Leeds United fail to seize home advantage as James Ward-Prowse punishes his waste Yorkshire News

Under Jesse Marsch, Leeds try to score goals by force of personality as well as finesse and for a good period of the game it looked like they would, but they gave James Ward-Prowse an opportunity to show off his incredible free kick skills and had to settle for a 1-1 draw as a result.

It was tough for Leeds, but a reminder that while they are headed in the right direction under the American, there is still a long way to go. They just need to be more ruthless, not that the flaw is unique to this iteration of the Whites.

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For a good 35 minutes the game had been what they wanted and they got their reward with a goal from Jack Harrison. But only one goal.

COMBATIVE: Rodrigo fights for the ball

And in the Premier League, opponents will always have chances to score themselves. For a period in the second half, left-back Kyle Walker-Peters, fresh from his first two games for England, was electric, winning a free kick converted by Ward-Prowse.

Some may wonder if Illan Meslier, who made a wonderful save in the first half, should have stretched, but the skill was admirable.

With 40 minutes to do something about it, and with Joe Gelhardt and Kalvin Phillips improving off the bench, Leeds just didn’t have enough.

There is a reason they are where they are in the table, but they are moving up, and a win at Watford next week would go a long way towards ending relegation fears.

Southampton are an equally intense team as Leeds, so the combination was potent with the crowd just behind the hosts’ strong start and the referee taking it easy on his whistle.

It was an ideal game for Liam Cooper to go back to not playing since injuring his hamstring in December. His selection early on meant that Phillips had to settle for a bench spot, introduced in the 66th minute.

He even played an indirect role in the opening goal, in the 29th minute, heading Broja down with a Gary Kelly-style header when the ball was on the ground. Leeds went out the other end and Raphinha crossed him just before he shut off completely. Fraser Forster was only able to help in an area that allowed Jack Harrison to jump up and put the ball into the net.

It was no less than Leeds deserved.

They had been positive from the start. Mohammed Salisu needed to make an excellent tackle to stop Dan James’ shot after just three minutes, the product of another blood-and-thunder tackle, this time from Luke Ayling on new England player Kyle Walker-Peters.

The pressure kept coming, Adam Forshaw and Mateusz Klich having shots blocked as Leeds tried to ram the ball down the middle in a game in which both teams played characteristically tight formations.

Another tackle from Cooper triggered the unusually graceful move that saw Harrison feed Rodrigo, into the hole in a 4-2-3-1, who passed it to James to force a low save.

James should have played Raphinha in the 14th minute but the ball got stuck under his feet and Oriol Romeu was able to come back.

But even though Leeds were the better team for the first 45 minutes, it was clear that Southampton had a goal in them.

When Mohammed Elyounoussi shot Meslier after the ball was returned to him in the tenth minute, it was an isolated moment. But the Leeds defense and their goalkeeper worked harder as the half came to an end.

Former Sheffield United striker Che Adams slipped and saw his shot deflected towards Diego Llorente, another local centre-back who appeared to be enjoying the game of harem and scarecrow, for a corner. The Spaniard made a crucial late tackle a minute later.

Meslier made an excellent save by going low to his left in the 35th minute after a great spin and spike from Adams, which dropped Klich to the ground with him.

Walker-Peters deflected a shot just wide when he was hit with a corner kick.

He was brilliant after the restart and a slalom run saw him foul Ayling in the wrong place, a perfect position for Ward-Prowse to wrap his right foot around a free kick.

Walker-Peters soon had Ayling on the book after another run and shot the keeper.

With Rodrigo and Raphinha on the same plane, Leeds always posed a threat.

The Spaniard took the ball from the Brazilian in the 55th minute. The winger made room for a shot but his chip went over the top.

Gelhardt added to the threat when he came off the bench, earning a free throw that Forster did well to put behind Stuart Dallas, then dribbling past Elyounoussi, who was booked.

Leeds had more of the closing stages, Adam Forshaw had a shot block, Phillips came in to launch some good passes and Raphinha was unable to finish a move that came from her excellent dribbling.

Rodrigo and Raphbinha linked brilliantly again in the 87th minute, but the shot was blocked.

It was good but not good enough for Leeds.

United Leeds: meslier; Ayling (Struijk 89), Llorente, Cooper, Dallas; Klich (Phillips 66), Forshaw; Raphinha, Rodrigo, Harrison; James (Gelhardt…

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This notice was published: 2022-04-02 16:18:43

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