Nottingham Forest 2-0 Leeds: Sammy Ameobi and Tyler Walker boost Forest to HUGE win as Leeds’ automatic promotion hopes suffer blow
- Leeds travelled to the City Ground to face Nottingham Forest on Saturday
- Sammy Ameobi opened the scoring, driving in and scoring after 31 minutes
- The hosts sealed the win as Tyler Walker caught Leeds on the break late on
- The result was significant for both sides, with the visitors suffering a huge blow
It’s sixteen long years since Leeds last adorned the Premier League.
They have now spent ten of those in the purgatory of the Championship, that realm which always promises elevation to a higher state but only after sufficient suffering has been borne.
Just now it seems their fate is to be stuck here. The purification of their souls will seemingly take a time longer.
The promised land loomed large two months ago Leeds went top and had a comfortable eleven-point cushion between themselves and third place. The promotion slots looked, if not taken, at least reserved.
Sammy Ameobi’s first-half strike was the difference as Nottingham Forest beat Leeds
Marcelo Bielsa’s side’s promotion hopes are now in danger after back-to-back losses
Now just three points separate the top five. Leeds remain second but for how long? Fulham are on equal points and their conquerors here, Nottingham Forest, just a point behind now.
They have lost four out of their last five Championship games. Everything is slipping away.
Nothing is quite going for them now. Here, at the end, they at least showed heart. They threw men forward. They scrambled to get their point. On 76 minutes, skipper Liam Cooper directed a firm header goal.
Though Brice Samba saved, he couldn’t collect and the ball fizzed up above his, spinning in the air. For all the world it looked set to bounce over the line.
The Leeds fans behind the goal willed it in. Samba flung a a desperate arm in the air. He clawed at the ball, connected and thrust it away. And the moment was gone.
Tyler Walker tapped in late in injury-time, burying the struggling second placed side
In injury time, they would desperately throw men forward for a final free kick. They jostled on the edge of the area, awaiting the last chance.
Yet somehow you sensed what was coming: the breakaway to finish them off. Ben Watson would smash the ball clear in desperation rather than with any precision.
MATCH FACTS AND PLAYER RATINGS
Nottm Forest (4-2-3-1) Samba 8; Cash 8, Figueiredo 8, Worrall 8, Riberio 7; Sow 7 Watson 7; Ameobi 8.5 (Diakhaby 67 7), Tiago Silva 7 (Yates 78) Lolley 9; Grabban 6 (Walker 90)
Subs: Muric, Bong, Jenkinson, Dawson
Leeds: (4-3-3) Casilla 4; Dallas 6, Ayling 6, Cooper 6.5, Alioski 7 (Shackleton 71, 6.5); Hernadez 6 (Roberts 60 6) White, 6 Klich 6; Costa,6 Bamford, 5 (Augustin 71, 8) Harrison 6
Subs: Meslier, Berardi, Struijk, Stevens
Yet Jack Harrison faltered, unable to bring it under control. Joe Lolley pounced, robbing Harrison of possession, sprinted forward. Leeds were completely exposed and the City Ground delirious now in excitement.
Alongside Lolley was sub Tyler Walker, son of Des, keeping up stride for stride in the manner of his stylish father. Lolley simply rolled the ball across so Walker would smash it into the net. He would claim he was too tired to shoot. He had covered half the pitch in double quick time. But it meant that Leeds were utterly broken.
Of course, Forest boast an even prouder pedigree that their opponents. ‘Champions of Europe/You’ll never sing that,’ they chanted at their counterparts who merely have a European Cup final to their name, not the trophy itself.
As a second tier matches go, there wouldn’t be many in the world to match this for status. A capacity 29,455 crowd and an atmosphere to shame the average Premier League corporate bowl, spoke of the illustrious histories of these respective clubs.
Bielsa now faces the task of performing a turnaround, with Leeds sliding towards the play-offs
Yet a glorious past can be a heavy burden. The visionary Marcelo Bielsa came to lift that weight, an inspired choice. Except that, after another fine start, his side is faltering again.
Bielsa crouched pose in the technical area somehow seems apt when his team are chucking the season away. He looks like a nervous ball of angst. His team play in his image.
Sabri Lamouchi’s team by contrast have momentum and the wind in their sails. The aberration at Birmingham City last week aside, they haven’t lost in the league since Christmas.
Their promotion credentials grow ever stronger. In short, they have paced themselves well. And now they are hauling in the early pacemakers, who are falling aside.
Leeds had to contend with the erratic performance of goalkeeper Kiko Casilla: one quick throw out, intended to launch a counter attack, was flung directly at the feet of Forest skipper Ben Watson.
Really he should have just sent it back, first time, over the head of the goalkeeper. Instead he took a touch and drilled it well wide. It was a calamitous moment from Casilla.
Forest can now aim for automatic promotion rather than merely a play-off spot
Leeds had little answer for Forest’s organisation and grit, as the hosts earned a vital win
Yet it was Forest’s opening goal on 30 minutes where he truly exposed. Sammy Ameobi exchanged passes down the left and ran impressively directly into the Leeds penalty area.
And though his run, poise and strike was not without merit, the positioning of Casilla, who seemed to be expecting a shot to his far post, was extremely questionable. Ameobi simply used the gap the ‘keeper left at the near post to beat him.
It was no more than Forest deserved. Leeds had only shown in fits and starts. Ezgjan Alioski’s turn and shot on 29 minutes, just before the opening goal, being the best effort, deflected wide. Forest though had the bulk of possession, greater energy and more intent.
The couldn’t turn that into clear goal-scoring chances but Tiago Silva went close with a fine strike from 25 yards out which Casilla did well to tip wide.
Walker tapped in to set off a huge roar from the Forest fans after pouncing in the 94th minute
In truth both sides were wasteful with possession. The prize that awaits them is so great that nerves infused much of the game. Quality will have to improve if either of these teams make the step up.
Yet Forest still remained on top when the teams returned after half time. Their energy is more frenetic than nervous. They looked sure to extend their league when Lolley dashed down the right, leaving a trail of Leeds defenders in his wake.
Cutting inside, he sold Casilla a dummy and with the keeper on the floor pushed the ball to Grabban. Inexplicably he shot straight at the stricken Casilla.
Leeds would survive that. They would rally. But they would ultimately be beaten. Right now it’s a habit they can’t shake.
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