Mon 29th of February BRIGHTON 4 (Hemed pen 18, 28, Cooper og 22, Dunk 38), UNITED 0 United team: Silvestri, Wootton (Carayol 45), Cooper, Bamba, Taylor, Coyle, Diagouraga (Murphy 84), Bridcutt, Mowatt, Cook, Doukara (Erwin 75). Subs: Peacock-Farrell, Berardi, Adeyemi, Antenucci. Referee: Peter Bankes Booked: Rosenior, Baldock, Goldson (Brighton), Bamba, Mowatt, Coyle, Taylor (United) Att: 25,150 (1,522 United) Report from Official website The televised trip to promotion-chasing Brighton & Hove Albion saw United head coach Steve Evans make two changes to the side that drew 1-1 at home to Fulham six nights earlier. Scott Wootton and Liam Bridcutt returned to the starting line-up at the Amex Stadium, with Tom Adeyemi and Mirco Antenucci dropping to the bench, while Mustapha Carayol also took up a place among the substitutes as Stuart Dallas missed out through injury. There was little between the two sides during the early exchanges, with both teams forced to be patient in their build-up play, until the hosts were presented with an opportunity to open the scoring from the penalty spot after 18 minutes after Wootton was adjudged to have fouled Liam Rosenior inside the area. Tomer Hemed calmly converted and Brighton soon found themselves in the ascendancy, with Marco Silvestri needing to be at full-stretch to push away a low free-kick just two minutes later. But Albion’s advantage was soon doubled as Sam Baldock burst through the middle of the Brighton and Hove Albion v Leeds United Sky Bet Championship 29/02/2016.United defence before seeing his effort deflect beyond the sprawling Silvestri on 22 minutes. Leeds looked to mount a quick response, with Soulyemane Doukara and Toumani Diagouraga both lashing wide from the edge of the area, before Brighton extended their lead through Hemed’s second of the evening – a low 28th-minute finish from inside the area. And things were to go from bad to worse after 38 minutes as Lewis Dunk rose inside the area to tower home Dale Stephens’ back-post corner to make it four and cap an utterly miserable first half for United. Evans was prompted into an attack-minded change at the break, replacing Wootton with Carayol and moving youngster Lewie Coyle back to right-back. But Brighton, who re-emerged unchanged, were looking to pick up from where they left off prior to the interval and Dale Stephens flicked a low cross wide of the far post within two minutes of the restart. Leeds were starting to see more of the ball, though, and went in search of a goal which would help to restore some pride in front of the travelling supporters. Alex Mowatt came the closest, with his curling free-kick deflected onto the roof of the Brighton net before the midfielder burst into the area after latching onto Carayol’s through ball, only to blaze the strike well over the crossbar. Coyle also threatened after a determined run down the left, hitting a left-footed volley narrowly wide after his initial strike rebounded back into his path, while Lee Erwin was introduced in attack as United continued to search for a late consolation goal. But it was to no avail and Brighton could have added a fifth themselves in the closing stages as substitute Jiri Skalak rounded Silvestri after being played through on goal, but Sol Bamba muscled in to avert the danger as the hosts’ four first-half goals were left to stand alone. ABYSMAL PERFORMANCE !

