SkyBet Championship: New Leeds United co-owner backs Massimo Cellino

Andrea Radrizzani has given his backing to his fellow Leeds United co-owner for the cost-cutting measures he has implemented at the club.

co-owners
Support: Radrizzani has backed Cellino for his strategy as owner (Picture from Sky Sports)

Andrea Radrizzani has backed his fellow Leeds United co-owner and felt Massimo Cellino had no choice but to upset people as he cleaned up the club’s finances.

Cellino, who took complete control of the Championship side in April 2014, has since trimmed the staff at Elland Road in a bid to cut costs.

The Italian completed the sale of 50 per cent of the club to compatriot Radrizzani, who has praised his new boardroom partner for enabling the West Yorkshire outfit to be on a sounder financial footing.

In his first press gathering since arriving at the club this week, businessman Radrizzani said: “The club has had a rollercoaster in the last decade.

“When Massimo Cellino acquired the club he didn’t expect even himself to find so many financial troubles and losses.

“At the moment the club is not at breakeven but is not in a bad financial situation. The club is recovering. In the last two years since Massimo came in he wasn’t nice to many people but he had to be tough to cut costs.

“It seemed to be difficult then but it’s much better now. At the same time the Football League is a loss-making league. It’s difficult to make money in this league, almost impossible.

“We need to be creative to make the financial numbers look good.”

Cellino – who sacked 43 managers in 22 years at his previous club Cagliari – has been a controversial and divisive figure during his time at the club.

He was given an 18-month ban by the Football Association last month for breaking agent regulations in the signing of Ross McCormack in the summer of 2014.

Cellino has already given the boot to six bosses in West Yorkshire in Brian McDermott, David Hockaday, Darko Milanic, Neil Redfearn, Uwe Rosler and Steve Evans before appointing former Swansea boss Garry Monk last summer.

High-flying Leeds are third in the table after taking their unbeaten run to seven games in all competitions with Friday night’s 1-0 home win over fellow promotion contenders Derby County.

READ MORE: Local journalist’s insight into new Leeds United co-owner

Peter Beagrie: Leeds United need to strengthen in January transfer window

The Sky Sports pundit still believes Garry Monk needs to be busy in the transfer market if the club are to sustain a promotion challenge this season.

peter-beagrie
Bolstering their ranks: The Football League pundit thinks Leeds need to add numbers in January to stay in the promotion battle (Picture from Sky Sports)

Peter Beagrie believes high-flying Leeds United still need to strengthen in the January transfer window, despite their current lofty position in the SkyBet Championship table. 

Garry Monk’s side are third and unbeaten in seven games after a 1-0 victory over fellow promotion contenders Derby County at Elland Road on Friday night, which moved them eight points clear of seventh place.

Monk has already made the loan move for his former Swansea team-mate and creative playmaker Pablo Hernandez permanent from Qatar outfit Al Arabi this month.

But, identifying two key positions he feels the Yorkshire club need more cover, former Bradford and Everton winger Beagrie thinks more transfer activity is required if they are to maintain their promotion challenge.

garry-monk
Transformation: The former Swansea boss has overseen a remarkable turnaround in west Yorkshire so far this season (Picture from Sky Sports)

Speaking before the game, when asked if they need further additions to the squad, Beagrie told Sky Sports: “Yes, I think so. We said before they need to get players who are going to improve this team – not players who are just going to come and be bit-part players.

“They’ve tried to get the loanees secured long-term or as long as possible, that’s happened to a degree, and I think they’ve identified centre-half has been a problem position if important players get injured, and a centre-forward as cover for [Chris] Wood as well.

“If he goes out of the equation I think promotion hopes do slip slightly.”

david-prutton
Former player: Ex-midfielder Prutton scored four goals in 67 appearances for Leeds between 2007 and 2010 (Picture from Sky Sports)

Fellow pundit David Prutton also highlighted the significance of head coach Monk being able to continue to take care of football matters without interference from the club’s hierarchy.

