After the embarrassment of Rochdale there was more humiliation for Brian McDermott and Leeds United to endure in a sorry display against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.
The Whites fell to their heaviest ever defeat against Wednesday as they surrendered 6-0 to a side that has not been out of the bottom six all season.
United were simply never at the races and after deservedly being two down at half-time their shocking day was complete when big striker Matt Smith was sent-off without ever touching the ball after coming on as a half-time substitute.
Leeds boss McDermott included both his new signings, Jimmy Kebe and Cameron Stewart, but both had debuts to forget after struggling to get involved in their wing positions and to fit in with their new team-mates.
McDermott’s decision to stick with his back three proved another mistake as the defence looked far from safe from the start and in an indication of what was to come Jacques Maghoma went through a huge hole in the United defence in the fourth minute only to lose his balance.
Leeds briefly threatened as Ross McCormack got clear wide out only to be hauled back by Miguel Llera, whose actions earned him a booking. Jason Pearce then sent a header went.
But the hosts were playing the better football and after Connor Wickham went close with an angled shot they took the lead as the United defence went missing to allow Reda Johnson an easy finish.
Paddy Kenny kept out shots from Chris Maguire and Wickham and Leeds looked like limping through to the break only to concede a second goal in the 45th minute, Atdhe Nuhiu left with a tap-in after Kieran Lee’s break down the left opened up the visiting defence.
McDermott threw on Smith for Tom Lees at the start of the second half and switched to a 4-4-2 formation, but before anyone had time to see if the switch worked Leeds went down to 10 men.
In Smith’s first aerial challenge less than a minute into the second half he caught Johnson with his forearm and was red carded to leave his side with 10 men for the rest of the half.
Within three minutes Wednesday had scored again as Wickham beat Kenny at his near post and it was effectively game over.
The Leeds defence, with Marius Zaliukas in particular having a nightmare, did not improve and it was just a matter of how many they were going to lose by from then on.
After Smith’s dismissal Maguire was fortunate to escape a similar early bath after catching Danny Pugh with a dangerous tackle and the luck stayed with the Owls as Maguire’s 25-yard free-kick took a wicked deflection in off Rudy Austin to leave Kenny wrong footed and make it 4-0.
Everything was going for the hosts now and substitute Caolan Lavery made it five with a scuffed shot in off the post after a break from United’s free-kick had been easily cleared and Zaliukas had made a big error on half-way.
Jermaine Johnson came within inches of adding to Leeds’ misery when left unmarked in the box, but a sixth goal did arrive in the final minute when Lavery was on target with a well struck shot this time. United’s humiliation was complete and they managed just one shot all target all afternoon, a long range strike by Austin easily saved.
Sheffield Wednesday 6
(Johnson 20, Nuhiu 45, Wickham 50, Maguire 67, Lavery 80, 90+4)
Leeds United 0
Saturday, January 11, 2014
Sky Bet Championship
Wednesday: Kirkland; Palmer, Loovens, Llera, R Johnson; Maguire (Helan 81), Lee, Semedo, Maghoma (J Johnson 74); Wickham, Nuhiu (Lavery 66).
Leeds: Kenny; Lees (Smith 45), Zaliukas, Pearce; Peltier, Austin, Mowatt, Pugh; Kebe (Byram 66), McCormack, Stewart.
Referee: Lee Probert