Weds 24th of February Whites financial results show massive drop in losses Leeds United have announced a huge drop in losses for the 2014-15 year, a fall which owner Massimo Cellino said had put the club “on a stable footing for the first time in many years.” In a statement outlining the headline results of accounts which are due to be published in full next month, Leeds revealed that a loss of almost £23m in the 2013-14 year had fallen to £2m in Cellino’s first 12-month period as owner – a decrease of over 90 per cent. Leeds achieved that reduction despite a slight fall in revenue, helped by a reduction in costs at Elland Road and money earned from the sale of players, including Ross McCormack’s transfer to Fulham in July 2014. United said their wage bill for players and coaching staff in that period – a spell in which the club employed three different head coaches – totalled £17.4m, more than 71 per cent of the club’s £24.4m turnover. The club have continued to push for further savings in that area and the current wage bill at Elland Road is believed to stand at around £13m. Today’s statement said “investment in the first-team playing squad” was £6.1m, up from £2.3m in the 12 months before the end of June 2014. Much of the 2013-14 financial year spanned Gulf Finance House’s time as owner of Leeds. Cellino bought out the Bahraini bank, which remains a minority shareholder at Elland Road, in April 2014, inheriting a volatile financial situation. United’s statement said Eleonora Immobiliare SPA – the Italian parent company of the UK firm, Eleonora Sport Ltd, which Cellino used to purchase Leeds – had injected a total of £42.96m into the Championship club. Leeds have not revealed how much of that money was given in loans, or how much debt was still owed to GFH as of July 2015, but it said Eleonora Sport had agreed to convert £6.5m of loans into shares during the 2014-15 year. The statement also said that Eleonora Sport had “injected further capital into the club through acquiring additional shares.” According to Companies House, large amounts of cash – including a sum of £19m – were invested in United shortly before the end of the 2014-15 period. Cellino has endured a difficult relationship with sections of the club’s fans throughout his 22-month tenure, including recent protests against him, but he promised after his buy-out of GFH that he would resolve the financial problems at Elland Road. The Italian told the YEP last month that big reductions in cash claimed by GFH through “invoices” had contributed to the sizeable fall in annual losses. United’s statement today did not comment on the exact sum raised through McCormack’s sale to Fulham, a deal which is believed to have raised close to £11m. Speaking to the club’s official website, Cellino said: “I would like to thank the senior management team and all of our employees for their hard work and effort during this difficult period to help achieve these improvements in the business performance of the club. “The accounts illustrate the commitment that has been made to resolve the financial issues which have surrounded Leeds United. The club is now on a stable financial footing for the first time in many years. “We are confident that we can continue to make further improvements in the years ahead. We hope that we can now finally begin to focus and invest the club’s income, generated through our supporters and sponsors, into improving the quality of the playing squad and performances on the pitch. “We would like to thank the supporters and our sponsors for their continued patience and support.”

Weds 24th of Feb Leeds 1 (Cook 38), FULHAM 1 (Cairney 17) United team: Silvestri, Coyle, Cooper, Bamba, Taylor, Adeyemi (Botaka 86), Diagouraga, Cook, Mowatt (Dallas 78), Doukara, Antenucci (Erwin 68). Subs: Peacock-Farrell, Wootton, Berardi, Murphy. Referee: Kevin Wright. Booked: Bamba (United), Amorebieta (Fulham) Sent off: Amorebieta 92 mins (Fulham) Att: 17,103 (364 Fulham)  Report from Official website