The former Leeds midfielder said: “That’s fundamental to the way this club moves forward – that’s got to be maintained, letting him get on with the stuff that goes on within the borders of the white markers on the pitch is exactly what he was brought in for and what he’s good at.

“And leave the business to the people who know how to work businesses and maximise businesses.”

Leeds are currently without a number of first-team players through injury and suspension as they prepare for their next game against Yorkshire rivals Barnsley at Oakwell on January 21.

READ MORE: Local journalist’s insight into new Leeds United co-owner

SkyBet Championship: Local journalist’s insight into new Leeds United co-owner

Yorkshire Evening Post’s Phil Hay gives his thoughts on what Leeds United’s new Italian co-owner Andrea Radrizzani will bring to Elland Road.

co-owners
Joining forces: Cellino and Radrizzani will work together to take care of the running of the club – at least for now (Picture from Sky Sports)

It’s the start of yet another new era at Leeds United Football Club but one that may actually herald a brighter outlook for the immediate future. 

Italian businessman Andrea Radrizzani began life as the club’s new co-owner this week after acquiring a 50 per cent share from Massimo Cellino.

The 42-year-old met with head coach Garry Monk, the coaching staff and the players on the training ground for the first time on Thursday.

And he was in the stands at Elland Road on Friday night to witness the high-flying Yorkshire outfit move up to third in the Championship with a 1-0 win over fellow promotion contenders Derby County.

By following a team through thick and thin, day in day out, watching every game and attending every press conference, a local journalist can often be the font of all knowledge and opinion when it comes to a football club.

phil-hay
Well-respected: Phil Hay has 96,000 followers on Twitter and regularly attends Leeds United matches (Picture from Sky Sports)

Phil Hay, chief football writer for the Yorkshire Evening Post, has been covering Leeds for many years.

Before the match against Derby, Sky Sports caught up with Hay, who gave his views on what the boardroom change may mean for Radrizzani, the club, Monk and Cellino.

Here is the interview in full…


On what to expect from Radrizzani:

“If you look at Radrizzani’s background and his business background, he’s been involved in and pretty much pursued right from the start of his career sports broadcasting and media rights – that is his specialism and his area of expertise.

“He is a very business-minded animal. I think people will hope that, aside from the football aspect of the business here, that commercially he will bring new ideas and new ways of working.

“On the football side, it’s his first taste of football club ownership and I think he knows himself that he has plenty to learn about that and I think, while he won’t be hands-off in the next six months, I think he’ll avoid being front and centre so he can get to grips with that and get a feel for how a club operates and works.”

leeds-co-owner
Negotiations: Radrizzani could also acquire Cellino’s remaining shares at the end of the current season (Picture from Sky Sports)

On relationship with Monk:

“Garry Monk seems very happy – he says he’s been impressed with him. He met with Monk and the squad on Thursday night, also with Monk for dinner on Wednesday evening, and it’s pretty clear already that Radrizzani is very happy with the job Monk is doing.

“There’s definite backing there and no question at all that Monk’s position is any less secure now than it was before the investment.”

garry-monk
First: Monk is now the longest-serving manager since Cellino took over in April 2014 after being in charge since last June (Picture from Sky Sports)

On how it will work with co-owner Cellino:

“We’re told that it is a straight 50/50 split and in practice it will work like that – it is a straight division of authority. They will share the decision making – it’s an interesting dynamic and it is not in Cellino’s make-up generally, or hasn’t been in the past, to split authority like this.

“He very much intended at the outset to own 100% of this club but of course he has a Football Association ban pending as well, which potentially starts on February 1 and runs for 18 months.

“That’s significant from the point of view of how it will change things in the boardroom from the additional pressure it might ask of Radrizzani, so it remains to be seen I think that’s a question Radrizzani will answer himself.”

massimo-cellino-leeds-owner-at-elland-road-22nd-august-2015
Trouble ahead: Cellino, 60, was fined £250,000 and given a future ban last year for breaking FA regulations over the transfer of Ross McCormack in 2014 (Picture from Sky Sports)

On whether he will bring in extra money to invest in transfer window:

“I don’t think January will change significantly as a result of this deal. I think Garry Monk is very clear on the type of players he wanted, the number of players he wanted and, speaking to him a couple of times since the deal went through, that hasn’t really changed.

