Huge task for Leeds to pick them­selves up for a fi­nal push

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - FOOTBALL - TOM HARLE

HEAD COACH Garry Monk be­moaned Leeds United’s “un­fair” loss at Bur­ton Al­bion that saw their Cham­pi­onship play-off hopes take a crush­ing blow.

United’s down­fall at the Pirelli Sta­dium came through con­ced­ing two goals in three sec­ond-half min­utes to Marvin Sordell and Michael Kightly.

The vis­i­tors were for the most part frus­trated by Bur­ton’s solid de­fend­ing, but cre­ated sev­eral sec­ond-half chances.

Pon­tus Jans­son and Pablo Her­nan­dez headed chances wide, and Ke­mar Roofe had an ef­fort cleared off the line.

“We feel that’s an un­fair re­sult, to be hon­est,” said Monk.

“In the sec­ond half, you could see the in­ten­tion from the play­ers and there was only one team push­ing to win that game.

“They got that first goal through a mis­take from our­selves. It was a shock that they scored and the sec­ond was a re­sult of that.

“It was clear to every­one there that there was no way we de­served to lose that game.”

The Whites, with­out cap­tain Liam Brid­cutt due to an Achilles in­jury, be­gan in the as­cen­dancy and Her­nan­dez fired over the bar early on.

Monk’s side had the ball in the net on 10 min­utes when Chris Wood nod­ded in at the back post, but he was off­side.

The first half was a scrappy af­fair punc­tu­ated by poorly ex­e­cuted set-pieces and the clos­est ei­ther side would come be­fore the break was through Luke Ayling’s header from six yards.

The in­tro­duc­tion of Hadi Sacko on the hour mark, af­ter the at­tri­tional pat­tern of the game had con­tin­ued, yielded a spate of chances.

Jans­son headed pow­er­fully just wide and Her­nan­dez glanced Char­lie Tay­lor’s in­ven­tive cross off tar­get.

Bur­ton pun­ished Leeds in the most bru­tal fashion on 75 min­utes.

Sordell turned out­side the area and slot­ted past Rob Green into the bot­tom cor­ner, be­fore Kightly was played in sec­onds later and slid home to dou­ble the lead.

Three min­utes later, an un­likely late run from Kyle Bart­ley saw the de­fender stab home at the far post from a yard out to give Leeds hope.

The fi­nal 10 min­utes were a scram­ble. Roofe was de­nied by a de­fender on the line and Bur­ton were able to pose their own threat with for­mer Leeds striker Luke Var­ney twice de­nied by Green in the clos­ing mo­ments.

Leeds can still make the play-offs, but even two wins from their re­main­ing games may not be enough, with clos­est chal­lengers Ful­ham and Sh­effield Wed­nes­day vic­to­ri­ous on Satur­day to push them three points adrift.

“It’s out of our hands, but we have that duty to push as hard as we can and see if we can go into the last game with a chance,” said Monk.

FRUS­TRATED: Leeds United’s head coach Garry Monk looks on as his side go down at Bur­ton.

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