Leeds United 1 v 0 Sheffield Wednesday: Owls' play-off hopes dented after defeat in Yorkshire derby

Sheffield Wednesday's play-off hopes are hanging by a thread after a narrow defeat against Yorkshire rivals Leeds United at Elland Road.

By Liam Norcliffe
Saturday, 13 April, 2019, 20:44
Leeds United v Sheffield Wednesday.

Owls goalkeeper Keiren Westwood made a string of superb saves in the first half to ensure the Owls went in at half-time level.

But he was eventually beaten by Jack Harrison on 65 minutes when the winger turned home a low cross by Pablo Hernandez.

Leeds were relentless in their pressure and were deserved winners in the end in front of a crowd of 36,461.

The defeat leaves Wednesday six points off the Championship play-off places with four games remaining.

While the win for Leeds edges them three points clear of Sheffield United in the race for second spot.

Steve Bruce, in his 900th game in management, made three changes to the side that beat Nottingham Forest 3-0 on Tuesday night at Hillsborough.

Barry Bannan, Sam Hutchinson and Gary Hooper replaced Joey Pelupessy, Marco Matias and Lucas Joao, who was not even among the substitutes for the Owls.

Leeds were set to be unchanged but captain Liam Cooper suffered an injury during the warm-up and was replaced by Gaetano Berardi.

Before kick-off the home faithful received a huge boost when promotion rivals Sheffield United conceded a late equaliser at home to Millwall, giving Marcelo Bielsa's team the opportunity to go three points clear of the Blades.

Inside a packed Elland Road, Leeds started on the front foot and forced Wednesday back right from the first whistle.

Owls captain Tom Lees was booked on eight minutes when the former Leeds defender brought down Patrick Bamford around 25 yards from goal.

It then turned into the Westwood show as the Wednesday stopper made a string of stunning saves to keep the Owls level.

The Republic of Ireland goalkeeper made a point blank save from a Tyler Roberts header before then going on to deny Roberts again, as well Patrick Bamford and Jack Harrison.

Wednesday themselves came close when Hooper broke clear of the Leeds defence and managed to go around Kiko Casilla but hit the side netting from a tight angle.

Bannan also came close when his curling effort from the edge of the box went narrowly wide.

There was one negative for Wednesday towards the end of the first half when Adam Reach picked up an injury and had to be replaced by Marco Matias, fresh from his two goals in midweek.

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Leeds came out flying again in the second half and went close when Pontus Jansson headed wide from a corner and Bamford saw his near post effort blocked inside the first five minutes.

Pablo Hernandez fired over from 25 yards and then Roberts tried his luck from distance as the home pressure increased and so did the noise levels.

Bamford went close again but could not connect from six yards. That was the last action he was involved in as he was replaced by Kemar Roofe.

The pressure eventually paid off on 65 minutes when Harrison tapped in from six yards after a low cross from the right by Hernandez.

Bruce reacted by introducing Fernando Forestieri for Hooper.

And with 15 minutes remaining the Owls made their final change with Steven Fletcher coming off for Atdhe Nuhiu, who scored two goals at Elland Road in Wednesday's win last season.

Leeds thought they had a second with 10 minutes to go but substitute Roofe was ruled offside when he struck inside the box.

In the end, Leeds saw out the game comfortably with Wednesday rarely threatening.

Sheffield Wednesday: Westwood; Palmer, Lees, Hector, Fox; Reach (Matias, 38), Bannan, Hutchinson, Boyd; Fletcher (Nuhiu, 75) Hooper (Forestieri, 65).

Subs: Dawson, Lazaar, Matias, Pelupessy, Winnall, Nuhiu, Forestieri.

Wednesday bookings: Lees, Hutchinson.

Leeds United: Casilla; Alioski, Cooper, Jansson, Ayling; Phillips, Klich (Forshaw), Roberts, Harrison (Dallas), Hernandez; Bamford, (Roofe, 64)

Subs: Farrell, Forshaw, Roofe, Dallas, Berardi, Shackleton, Clarke.

Attendance: 36,461

Referee: Tim Robinson