LEEDS V FULHAM 23/02/2016

Cook lets fly from 35 yards for his first Whites league goal

LEEDS V FULHAM 23/02/2016

A delighted Cook takes the celebrations in front of 17,000 fans

The midweek visit of Fulham saw United head coach Steve Evans make four changes from the weekend’s Emirates FA Cup defeat at Watford as Lewie Coyle, Liam Cooper, Tom Adeyemi and Alex Mowatt all came in to the starting line-up. It meant Scott Wootton and Stuart Dallas dropped to the bench, while Giuseppe Bellusci served the first of his two-match ban after picking up his 10th yellow card of the season and Liam Bridcutt missed out due to personal reasons. It was a lively start to proceedings at Elland Road, with both sides looking to get on the front foot during the early exchanges. The visitors were the ones who came closest to opening the scoring, though, as former United trainee Luke Garbutt saw his low effort deflected behind before Ross McCormack’s goal-bound volley was turned onto the crossbar by a crucial Sol Bamba header after 13 minutes. Fulham soon found themselves in front courtesy of another former United man, however, Tom Cairney volleying home from the edge of the area to leave Marco Silvestri rooted to the spot on the 17th-minute mark. And the Cottagers’ advantage could have been doubled within a matter of just two minutes, as Garbutt crept behind the United defence, only to scuff his effort straight into the arms of Silvestri. United came closest to an equaliser on the half-hour mark, Bamba smashing a half-volley well over Andy Lonergan’s crossbar from inside the area after Cooper had flicked Lewis Cook’s corner into his path. Adeyemi then threatened at the back post, firing high and wide from a tight angle after racing onto a long ball, before Fulham probed at the opposite end and a crucial intervention from Coyle denied McCormack a back-post tap-in shortly before Silvestri was called upon to beat away Garbutt’s strike from the edge of the area. United managed to pull themselves level in spectacular fashion on 38 minutes and it was the unlikely source of Cook who grabbed the equaliser, netting his first league goal for the club with an unstoppable 30-yard strike which whistled beyond the sprawling Lonergan and into the top corner. Leeds were lifted and went in search of a quick second but found Lonergan in fine form as the Fulham ‘keeper denied Souleymane Doukara’s low strike with his legs before holding Mirco Antenucci’s header as the hosts ended the first half strongly. Fulham made a lively start to the second period and would have had a clear sight of goal had it not been for a crucial recovering slide challenge from Bamba to steal the ball from the toes of Dembele as the striker surged into the area seven minutes after the restart. The visitors were then prompted into their first changes of the evening, introducing Alex Kacaniklic and Ryan Tunnicliffe in place of Garbutt and Jamie O’Hara. A somewhat subdued passage of play followed, but Michael Madl and Mowatt both made key interventions at opposite ends to deny either side a sniff of goal, before McCormack ballooned a 25-yard free-kick into the South Stand. Evans then made his first change of the night, bringing on Lee Erwin in attack in place of Antenucci. But it was the visitors who were starting to apply the pressure as the game entered the final 20 minutes as United had Bamba to thank for being in the right place at the right time on more than one occasion. Tunnicliffe squeezed in a backheel from six yards out which Silvestri was able to hold, before an end-to-end period followed as the game entered the closing stages. Stuart Dallas, a replacement for Mowatt, came agonisingly close to volleying United into the lead within a minute of entering the field, firing Cook’s floated back-post cross inches wide of the far post. At the opposite end, Silvestri was called into a sprawling save to push away Kacaniklic’s powerful low strike from a tight angle on the corner of the United penalty area. Leeds chased a dramatic winner in the closing stages, with Jordan Botaka introduced from the bench in a bid to find a way through the Fulham defence, but the visitors, despite being reduced to 10 men in the final seconds following Fernando Amorebieta’s second yellow card of the evening, held firm during four minutes of added time to ensure the spoils would be shared. Steve Evans : “We didn’t deserve to go behind. thought we started the game in a reasonably bright fashion without dominating. “They were always going to counter-attack. They got their goal and went 1-0 up, which silenced everyone in the ground. “We then had to dig in for 10 minutes when Fulham popped it about. We won one or two good tackles – big Toumani won a couple of challenges and Cook and Mowatt got into the game more. We got the goal and we dominated until half-time. “The second half was always going to be a case of Fulham counter-attacking. I don’t need to talk about the quality of Dembele and McCormack. “When they counter-attack, they’re going to cause you a problem. But I thought we were very unfortunate not to win the game. “Both defences had last-ditch challenges and we had a wonderful opportunity – Stuart Dallas came in and put his hands up. “We’re not faulting the effort, commitment and passion of the group, but we had plenty of entries into the final third and we need to improve in terms of scoring goals.” On Cook’s goal, however, Evans added: “If that goal was scored in the Premier League it would be shown for five years. I don’t think I’ve seen a better goal scored in the flesh. “I’ve seen great passing goals, but tonight we saw a stunning goal from a stunning young player. I’m still staggering by how young he is. “He’s a special player and I thought he was back to something like he can play, especially after the first 15 or 20 minutes.”

Mon 22nd of Feb Noel Whelan pulls no punches on Leeds performance at Watford MATCH Of The Day showed the highlights of Leeds United’s FA Cup clash at Watford on Saturday evening but most of the highlights were of Watford, not Leeds United. I feel like I am doing a column here that I’ve already done. I feel like it’s Groundhog Day because we didn’t have any sustained pressure on Watford. They created chance after chance and with a better touch it probably could have been three or four for them. We’re not creating chances, we’re not scoring goals and too many people are playing the game safe and not being brave. But in a cup game, you’ve got to be brave. You’ve got to put pressure on the home side and we didn’t do that.;” You can have all the possession in the world, I don’t care what the stats are, if you’re not creating chances and getting bodies in the box then you are not going to win football matches. I’m not sure whether this is something that’s coming from the manager, to sit on the edge of the box, but I’m looking out wide and you’ve got three players out wide and not one person in the box. So where are we going to score goals? Every now and again you might score a 30-yarder but that’s not going to happen every week and the only way to score goals is to be in the box, to be brave, get in the right areas and compete. At the moment, we are not competing. We are just very easy to play against, that’s the trouble and I just felt the tactics, playing football against a very good footballing side were a little bit wrong. I think you have got to play football at times but we seem to be playing football in the wrong areas. We are putting ourselves under pressure.

The way we went out made me feel disappointed; a wasted opportunity. And I’m pretty sure that people in our team will have been waking up thinking ‘we didn’t really give it a go, we didn’t really put any pressure on them and we didn’t really change the course of that game in any way.’ We didn’t affect it and that’s a problem. You can pass the ball side to side and I could actually play in that side right now and I could pass a ball side to side and backwards. That’s how I feel because there’s not enough energy going forward, not enough desire to want to score goals and not enough ruthlessness to want to ripple the back of the net and really enjoy scoring a goal and making a difference and winning a game. We’re sitting back, we just sit there on the edge of the box with three people but not one midfield player getting into the box, or very, very rarely. To me, that’s criminal. You should be saying ‘get yourselves in the box’ whether that means you’ve got to do a 30-yard jog or sprint back or not. Because that’s what you get paid to do. You’ve got to be brave and we’re not brave at the moment. We’re playing scared football. With Scott Wootton’s own goal, it’s a mistake that could have happened to anybody. It’s one of them where nine times out of 10 the young boy will clear the ball into the stands. Unfortunately, it’s not happened to Scott. He’s tried to do the right thing and Marco Silvestri has come and realised that he can’t get it. If he’d stayed on his line he’d probably have saved it.

