Chaos on and off field as Leeds United sink to Doncaster defeat
Updated 11:17am Monday 31st March 2014 in Sport
CRISIS club Leeds United slid to their fifth defeat in six Championship games amid more fog swirling around the club’s ownership.
Doncaster Rovers took advantage of an inept, spineless first-half display to build a match-winning platform at Elland Road to ease their own relegation worries.
United’s players agreed to defer half last month’s wages until after today’s (Monday) appeal by Massimo Cellino’s against the Italian’s failure to pass the Football League’s directors and owners test. If the appeal fails it is unclear how Leeds will be able to fund the players.
It is a good job they are not paid solely on a performance-related basis as they would not have earned a bean for the first 45 minutes.
It’s hard to believe United pushed themselves into a play-off position with a 3-0 win at the Keepmoat in December – but its been downhill on and off the pitch since then.
Doncaster played the smoother football in the opening stages and were rewarded on 22 minutes when David Cotterill was given too much time to crash a stunning 15-yard angled drive past Jack Butland.
The home goalkeeper was beaten again on the stroke of half-time when Billy Sharp outmuscled Sam Byram in the box and slotted home.
The introduction of Michael Tonge and Aidy White improved Leeds massively in the second half in which they penned back Rovers for long spells but all they had to show for their pressure was a Ross McCormack header on the hour – his 27th Championship goal of the season.
After McCormack’s goal, the Scot was pulled back by Rovers keeper Sam Johnstone to the right of the penalty area, the Rovers man receiving a yellow card while Leeds fans were baying for red.
Rovers may have rode their luck on their way to a 2-1 victory in a second-half orchestrated by Tonge but Leeds paid for leaving themselves too much to do.
Embattled Leeds boss Brian McDermott said: “Our first half performance was embarrassing. It was just horrible to watch. The two halves were as different as night and day. The first half was shocking but we got the goal quite early in the second half and there was a big improvement but we can’t go two goals down before starting to play.”
Leeds United: Butland, Byram, Lees, Pearce, Pugh, Austin (White HT), Mowatt, Murphy (Tonge HT), Stewart, McCormack, Smith. Subs (not used): Cairns, Hunt, Warnock, Wootton, Poleon. Cautions: Lees, Byram, Tonge
Doncaster Rovers: Johnstone, Quinn, Neill, Meite, Husband, Keegan, Wellans (Furman 70), Cotterill, Coppinger, Brown, Sharp (Robinson 83). Subs (not used): Turnbull, Duffy, McCullough, De Val, Stevens. Cautions: Quinn, Keegan, Robinson
Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire)
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