Match Report: Leeds United 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday - Harrison helps Whites to derby victory
Saturday, 13th Apr 2019 23:19 by @LucasMonk99
Jack Harrison’s goal helped Leeds United claim a momentous derby victory over Sheffield Wednesday to move three points clear of third-placed Sheffield United.
On a cold evening, Jack Harrison warmed the hearts of thousands of Leeds United supporters as he inflicted a telling blow upon Steve Bruce’s resurgent Sheffield Wednesday to hand his side’s promotion hopes an appreciable boost.
The Manchester City loanee deftly flicked the ball past the ostensibly unbeatable Keiren Westwood in the 65th minute to cap a consummate performance from Marcelo Bielsa’s charges.
The visitors responded by adopting a direct, long-ball approach, with the towering Atdhe Nuhiu at its core, but they scarcely threatened to restore parity and Leeds went on to claim a priceless three points in their quest for automatic promotion.
Leeds dominated the first half. They enjoyed a hegemony of possession and fashioned several chances. But they found visiting ‘keeper Westwood in inspired form, and he produced three wondrous saves to ensure his side went in level at the break.
The Republic of Ireland international produced an excellent save to deny Tyler Roberts’s header from Ezgjan Alioski’s corner, and then repeated the feat to keep out a Harrison header from Luke Ayling’s measured cross before beating a Roberts shot off the line.
Wednesday had significant forays forward of their own, though. Ayling produced an exquisite tackle at the last before Gary Hooper blasted the ball into the side netting. Kiko Casilla then produced a strong one-handed save to tip Barry Bannan’s sumptuous strike from range around the post.
The home side continued to control proceedings after half-time. Pontus Jansson met Pablo Hernandez’s corner with an emphatic header just three minutes into the second half, but could only direct the ball over the crossbar.
Roberts and Alioski then tried their luck from distance, but the former’s effort went wide and the latter’s over the bar.
Leeds then finessed for themselves the best chance of the match. Ayling’s cross found Harrison at the far post, and he squared the ball for Patrick Bamford, but the striker could only scuff his effort wide from mere yards out. It was, one felt, going to be one of those days.
But Bielsa and his charges do not take any lying down, and they kept going and got their reward just moments thereafter. Hernandez sent a low cross into the penalty area, and Harrison dexterously produced a deft finish that crept into the far corner. At last, Westwood was beaten. At last, Leeds were on their way to victory.
Wednesday failed to muster much of a response, and it was the hosts who came closest to a second goal of the match in the 81st minute, when substitute Kemar Roofe guided fellow sub Adam Forshaw’s touch into the net - only for the linesman to raise his flag.
Despite an aerial bombardment from the Owls, Leeds held on for a deserved victory without conceding any clear-cut chances, and the only quarrel those of a United disposition will have with this result is that the margin of victory could, and should, have been greater than it eventually was. For that, Westwood must take a prodigious amount of credit, and it was only owing to his brilliance that Sheffield Wednesday were in the game for as long as they were. Leeds were effervescent and tenacious and tireless and nobody encapsulated this more fittingly than Roberts, who produced a masterful performance in midfield and was often the side’s fulcrum of attack, but it was a team performance. As a collective, the hosts were peerlessly composed and never looked like losing the game.
The victory takes Leeds three points clear of third-placed Sheffield United after a late Millwall equaliser denied Chris Wilder’s team all three points at Bramall Lane. With a beleaguered Wigan team, threatened with relegation and shorn of confidence, next up for Leeds on Good Friday, there is good cause to be optimistic about the club’s prospects of automatic promotion with just four matches of the Championship season remaining.
Leeds United (3-4-3): Casilla; Jansson, Phillips, Berardi; Ayling, Klich (Forshaw 77’), Roberts, Alioski; Hernandez, Bamford (Roofe 64’), Harrison (Dallas 86’).
Unused Subs: Peacock-Farrell, Shackleton, Clarke, Davis.
Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Westwood; Palmer, Lees, Hector, Fox; Reach (Matias 41’), Hutchinson, Bannan, Boyd; Fletcher (Nuhiu 76’), Hooper (Forestieri 66’).
Unused Subs: Lazaar, Pelupessy, Winnall, Dawson.
Referee: Tim Robinson.
Booked: Harrison, Phillips (Leeds). Hutchinson, Lees (Sheff Wed).
Man of the match: Tyler Roberts (Leeds).
Reuters Media Express
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