There’s bad judgment there by the ’keeper and there’s just a mistake there by Scott unfortunately. He’s gone to clear with his right foot but unfortunately it’s hit his knee and it could have gone anywhere. But let’s not make any mistake about it; yes, we lost to an own goal but they’d have scored at some stage during that game with the amount of chances they had. If it had stayed 0-0, they’d have put one of the other ones away.

It was just that first touch in the box that they couldn’t get right. They created chance after chance and at every corner they got the first header to it pretty much. I don’t see us attacking balls like they did. We’re too defence-minded. We’re not attacking enough.

Whether that’s coming from information and instructions from the sidelines and the coaching, I don’t know, but do they do enough phases of play during the week in attacking thirds? Do they tell their midfield players to get themselves in the box and to fill the right areas? Are they working on these things because, if they are, I am not seeing the benefits of it. Whelan is spot on. if you are going to go out of the cup, go out with a fight not a whimper !

 

Evanswatford

Evans maintains players are playing for future and current contracts

Mon Feb 22nd No respect for contracts as Evans passes judgement on each player Steve Evans promised to pass ruthless judgement on individual players this summer after an FA Cup defeat to Watford on Saturday drew a line through Leeds United’s campaign. The club’s head coach warned his squad that they were “playing to be part of next season” and said he would have “no respect for contracts” as he faced up to the end of Leeds’ FA Cup run. The competition had kept United’s season alive after they dropped out of the fight for the Championship play-offs but an own goal from Scott Wootton condemned Leeds to a 1-0 loss at Vicarage Road, denying them a first quarter-final appearance since 2003 Evans, whose contract runs to the end of this term but offers the option of a second year as head coach, voiced disappointment with the result and a mediocre league campaign but he defended himself by insisting again that Leeds would be in the promotion race next season.” United are 17th in the current table with 15 fixtures remaining, the first of those at home to Fulham tomorrow night. Evans, who claimed he was happy with “60 per cent” of his squad, said: “It’s not all about next season now because people are playing to be part of next season. People have to produce performances.I’ve got no respect for them having contracts that go beyond the summer. They’ll either be a part of it come the end of the season or not, and they’ll be told to their faces.” Evans has made three signings in his four-month reign as boss, agreeing loan deals for Liam Bridcutt and Mustapha Carayol and paying £575,000 for midfielder Toumani Diagouraga. His transfers, however, have failed to address an acute lack of creativity up front, an issue which was apparent again in a narrow defeat to Watford. Evans said: “We know the type of players we want to bring in and sometimes the exact players. Some of those conversations are happening. “I look at managers at the top end of the league and they get about 10 transfer windows to build a team. We’ve had two – the last one and the one that’s coming in the summer. “I’ve always said it – if I get the players I want, put the kettle on. We’ll be in the promotion race next season. Whether that’s good enough to get up, who knows, but we have to be ready with a group assembled. We need to be in a promotion chase. “I think there’s no doubt that 60 per cent of the squad are very good players and good enough to be part of something here. I looked at Diagouraga in the first half and Bridcutt, and they looked like Premier League players.” Carayol and Liam Cooper were both ruled out of Saturday’s fifth-round tie with minor injuries and are doubtful for tomorrow’s clash with Fulham. Evans will be forced into a change in the centre of defence after Giuseppe Bellusci picked up his 10th booking of the season at Watford, incurring an automatic two-match ban. United’s boss, however, could resist pressure to replace Wootton despite the 53rd-minute blunder which sent Leeds out of the FA Cup. Wootton – a recognised centre-back – has been playing at right-back for much of Evans’ tenure, kept in that position by an injury to Gaetano Berardi and the departure of Sam Byram to West Ham United. Wootton was jeered by sections of United’s 4,200 away crowd following his error at Vicarage Road. But Evans said: “They’ve travelled a long way down the country. They see a player whose form’s been a bit inconsistent and they see him score an own goal. “That wouldn’t just happen at Leeds but because of the size of the support, it probably (sounds) worse.”