“I think he still knows who he wants, I think he still knows the positions that he wants to work in.

“It might help to get those deals done but I don’t we’ll go from a position of no money to a position of a huge amount of money – I think the budget is as it was.”

READ MORE: Peter Beagrie – Leeds need to strengthen in transfer window

Football League: Simon Hooper to referee Fulham v Newcastle opener

Simon Hooper will referee Friday’s 2016-17 Championship opener, while three officials make their Football League debuts and Lee Probert returns to action.

Simon Hooper and Ben Mee (Burnley v Brighton - 22nd Nov 2015)
On the box: Hooper handled six Championship games on TV last season, as well as one in League One and another in the League Cup (Picture from Sky Sports)

SIMON Hooper will referee the opening match of the 2016-17 SkyBet English Football League season on Friday night.

The 34-year-old, from Wiltshire, will be in the middle for Fulham against relegated Newcastle United in the Championship at Craven Cottage (KO 19:45 BST, live on Sky Sports).

He will be ably assisted in west London by Adam Crysell (Essex) and Robert Hyde (London), while the fourth official is David Coote (west Yorkshire), who will fulfil the same role for Saturday’s Championship match between Bristol City and newly-promoted Wigan Athletic at Ashton Gate.

Hooper will also be the fourth official for Ipswich Town’s match with Barnsley at Portman Road on Saturday.

Simon Hooper referee (Burnley v Brighton - 22nd Nov 2015)
Aim: Hooper, who has been fourth official for a number of Premier League games, has ambitions to become a Select Group referee (Picture from Sky Sports)

Last season, he took charge of his only Premier League game on the opening weekend when Norwich lost 3-1 to Crystal Palace at Carrow Road – in which he controversially ruled out a second-half Cameron Jerome equaliser for the Canaries.

His display was heavily criticised, including by former top-flight official Mark Halsey.

Hooper also made headlines on the opening weekend two years ago when he appeared to be shoved by Norwich’s Martin Olsson as he sent off the defender in their 1-0 Championship defeat by Wolves at Molineux.

The former IT services manager, who has officiated over 100 Championship games, is now one of 18 referees which forms the new Select Group 2 to take charge of second-tier matches.

Simon Hooper stats
Statistics: How Simon Hooper’s 2015-16 campaign fared across all competitions (Picture from Transfermarkt.com)

The Swindon-based whistler handled 43 games across all competitions last term – brandishing 103 yellow cards, sending off two players and awarding 11 penalties.

Failing to make the grade at Swindon Town as a striker when released at the age of 16 after seven years at his hometown club, Hooper took up refereeing with his father Pete and progressed to earn promotion to the Football League as a linesman in 2006.

He oversaw the Conference League Cup Final in 2008 at the end of his first campaign as a National List referee, in which Aldershot Town defeated Rushden and Diamonds 4-3 on penalties after a 3-3 draw at the Recreation Ground.

His first ever Football League game came in the fourth tier when Exeter faced Shrewsbury in August 2007.

Simon Hooper (Brentford 0-1 M'boro at Griffin Park - 31st Jan 2015)
Decade: Hooper is starting his 10th season as a National Group referee (Picture from Sky Sports)

Hooper has had two trips to Wembley in his career so far – refereeing the 2015 League Two Play-Off Final after being fourth official for the FA Trophy Final in the same year.

He will control his first game involving Newcastle but encountered Fulham three times last season – their 3-2 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday in September, 4-1 win over Rotherham in December, and 2-2 draw with Reading in March in which he awarded two penalties.

It’s the start of Fulham’s third consecutive season in the Championship and first full campaign under former Watford manager Slavisa Jokanovic.

