Basham the hero as Sheffield United leapfrog Leeds into second


Leeds 0 : 1 Sheffield United

Chris Basham was the unlikely hero for Sheffield United and Kiko Casilla was sent off late for Leeds United as they fell 1-0 in a huge Yorkshire derby at Elland Road. The result dents Leeds’ automatic promotion hopes while strengthening United’s and means that the Blades now hold their promotion hopes in their own hands.

The narrow victory sees the South Yorkshire side leapfrog their promotion chasing West Yorkshire rivals into second in the Championship, a point ahead of Marcelo Bielsa’s side.

Leeds dominated the first half, creating the better chances and nullifying the Sheffield striking duo of Billy Sharp and David McGoldrick. The game was only seconds old when Pablo Hernandez smartly flicked a pass to Tyler Roberts. The midfielder slid a ball into the path of Patrick Bamford who saw his shot deflected out of play.

The pressure continued as Roberts and Hernandez linked well down the right and twice forcing themselves into the United penalty area. First, the former burst down the right before sending his cross out for a goal kick and then he linked neatly with Luke Ayling and Hernandez to set the Spaniard free down the right. His cutback was met by Bamford but John Egan threw his body in the way to deflect it wide.

Thunderous noise from the Elland Road stands and a wet, slick pitch made for nervy moments for the visitors. Unsure defending from a Ezgjan Alioski cross gave Leeds a corner and moments later Jack Harrison was firing over from close range as United continued to live dangerously.

Referee David Coote then had a big call to make. George Baldock barrelled forward from his right wing-back position before a heavy touch took the ball away from him. He and Jansson competed for the 50/50 ball with Baldock going in high and late on the Leeds defender. Coote waited for what felt like an age before flashing his yellow card, many especially among the home fans thought it should have been red.

Hernandez continued to be Leeds’ best creative force and on a counter attack the former Swansea City man raked a cross field ball over to Bamford but the former Middlesbrough striker lashed his effort over from 20 yards.

Jansson then found himself in unfamiliar territory as he raided forward from center-half. The Swede collected an Alioski pass in the box and smartly turned but was stopping in his tracks by Martin Craine – he thought unfairly so as he protested along with the majority of the 37,004 spectators.

Sheffield continued to struggle defending their left flank. Ayling found space again on the right to fizz in a low cross. Bamford swung and missed the ball before it ran all the way through to Alioski who sent his curling effort high and wide.

The visitors did eventually get to grips with the game and fostered late first half chances of their own. First McGoldrick headed over from a corner and minutes later Sharp had an effort deflected for another corner kick.

Last ditch defending from the hosts prevented them going behind when Sharp beat the offside trap and rounded Casilla. The striker’s touch was heavy though, allowing those in white to swarm the six yard area and clear their lines.

As the game wore on i to the second half the Elland Road pitch began to run heavy as the rain continued to pepper the surface. Both sides struggled for rhythm until the hosts flashed glimpses of what had caused their visitors so many problems in the first 45 minutes.

They almost took the lead right on the hour when Hernandez found Roberts just inside the Blades’ area and the midfielder turned and shaped to shoot before smashing his curled effort against Dean Henderson’s post. With the tempo upped, the supporters cranked the noise up but that noise became silence from the Leeds fans as the Blades took an unlikely lead.

A lapse in concentration from the Leeds back line allowed Chris Basham to run one-on-one with Casilla. The holding midfielder scuffed his shot from 18 yards, but it trickled out of the former Real Madrid goalkeeper’s reach and into the bottom left corner to put the visitors in charge with 20 minutes to go.

The hosts huffed and puffed for the equaliser but were met by the florescent yellow wall thwarting their efforts. Jansson missed a glaring chance with six minutes to play when he fired wide from four yards out. Leeds applied late pressure to earn what would have been a well-deserved point but to no avail.

To cap off a disappointing afternoon Casilla was shown a straight red for hauling down Sharp after a series of poor headers from Philips and Jansson put Sharp through with only the keeper to beat.


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