Sat 20th of February WATFORD 1 (Wootton og 54), UNITED 0 United team: Silvestri, Wootton, Bellusci, Bamba, Taylor, Bridcutt, Cook, Diagouraga (Botaka 85), Dallas (Mowatt 61), Doukara, Antenucci (Erwin 82). Subs: Peacock-Farrell, Coyle, Adeyemi, Murphy. Referee: Michael Oliver Booked: Bellusci, Bridcutt (United) Att: 18,336 (4,065 United) Report from official website The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round tie away to Watford saw United head coach Steve Evans make just the one change from the goalless draw with Middlesbrough earlier in the week as captain Sol Bamba returned to the defence in place of the injured Liam Cooper. On-loan winger Mustapha Carayol also missed out through injury, meaning there was a place among the substitutes for Jordan Botaka.

DiagouragvWatfordj

Diagouraga looked a Premiership player against Watford according to Evans

The hosts, who entered the game occupying ninth place in the Premier League after an impressive return to the top-flight, took just two minutes to have the game’s first sight of goal, striker Troy Deeney seeing his powerful back-post header deflected wide from Juan Carlos Paredes’ right-wing cross.

Miguel Britos then twice headed wide after meeting two corners inside the United penalty area as the Hornets enjoyed the better of the openings during the early exchanges.

The United defence continued to defend deep, watching Jose Holebas’ powerful first-time effort fizz beyond the far post via a deflection, before Evans’ side started to apply some pressure of their own.

Mirco Antenucci led the charge, driving United forward on a quick counter-attack and finding Stuart Dallas inside the Watford area, but the Northern Ireland winger was unable to generate the power needed to test Costel Pantilimon with his curling effort.

Dallas then dragged wide from the edge of the box moments later after some clever exchanges with Souleymane Doukara as United grew into the tie.

At the opposite end, Marco Silvestri needed to be alert to block Paredes’ low cross at the near post, but United remained a threat on the break and their most likely outlet, Dallas, came close again on the stroke of half-time after seeing his low strike deflected behind after cutting inside of his marker.

The two teams re-emerged unchanged from the break and the hosts managed to break the deadlock within just nine minutes of the restart through Scott Wootton’s own goal, with the defender inadvertently turning Ben Watson’s back-post cross into his own net.

And the Hornets thought their lead had been doubled four minutes later, Etienne Capoue turning home a low cross at the back post, but not before referee Michael Oliver had spotted a push from Troy Deeney on Leeds full-back Charlie Taylor.

That chance came moments after Alben Abdi had strode forward unchallenged before blazing over the bar from the edge of the area as the home crowd urged their side forward in search of a quick-fire second.

Evans was prompted into his first change of the afternoon on the hour mark, though, replacing Dallas with Alex Mowatt in midfield, shortly before Pantilimon managed to gather a long-range effort from Liam Bridcutt.

As the game entered the closing stages, both Holebas and Capoue threatened to put the tie beyond United’s reach, the latter smashing his effort over the crossbar after space had opened for up him on the edge of the box.

But United, who had introduced Lee Erwin and Jordan Botaka in a bid to find an equaliser, could well have pulled themselves level with one minute remaining on the clock as Wootton found Doukara in space 15 yards out, but the forward struck well over Pantilimon’s crossbar as the hosts saw out their lead to seal progression to the quarter-finals. Evans on exit : “It’s a cruel way to go out of the cup,”. “I thought they started better than us in the first 10 minutes, but for the next half-an-hour we were by far the better side. We played some good, controlled football and attacked both sides of the pitch. “But after going in at half-time, I don’t think we got back to that level in the second half. “They stepped it up, but I thought we were still quite resolute. It was just a real cruel way to go out to an own goal. “But I couldn’t have asked for any more from the players we had out there. We know we’re missing certain qualities.” On the own goal, which won the game for Watford, Evans added: “I felt for Scott Wootton. He shook hands with all the players and the staff when he came into the dressing room. “He won’t sleep for a few days now. Scott Wootton, or any defender at this level, usually deals with cross like that 20 or 30 times in a match, but he just got caught in two minds.” I don’t know what game you were watching Steve, buy we were never in it and we never ever went at them. Tame , very tame ! We miss wood and Carayol badly and carried no attacking threat today.

Monday 15th of February Leeds 0-0 M’bro United team: Silvestri, Wootton, Bellusci, Cooper, Taylor, Cook, Bridcutt, Diagouraga (Murphy 90+2), Dallas (Mowatt 71), Doukara, Antenucci (Erwin 79). Subs: Peacock-Farrell, Coyle, Bamba, Adeyemi. Referee: Craig Pawson Booked: Diagouraga, Bellusci (United), Clayton, Gibson (Boro) Sent off: Gibson (Boro) Att: 20,424 (2,782 Boro) Report from offical website

The visit of second-placed Middlesbrough saw United head coach Steve Evans name an unchanged side from the 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest nine days earlier. The only alteration came on the substitutes bench as Alex Mowatt returned from injury in place of Mustapha Carayol, with the on-loan winger ineligible to face his parent club.

