Leeds United players went from heroes on Saturday to zeroes on Tuesday night as they were booed off the pitch following a poor performance against Brighton that led to a first home defeat of the season.
Brighton’s Leeds-born goalkeeper David Stockdale did not have a single save to make as his team left Elland Road with a fully deserved 2-0 win.
Home fans were left baffled by first half tactics that saw United field four central midfielders with none of them offering any width and there was equal bemusement at head coach David Hockaday’s substitutions which saw him take off strikers Matt Smith and Billy Sharp although his team were chasing the game.
Leeds did improve in the second half with the pacy Nicky Ajose on for big Smith, who had received no worthwhile service, but they were simply awful in the opening 45 minutes.
A shot from range that was dragged wide by Michael Tonge and a Luke Murphy shot easily blocked were the only efforts they managed in a half in which the Whites were left chasing shadows and were taught a football lesson by a Brighton side that arrived without a point to their name this season.
The visitors were ahead within five minutes as Liverpool loanee Joao Teixeira easily got in behind a static Leeds defence and beat keeper Marco Silvestri with a well struck shot from an angle.
For all Brighton’s possession and control they did not create another chance of equal note, but Bruno Salter headed over an Adam Chicksen cross, Kemy Agustien scuffed a shot when well placed and Teixeira’s attempted bender from the edge of the box went wide.
Leeds finally got hold of the ball in the second half and pushed their opponents back with Brighton now having to rely on counter attacks.
Salter saw a volley saved by Silvestri and Danny Holla fired a 25-yard shot wide when he ignored an overlap to his left, but it was United who came closer on 68 minutes when good interplay between Michael Tonge and Sam Byram saw the former get free in the box only to see his shot blocked by Inigo Calderon with Stockdale beaten.
Soon after Ajose went a good run, but his shot from the edge of the box went well wide.
Brighton remained dangerous on the break and substitute Rohan Ince came within a whisker of a second goal for the visitors as he raced clear only to see his shot hit the post.
They did manage a second, however, five minutes from time as Jason Pearce gave a free-kick away inches outside the area and substitute Kazenga Lua-Lua made him pay with a free-kick that appeared to go through the defensive wall.
Leeds United 0
(Teixeira 5, Lua-Lua 85)
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Sky Bet Championship
Leeds: Silvestri, Byram, Pearce, Cooper, Warnock, Austin, Tonge, Murphy (Cook 81), Bianchi, Sharp (Poleon 81), Smith (Ajose 45).
Brighton: Stockdale, Calderon, Greer, Dunk, Chicksen, Salter, Holla (Ince), Teixeira (Hughes 90), Forster-Caskey, Agustien (Lua-Lua 59), Mackail-Smith.
Referee: James Adcock.