Newcastle, relegated from the Premier League last season, face a second Championship season in six years and Rafael Benitez’s side have been installed as promotion favourites by bookmakers.


Oliver Langford with Sam Clucas (v Reading - 16th Dec 2015)
Established: Langford has handled almost 200 games in his eight seasons in the Football League so far (Picture from Sky Sports)

Elsewhere, Oliver Langford will be in charge of Sunday’s first televised game between QPR and Leeds United at Loftus Road (KO 12:00 BST, live on Sky Sports).

The West Midlands whistler will be assisted by Steven Meredith (Nottinghamshire) and Mark Russell (Somerset), while Andy Madley (west Yorkshire) will be the fourth official.

Also, Stephen Martin will be the man in charge for Sunday’s other game as Sheffield Wednesday take on Aston Villa (KO 16:30 BST, live on Sky Sports).

The Staffordshire-based referee will make the decisions at Hillsborough as last season’s play-off finalists Wednesday host relegated Villa, who will be under Roberto di Matteo in a competitive game for the first time.

Martin – who was fourth official for the League One Play-Off Final in May – has officiated over 150 Football League games since joining the National Group in 2012.

It’s not the first time he has received a Championship TV game on the opening weekend of the season after overseeing Ipswich’s 2-1 win over Fulham in August 2014.

Both refereed League Two Play-Off semi-finals last season – with Langford having an eventful night in Portsmouth’s 2-2 first-leg draw with Plymouth, while Martin took charge of AFC Wimbledon’s 1-0 first-leg win over Accrington Stanley.


LAST FIVE FOOTBALL LEAGUE SEASON OPENERS:

Keith Stroud referee (Blackburn v Burnley - 24th October 2015)
Seasoned campaigner: Experienced former Premier League official Stroud has overseen two of the last three opening matches to a Football League season (Picture from Sky Sports)

August 7, 2015:  Brighton 1-0 Nottingham Forest (Championship)
Referee:  Keith Stroud (Hampshire)

August 8, 2014:  Blackburn Rovers 1-1 Cardiff City (Championship)
Referee:  Andy Madley (West Yorkshire)

August 2, 2013:  Sheffield United 2-1 Notts County (League One)
Referee:  Keith Stroud (Hampshire)

August 17, 2012:  Cardiff City 1-0 Huddersfield (Championship)
Referee:  Roger East (Wiltshire)

August 5, 2011:  Hull City 0-1 Blackpool (Championship)
Referee:  Scott Mathieson (Cheshire)


ELSEWHERE…

John Brooks flags for offside (Arsenal v Man United - 4th October 2015)
Running the line: Brooks was a Premier League assistant referee for four seasons and joined the Fifa list in January 2015 (Picture from Sky Sports)

Three referees will be running out at Football League stadiums for their first games in the middle in League Two on the opening weekend.

Leicestershire’s John Brooks will take charge of Blackpool’s first fourth-tier game since relegation against Exeter City at Bloomfield Road.

Robert Jones, from Merseyside, will be in the middle for Newport County against Mansfield Town at Rodney Parade.

Ollie Yates (Staffordshire) faces a long journey to Somerset after being appointed to Yeovil Town’s opening match at home to Notts County.

All three officials were promoted from the National League during the summer, along with Michael Salisbury, Brett Huxtable and John Busby.

Brooks was a linesman for a number of high-profile Premier League games, as well as the 2014 Championship Play-Off Final and 2016 FA Cup Final – both at Wembley.

The 26-year-old will oversee Gary Bowyer’s first match in charge of the Seasiders, with the assistance of Michael Denton (Lancashire), Wayne Grunnill (East Yorkshire) and fourth official Alan Clayton (Cheshire).

Jones has refereed in the National League and Women’s Super League for two years as well as being a Football League assistant for over 100 games.

The Liverpool-based official had two trips to Wembley in May – as referee for the National League Promotion Final and assistant referee for the League One Play-Off Final.