SilvestrivBoro

Silvestri v Boro

Leeds started the brighter of the two sides, dominating the early stages at a bitterly cold Elland Road, as Mirco Antenucci saw his goalbound effort blocked inside the area by Ben Gibson after being played in by Souleymane Doukara, before Stuart Dallas’ back-post header was deflected onto the roof of the net.

The visitors soon threatened at the opposite end, though, as Marco Silvestri saw Gaston Ramirez’s low cross late, forcing Giuseppe Bellusci to turn the ball behind for a corner, from which the Italian defender was well-placed to clear the ball off the line as Boro looked to scramble home from close-range.

Silvestri then held a well-hit effort from Boro full-back Dael Fry, but it was United who looked the more likely to break the deadlock during the early exchanges.

Antenucci raised the tempo, cutting inside before seeing his low effort blocked from 25 yards out, before the woodwork denied Evans’ side an opener on the half-hour mark as Ritchie De Laet turned Charlie Taylor’s back-post corner against his own crossbar.

Doukara then tried his luck from distance, forcing goalkeeper Dimi Konstantopoulos to back-pedal nervously as his audacious attempt brushed the roof of the net on its way over.

The second half began at a somewhat slower pace as both sides patiently probed for a way through.

Christhian Stuani’s dangerous-looking low cross was gathered by Silvestri, while Konstantopoulos was forced off his line at the opposite end to punch clear Bellusci’s long ball as Doukara lurked inside the area.

The visitors were starting to put United under a sustained spell of pressure, though, and Bellusci was on hand again to hack away Emilio Nsue’s downwards header as it looked to be creeping in at the back post, before Stuani hammered a volley into the ground and over the bar after being found arriving inside the area unmarked

Both sides were soon prompted into making changes, Boro introducing attacking duo Albert Adomah and David Nugent, while United brought Mowatt on in place of Dallas.

The home crowd were left wondering how their side had not managed to open the scoring on 71 minutes, as Konstantopoulos somehow flew across his line to claw away Doukara’s header after Taylor’s deep free-kick.

The game seemed to be opening up and Boro broke from the resulting corner, Jordan Rhodes going through on goal before seeing his strike beaten away by a strong two-handed save from Silvestri.

Lee Erwin was introduced to bolster United’s attack, replacing Antenucci with 10 minutes remaining, as the game remained in the balance, but Boro threatened twice in quick succession at the opposite end as Rhodes stooped to head wide from Adomah’s right-wing cross before Stewart Downing fired into Silvestri’s arms.

Doukara then towered a header agonisingly wide of the far post after meeting Taylor’s cross, before United started to pile on the pressure in search of a late winner as Boro were reduced to 10 men in the 89th minute as Gibson collected his second yellow card of the evening for a foul on Erwin.

The best chance during four minutes of added time fell for Doukara after being slotted into the area by Liam Bridcutt, but Konstantopoulos was quick off his line to block, while Taylor hammered a first-time strike over the bar after a corner had fallen into his path.

But there was to be no way through as the visitors saw out a nervy finale to ensure the spoils would be shared. Steve Evans said: “I think I feel unlucky and Aitor Karanka, a good friend of mine, will feel very lucky. “We’ve gone toe-to-toe with a terrific team who have lots of resilience and class. “They had a 10-minute spell in both halves but then it was 75 minutes of Leeds United on top, playing a brand of football we want to play. “By in my eyes, their goalkeeper’s save from Doukara’s header was the best save I’ve seen in a long time. “Everyone in the ground thought it was in, and he made another smart save from Doukara in added time. “We look at them as big chances, they’ll look at the Jordan Rhodes chance which he should put away, but I’m pleased with the players. “There’s no doubt Boro felt we would be the same shape from Forest, and if you look at the first 15 minutes when we battered them, you’d have to say we caught them out a little. “They are a quality side, they’ve got a fantastic chairman who backs them and an excellent head coach who I have an excellent relationship with. But I think he knew this was a really difficult game.” United shaded it tonight and but for good goalkeeping and better finishing would have taken all three points.

