10:55am Tuesday 10th April 2012
By Martin Jarred
THE end of the season can’t come quick enough for free-falling Leeds United.
A 2-0 home defeat to Derby – their tenth npower Championship loss at Elland Road – piled on the agony for Whites’ supporters who have had to dig deep into their pockets to witness a wasted, frustrating season.
The last time Leeds lost as many League games at home was in 1946/7 when they finished rock-bottom of Division One.
The current squad have two games, Peterborough on Saturday and Leicester on April 28 to avoid the ignominy of setting a new, unwanted benchmark.
Even before the 25th-minute dismissal of midfielder Michael Brown, the Rams had been the dominate force on a wet, miserable afternoon.
Brown, who has trod a fine line with several challenges in recent weeks, stepped over the mark in the eyes of referee Oliver Langford with a high challenge on Nathan Tyson.
Although the red card, the eighth of Brown’s career, shook United out of their torpor, Derby grabbed the lead seven minutes later when Craig Bryson found the top corner of Andy Lonergan’s net with a fine long-range curling shot.
There was no way back for the Whites after that although they did carry a threat with Becchio failing to convert two headed chances and Ross McCormack bringing a fine save from Frank Fielding.
Leeds, who lost 2-0 at Reading with ten men for most of the match, managed to compete but Derby moved the ball about slickly on the wet surface.
Only good last-ditch defending by Darren O’Dea kept Neil Warnock’s men in the game until Steven Davies drilled in a loose ball on 65 minutes to seal Derby’s seventh successive win against the Whites.
Warnock, still searching for his first win at Elland Road since taking over from Simon Grayson seven weeks ago, reflected: “I said to (Derby manager) Nigel Clough at the end, ‘Enjoy this, Nigel, because you’ll never see another Leeds United team or a Neil Warnock team like this’.
“We had a lot of players playing today that know they won’t be here next season. We’ve not got enough Leeds United-type players.
“We don’t revel in the atmosphere and that’s what we will do next year. We will revel in it.”
Leeds United: Lonergan, Connolly, Lees, O’Dea, Robinson, Brown, Pugh, Snodgrass, Nunez (Rogers 76), McCormack (Webber 81), Becchio (Paynter 69). Subs (not used): Forssell, Bromby. Cautions: Connolly, Lees, Snodgrass. Sent off: Brown.
Derby County: Fielding, Naylor, Buxton, Shackell, Roberts, Bryson (Carroll 87), Hendrick, Green, B Davies, Robinson (Ward 81), Tyson (S Davies 60). Subs (not used): Severn, Bailey. Caution: Roberts.
Referee: O Langford (West Midlands).
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