Salisbury hands three-points Brentford's way
Saturday, 7th Feb 2015 20:36
Referee Graham Salisbury was the talking-point of this fixture, Leeds four-match unbeaten run came to an end following the officials' failure to spot a handball in the run up to the only goal of the game scored by Alex Pritchard. Salisbury also ignored three decent penalty appeals from the whites' who admittedly were below par and should have taken the game more to a Brentford side who looked anything but a play-off placed team.
Neil Redfearn recalled Billy Sharp in place of Akex Mowatt and looked to have favoured a 4-4-2 formation rather than a 4-4-1-1 which worked so well at Huddersfield last week. Given our resurgence in form and new signing Sol Bamba, as well as the highly fancied opposition I was quite looking forward to this game but within the first 15 minutes I must admit I'd spent more time flicking through the programme and reading text messages than watching the game and I barely missed anything as it was a scrappy, midfield dominated early series of exchanges. Brentford seemed happy to slow down the tempo and looked well-organised, capable of hitting us on the break.
The first incident of any significance saw Luke Murphy send over a free-kick, one of the rare occasions referee Salisbury awarded the home-side anything with Bamba and Cooper just failing to connect. Bamba seemed to me okay at the back but seemed to wander and lose possession, leaving us short at the back. On 18 minutes on the break, the face of Silvestre denied Andre Gray and Leeds again were thankful to the Italian again when he denied Jota.
Salisbury missed the first of two shoves by Moses Odubajo on Rodolph Austin on 42 minutes inside the area. The same thing happened on 49 minutes involving the same players but this time at the Kop End. Mark Warburton later praised the official for refusing to bow to the hostile crowd, Warburton is the Brentford manager apparently and I'd have more respect for him had he observed that Salisbury was hardly keeping up with play on both occasions and his linesmen were not much use either.
On the hour, Sharp was clearly felled in the box and my heart sank because he threw both his arms out as he went down and Salisbury was having none of it. The official also failed to make a decision on 64 minutes when there looked to be a handball on the right by a Brentford player but the ball instead broke to Diagouraga who's cross was turned in by Pritchard.
Redfearn rang in the changes, replacing Morison who hadn't had a good day with Antenucci and for the last few minutes Akbanian loanee Edgar Cani had a run out. Brentford should have ran out fair and square winners when Torai's volley smacked the post but it ended as the Leeds fans correctly observed as "1-0 to the referee". Sharp should have equalised but pulled an almost open goal chance wide and an almighty goalmouth scramble where Sharp, Antenucci and Cani saw their efforts smothered in the same move just went to prove that today just wasn't to be our day.
We face a tricky trip to Reading midweek and remain five points clear of 3rd bottom Millwall who lost to Huddersfield, the Lions our visitors in seven-days time. It's hard not to be too disappointed about the nature of this defeat and with the farcical outcome of Giuseppe Bellusci's collapsed racism charge and the ongoing persecution of Massimo Cellino, it really does fuel conspiracies that someone in power has it in for us. However there is definite room for improvement and putting aside the abject display of Salisbury who shouldn't be entrusted with as much as a Sunday league game ever again, had we stuck our chances away then we would have got something from the game.
Photo: Action Images
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