Leeds United welcomed Sheffield Wednesday to a bitterly cold Elland Road on St. Patricks Day, looking to halt their miserable run of form. The visitors came into this game without a win on the road since Boxing Day.
Head Coach, Paul Heckingbottom made two changes from the team that started at Reading last weekend with Stuart Dallas replacing the injured Samu Saiz and 19 year old Tom Pearce replacing Laurens De Bock at left back for his senior debut.
United, shooting towards the Kop in the first half, were immediately on the front foot managing to carve out two half chances in the opening five minutes, Alioski and Hernandez both looking threatening.
The first real chance of the half, however, fell to the visitors on seven minutes with Adam Reach forcing a smart stop from Bailey Peacock-Farrell after a decent through ball from Lucas Joao.
After a couple more half chances Leeds managed to fashion their first real effort after Stuart Dallas managed to carve a pass and find Adam Forshaw, with the midfielder taking a shot from 14 yards only for it to be deflected behind for a corner.
Leeds still continued to press and Ekuban although getting in some good positions, couldn’t find the composure for his first league goal.
Bailey Peacock-Farrell was called into action by Reach again on the 22nd minute producing a smart stop after the Wednesday man fired from around 25 yards.
Three minutes later, Leeds won a free kick. A well worked routine saw Hernandez, tee up Pennington who played a smart pass through the Wednesday defence only for Caleb Ekuban to fire straight at Wildsmith.
On the 29th minute Alioski latched onto Ekuban’s pass only for Wildsmith to turn the chance away for a corner. The resulting corner carved out a wonderful chance for Leeds, the initial cross was cleared but O’Kane powered a header through the Wednesday defence only for Ekuban to fire his half volley into the Kop.
Apart from a couple more corners there wasn’t much between the sides until the 45th minute when Sam Hutchinson thought he had put the visitors ahead only for his header to be ruled out for offside.
Half-Time – Leeds United 0 – 0 Sheffield Wednesday
With the snow covering the Elland Road pitch over half time Leeds started the brighter once again with Alioski firing just over the bar, just three minutes after the restart.
It was the visitors next who went in search for a goal and Sam Hutchinson’s turn to fire into the Kop, after a mix up between Tom Pearce and Matthew Pennington allowed Lucas Joao to lay the ball off on 54 minutes.
Despite the snow, the game was beginning to open up, with Leeds coming forward two minutes later and winning a free kick. Despite sweetly striking it Pablo Hernandez’s effort could only find its way into the side netting.
Minutes later Leeds had a penalty shout after Alioski appeared to be bundled to the ground, however referee Keith Stroud waved away the protests.
Still searching for an elusive goal Paul Heckingbottom replaced Caleb Ekuban with Pierre-Michel Lasogga but moments later it was Wednesday who took the lead after Adam Reach’s header from a Jack Hunt cross hit the post and kindly fell for Atdhe Nuhiu to poke in, in front of the Kop.
Leeds however immediately went in search for an equaliser with Hernandez managing to get onto the end of Alioski’s through ball but his shot, from a tight angle was easily saved by Joe Wildsmith.
Three minutes later Paul Heckingbottom made use of another attacking option by bringing on Jay-Roy Grot for Tom Pearce, followed two minutes later by Phillips replacing O’Kane.
The first change paid dividends and after Adam Forshaw fired over, Jay-Roy Grot headed home Hernandez’s cross for his first senior goal and to level up the game with just over three minutes of normal time remaining.
With the momentum firmly in Leeds’ favour they pushed for a winning goal and they won a free kick midway inside the Wednesday half. Hernandez floated a ball into the area but Matthew Pennington could only head his effort over the bar and behind for a goal kick.
As six minutes of added time were announced Wednesday broke, Atdhe Nuhiu latched onto the ball after a poorly timed header from Jansson and slotted past Bailey Peacock-Farrell, summing up Leeds’ 2018.
Wednesday inevitably tried to waste time but Leeds did manage to break and Pierre-Michel Lasogga won a free kick on the edge of the box but could only thrash his powerful effort wide of the goal, with the referee bringing an end to the proceedings.
Full Time – Leeds United 1 – 2 Sheffield Wednesday
Leeds United: Peacock-Farrell, Berardi, Pennington, Jansson, Pearce (Grot 77), O’Kane (Phillips 78), Forshaw, Alioski, Hernandez, Dallas, Ekuban (Lasogga 69). Subs not used: Wiedwald, Anita, Sacko, Ronaldo Vieira.
Sheff Wed: Wildsmith, Hunt, Venancio, Lees, Pudil, Boyd, Pelupessy (Fox 90), Hutchinson (Bannan 66), Reach, Nuhiu, Joao. Subs not used: Dawson, Jones, Rhodes, Butterfield, Palmer.
Attendance: 31,638 (2,039 away)