head wound.

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