It was great to see Leeds fans in full force after 15 months of fake football noise. Hernandez and Gerardo started for their last match and at Elland Road with a crowd – this was just as important as the match itself. Casilla and Alioski also started but will it be their last game?
It was a messy start with West Brom repeatedly attacking the Leeds goal. Luckily Casilla was doing his job. But Leeds soaked up it and went on the counter attack with a flick from Rodrigo to Harrison but Harrison was clearly offside. After all the initial excitement Leeds began to control their defence better.
The Leeds defence held up without Koch and Llorrente – Phillips and Cooper looked confident in defence. West Brom played games and went down easily but the referee was usually fair.
When the first goal came it was a peach. The cross from Raphinha went straight through a a line of players in the penalty box including Berardi and Harrison but Rodrigo was there to head into the far corner. There was more nervous defending and Casilla with his slippery hands just managing a save. When Hernandez got hold of the ball he showed his old skill spreading the ball.
It was a disjointed first half. Poor defending allowing West Brom time to build. Poor passing meant we didn’t build into their penalty box. #
Bamford replaced Rodrigo at the start of the second half, just for the fun of it. The second half got off to a perfect start when Phillips took a long range free kick over the wall into the corner of the net. To be honest the keeper should have had it covered but it bounced over him instead.
The second half seemed to be all about helping Hernandez to score causing mayhem in the West Brom penalty box. But West Brom were undaunted. At one point West Brom did everything but score in the Leeds penalty box as four Leeds players all fell over as they attempted sliding tackles – farcical.
Then came the most important moment of the match. The big goodbye to Hernandez and Berardi came on 67 minutes. It took a few minutes for them both to individually leave the pitch saying goodbye to every player and the fans. It was a genuinely emotional moment for us all.
Leeds resorted to long shots over to Bamford but it was hard for him to control. The shots kept coming into the West Brom box.
Then came the Bamford penalty. It came from a West Brom defender stopping the ball with his arm in the penalty box. Bamford, cool as a cucumber slotted in down the middle as the keeper went to the right.
The match attempted with a rare bad mistake by Phillips as Cooper passed back to him but his first touch falls him and Robson Kanu picks it up and scores. Alas Phillips does what only Phillips does when he is angry and goes flying into a tackle. After a nervous few minutes whilst the referee waiting giggling with players to give Phillips a yellow card. Phillips finally walks tentatively off the pitch with a damaged shoulder. This could be the end of his Euros 2020.
Leeds end the season with a busy momentous match that gave Leeds a winning finishing run in the league and a ninth position in the league – a proud result. Rodrigo and Bamford end the season both scoring. Phillips ends the season with a strong performance. The absence of some important players shows the depth of the squad despite how little players costed compared to other teams. It sets up Leeds for an ambitious future.
Man of the match: Hernandez