Before Saturday’s home fixture against Ipswich, Leeds fans protested against Ken Bates’ ownership of the club as another star seems set to leave Elland Road.
Upsetting enough for fans is that a key player is on his way out, but not only that the man in question is their captain, Jonny Howson, Leeds fan born and bred. He may have been injured since December, but his move to Norwich has left a bitter taste in the mouths of fans of the west Yorkshire club, with chairman Bates at the forefront of their anger for what they see as allowing their prized asset leave for a seemingly minimal sum.
Investment is what the Leeds fans are demanding, and the protests look set to continue unless the club are seen to move forward towards their goal of regaining their status in the top flight of English football.
The Leeds fans spirits were lifted by the end of 90 minutes at the weekend though, as their side came from behind to beat Ipswich Town with three goals in the last 16 minutes of the game at Elland Road.
Simon Grayson’s side were poor in the first half, however, with Ipswich controlling the game, and the visitors took the lead on 34 minutes. Adam Drury combined with Lee Martin from a short corner with Drury hitting home from 20 yards through a crowd of players deceiving Andy Lonergan in the Leeds goal.
On loan defender Fabian Delph was making his first appearance at Elland Road for the Whites since 2009 when he left to join Aston Villa, and showed his quality throughout the game with Leeds fans expecting a great deal from him in the coming weeks.
The game turned with 20 minutes to go when Ipswich keeper Alex McCarthy, who recently ended a loan spell at Elland Road, handled outside the box after a mix-up with defender Ibrahima Sonko and was shown a straight red for his troubles. This was the moment that brought Leeds to life and Ipswich crumbled.
Sonko was at fault for the first Leeds goal after a bizarre backpass went straight to Robert Snodgrass, who finished calmly past replacement keeper Arran Lee-Barrett. Next it was Lee-Barrett’s turn to make a mistake in the Tractor Boys’ defence as he was indecisive from a long through ball, allowing Ross McCormack to capitalise and give Leeds the lead with eight minutes left on the clock.
Leeds sealed the win in injury time when the Ipswich defence failed to deal with a long clearance by Lonergan, allowing the ball to bounch for Luicano Becchio to grab the opportunity to hand his side the certainty of all three points.
Leeds move up to ninth just one point outside the play-off positions while Ipswich drop to 21st, loitering just above the drop zone and in desperate need of improvement if they are to salvage anything from this season.
It remains to be seen what will happen in the remainder of the transfer window, but if Leeds can hang on to loan signing Delph for the rest of the season, this may give them that extra bit of quality required to get back into the play-off positions, and back in with a chance at Premier League football.
Birmingham moved into the play-off positions with a convincing win over Watford at St Andrew’s. Centre back Curtis Davies opened the scoring in the 30th minute, and scored again fifteen minutes after the break. Chris Burke wrapped the game up in the 81st minute, smashing home a rebound.
The suprise of the day came at the Ricoh Arena, as bottom club Coventry thumped fourth placed Middlesbrough 3-1. Debutant Alex Nimley was the star of the show as he scored one and set up another for the Sky Blues – Nimley’s performance must have added to Boro boss Tony Mowbray’s frustations with the player spending time on loan at Middlesbrough in the first half of the season, failing to score in nine appearances for the Teessiders.
Gary McSheffrey scored the opener before Kevin Thompson was sent off for Boro before half time. Nimley then netted before Matthew Bates’ own goal made it 3-0 to the home side with Scott McDonald scoring a consolation for the visitors, who also had Julio Arca sent off.
West Ham moved above Southampton, who play tonight against Leicester, to take over top spot in the Championship with a 2-1 home win over Nottingham Forest. Mark Noble converted two controversial penalities, one in each half, and Lewis McGugan scored deep into injury time which came too late for any Forest comeback.
Hull and Cardiff cemented their places in the play-off places with wins over Reading and Portsmouth respectively. Robbie Brady scored the only goal of the game to give Hull all three points, while the game at the Cardiff City Stadium was settled by an injury-time winner from Craig Conway leaving the final score 3-2.
Meanwhile, there were wins for Millwall away at Barnsley (1-3), Blackpool at home to Crystal Palace (2-1), Bristol City at home to Doncaster (2-1), Brighton away to Peterborough (1-2), and a goalless draw between Burnley and Derby.
Tags: Birmingham, Coventry, Fabian Delph, Ipswich Town, Jonny Howson, Ken Bates, Leeds United, Simon Grayson, The Championship, West Ham United