Feb 2nd The ones that got away Leeds United were one of four Championship clubs said to have made a move for Hull City striker Sone Aluko. BBC reporter Ian Dennis says that along with Brighton, Fulham and Forest, the Whites made a late bid to try and bring the striker in to Elland Road. Aluko has scored 11 goals in 81 games for Hull City since joining them from Rangers in 2012. Kike could have left Middlesbrough on Monday night to join La Liga side Eibar. However, a €1 million (£760,000) clause in his contract scuppered the move. Sky Sports journalist Guillem Balague revealed that if Kike had made the move, Boro would have had to pay former club Murcia the fee, which put an end to the move. Peterborough chairman Darragh MacAnthony has criticised Leeds’s transfer policy after the club failed to sign anyone on transfer deadline day. MacAnthony regularly deals with Leeds. Posh striker Marcus Maddison was linked with a switch to Elland Road

 

Feb 2nd Lafferty Still On Leeds’ Radar The 28-year-old striker has made just one appearance all season in the league – as a 77th-minute substitute in Norwich’s 2-1 defeat to Leicester in October – and looks no closer to securing a regular place in Alex Neil’s starting eleven or even on the bench. The striker is a key member of the Northern Ireland team and wants to play first-team football in the lead up to the summer’s European Championships – but failed to secure a move away during the January window. However, it is now likely that he will move away once the loan window opens next week and there are no shortage of clubs hoping to land the talented striker. Lafferty, who has already spent time at FC Sion, Palermo and Rizespor during a nomadic career, is a target for Steve Evans and the Whites are reporteLeeds United’s search for a new striker came to nothing last night as the transfer window closed without any deadline-day additions to the squad at Elland Road.

Feb 1st Deadline day is a dud for Leeds United Head coach Steve Evans drew a blank as the January market reached its 11pm cut-off point, leaving him to fight on with his existing group of forwards after a month in which Leeds completed three incoming deals. Evans secured an extension of Liam Bridcutt’s loan from Sunderland at the start of last month and struck a temporary deal for Middlesbrough winger Mustapha Carayol before signing Toumani Diagouraga from Brentford in a £575,000 move. A new striker, however, was a priority for United’s boss heading into the final days of the window after his shallow pool of options was weakened by the recurrence of Chris Wood’s hamstring injury. Evans targeted Barnsley forward Sam Winnall last week but had a £300,000 bid rejected and also failed with an approach to take Fraizer Campbell on loan from Crystal Palace. Norwich City’s Kyle Lafferty was a target throughout the window and Evans remained hopeful that a late deal might be reached for the Northern Ireland international yesterday but Lafferty remained at Carrow Road as the window closed. Evans, who saw right-back Sam Byram sold to West Ham United in a £3.7 deal on January 20, claimed last week that he was happy with the backing given to him by Cellino but conceded that he was running short of players with injuries biting. The Scot had insisted that funds were available to him in the aftermath of Byram’s exit but he secured only one permanent signing in Diagouraga. “The Sam Byram money plus more money is available now,” Evans said last month.

 

Sat 31st of Jan BOLTON 1 (Pratley 81), Leeds 2 (Doukara 9, Diagouraga 40) Leeds team: Silvestri, Wootton, Bellusci, Bamba (Coyle 89), Taylor, Cook (Adeyemi 90+1), Bridcutt, Diagouraga, Dallas, Doukara, Antenucci (Carayol 86). Subs: Peacock-Farrell, Sloth, Murphy, Erwin. Referee: Andre Marriner. Booked: Vela (Bolton) Att: 17,336 (6,630 United) Report from official website

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Doukara celebrates after scoring the first

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Diagouraga scores on his full debut for the Whites

The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round tie away to Bolton Wanderers saw United head coach Steve Evans make three changes from the team that drew 1-1 at Brentford earlier in the week. Captain Sol Bamba returned to the heart of defence in place of the injured Liam Cooper, while Toumani Diagouraga replaced Luke Murphy in midfield for his full Leeds debut and Mirco Antenucci came in for the injured Chris Wood in attack. The hosts, who were attacking towards United’s biggest away following of the season so far, had the afternoon’s first sight of goal through striker Gary Madine, but Marco Silvestri was able to comfortably hold his effort on the turn from the edge of the area. Darren Pratley then skied a first-time effort after meeting Liam Feeney’s cut-back on the edge of the area, before Lewis Cook had United’s first attempt on goal at the opposite end with a curling effort which Wanderers’ keeper Ben Amos clutched just underneath his crossbar. The frantic start to proceedings showed no signs of letting up and United found a way through after just nine minutes, Souleymane Doukara continuing his fine form in front of goal with a low effort which crept beyond Amos after latching onto Stuart Dallas’ pin-point through ball. The hosts will feel they should have pulled themselves level three minutes later, though, as Madine smashed over from close-range after muscling his way onto the ball in front of goal. A brief spell of Bolton pressure followed, with United forced to defend deep to clear a series of deliveries into the area, before Dallas threatened a second with a strike which sailed well over after skipping away from his marker inside the Bolton box. United had a golden opportunity to double the advantage after 25 minutes following a swift break up-field led by Cook. The midfielder cut inside but opted not to shoot as space opened up for him, instead threading the ball out wide to Antenucci inside the area, who forced a superb one-handed save from Amos at his near post to turn the low strike behind. The advantage was deservedly doubled on the 40th-minute mark and it was the full debutant, Diagouraga, who wheeled away in celebration after meeting Antenucci’s cutback to calmly tuck away his first goal for the club from inside the area. The second period started in a similar manner to the first, with end-to-end attacks making the tie an enthralling watch. United were first, with Taylor just scuffing his strike after being found unmarked at the back post by Cook following another breakaway, before Madine found himself crowded out inside the opposite area as his close-range effort was turned behind. United were inches away from adding a third on the hour mark as another flowing counter-attack carved apart the Bolton defence, only for Scott Wootton to smash agonisingly over the bar after being teed up on the edge of the area by Dallas. Leeds were looking increasingly comfortable as the game progressed and Amos was again called upon to tip a speculative Giuseppe Bellusci free-kick over the bar from distance. Bolton did threaten to pull one back, though, as Liam Feeney worked his way into the area before smashing well over the bar from an acute angle, before Bellusci heroically launched himself in the way of Darren Prately’s ferocious half-volley. But Pratley did manage to find a way through nine minutes from time after a corner fell into his path to hammer the ball emphatically into the roof the net at the back post and set up a nervy finale. And the home fans thought their side had snatched a replay with three minutes remaining, only to see Madine clip the outside of the post from inside the area after Silvestri had pushed Pratley’s initial strike into his path. United held firm during four minutes of added time, though, and did enough to book a place in Sunday evening’s Fifth Round draw.

Sat 30th of Jan Cellino and Evans pore over transfer targets STEVE EVANS says that he and Leeds United president Massimo Cellino are poring over an extensive list of transfer targets ahead of possible beat-the-deadline moves before 11pm on Monday evening. So far this month, United have brought in Brentford midfielder Toumani Diagouraga for £575,000 and Middlesbrough winger Mustapha Carayol on loan – while extending Liam Bridcutt’s loan deal for the rest of the season. Mixed messages may have been displayed in the past few days regarding the chances of more business before the deadline, but United appear still to be active in the market, given their tabling of a £300,000 bid for Barnsley forward Sam Winnall, which was swiftly rejected, and their interest in bringing in Crystal Palace frontman Fraizer Campbell on loan.;” Landing a new striker, exacerbated by fitness concerns surrounding top-scorer Chris Wood, remains a priority – with Norwich’s Kyle Lafferty a big target at the start of the window, although hopes of that deal transpiring have drifted, according to Evans. Whether Leeds land any of the aforementioned targets or not, they have a number of alternatives, according to Evans – who is keen to do several pieces of business in an ideal world before Monday evening, while being mindful of the need for some prudence also. He said: “We are working hard on a lot of fronts. It was not just the boy from Brentford (Diagouraga) and there were other midfield alternatives that the president was also working on. We just so happened to get our first choice. “One hundred per cent, the deal has to be right. This football club cannot go back to the days where the supporters questioned what level it would be at because of the debts and such like. We are in the opposite extent now where we have money available to strengthen the squad and the president has taken my counsel in a lot of those discussions. “I am responsible also, so that there’s prudence around the squad and making sure we have a happy medium in the dressing room.” On the situation regarding Lafferty, Evans said: “I am not aware with what is happening with Lafferty. It’s been drifting for some time now. “As I have always maintained, it is not just Kyle Lafferty who is in the equation for Leeds United, but a number of strikers.”Alongside some incoming business, Evans is also receptive to the idea of fringe players Lee Erwin, Casper Sloth and Jordan Botaka leaving the club to get some game time, with all three currently on the periphery of the first team at the moment and not in his plans. It remains to be seen if firm interest surfaces in any of those players – whether it is regarding a loan or a fill-time move – before Monday evening. But if it does, Evans is unlikely to stand in their way, with the Scot admitting that playing development squad football is not in the best interests of the trio. He added: “We try and treat it on a player by player basis. “But we made it clear that some of the fringe players perhaps need to think about getting some football rather than sitting about playing under-21s, which for me is a process of learning youngsters. “For experienced players, it is just about getting game time, nothing else as under-21s (games) are never played as competitively as first-team games. So if the right opportunity comes for those three to get some game time, then we would look at it.”