He will be assisted on Saturday by Ravel Cheosiaua (Worcestershire) and Select Group linesman Andy Garratt (west Midlands), with Eddie Smart (west Midlands) in control of electronic board duties.

Meanwhile, Yates, who had been a Football League assistant since 2009, only refereed 21 National League games in two seasons but was fourth official for May’s Promotion Final between Grimsby Town and Forest Green Rovers.

His assistant referees at Somerset Park are Matt Eva (Surrey) and Michael Webb (Surrey), while Simon Knapp (Bristol) will be the fourth official.


MEANWHILE…

Lee Probert pulls out yellow card (Hull v Man Utd - 24th May 2015)
Injury-ravaged: Probert has handled 145 Premier League games since 2007 but only seven in the last two seasons (Picture from Sky Sports)

Premier League referee Lee Probert is set to make his long-awaited return from injury this weekend.

The Wiltshire-based whistler will take charge of the League Two clash between newly-promoted Cheltenham Town and Leyton Orient.

He will be assisted by Select Group linesmen Derek Eaton (Gloucestershire) and Andrew Fox (Warwickshire), with Marc Perry (West Midlands) acting as fourth official.

Probert has only handled 22 games in all competitions in the last two seasons having been sidelined with leg, knee and back problems respectively.

It led to rumours the 43-year-old could be forced to retire prematurely but, after officiating several pre-season friendlies, he will be back on duty at Whaddon Road – close to where he was born in south Gloucestershire.

Lee Probert sends off Marouane Fellaini (v Hull - 24th May 2015)
Seeing red: Probert sent off Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini in their goalless draw at Hull in his last domestic match on the final day of the 2014-15 Premier League season (Picture from Sky Sports)

Probert oversaw just one game last season – a Europa League qualifier in Belgium in July between Charleroi and Beitar Jerusalem, in which he issued seven yellows and two red cards.

He only officiated 21 games in 2014-15 – with the first not coming until December 20 in Accrington’s 1-1 draw with Wycombe in League Two.

Probert didn’t take charge of the first of his seven Premier League games that season until April 4 in QPR’s 4-1 win over 10-man West Brom at the Hawthorns.

He could be in line for a first top-flight match since May 2014 next weekend, in this his 10th year as a Select Group referee.

Probert – who was the man in black for the 2014 FA Cup Final at Wembley – is still one of eight English Fifa referees, having been on the list since 2010.

Click here for a full list of appointments for the Football League’s opening weekend

Brighton thrash poor Leeds United to boost promotion hopes

Brighton moved to within two points of Championship leaders Burnley as four first-half goals condemned Leeds United to a crushing defeat at the AMEX Stadium.

  •  Brighton now two points behind leaders Burnley
  •  Second successive 4-0 win for the Seagulls
  •  Leeds suffer heaviest defeat of the season so far 
  •  United nine points above the relegation zone 
Brighton celebrate third goal (v Leeds - 29th Feb 2016)
No mercy: Hemed struck his fifth goal in six games to put Brighton 3-0 up inside the opening half-hour (Picture from Sky Sports)

BRIGHTON moved to within a point of the SkyBet Championship’s top two as four first-half goals swept a poor Leeds United aside.

Tomer Hemed converted an 18th minute penalty after Scott Wootton felled Sam Baldock and Liam Cooper diverted a Baldock effort past his own keeper Marco Silvestri for 2-0.

Top scorer Hemed slotted in his second of the night – and 11th of the season – before Lewis Dunk powered home Dale Stephens’ corner to put Chris Hughton’s team out of sight.

Leeds marginally improved after the break as Alex Mowatt twice fired over but the damage had long been done, much to the dismay of the 1,522 fans who made the 520-mile round trip to west Sussex.

Steve Evans on the sidelines (v Brighton - 29th Feb 2016)
Alarming decline: Leeds United have now won just one of their last 11 matches in the Championship (Picture from Sky Sports)

Head coach Steve Evans repeatedly vented his fury on the sidelines as the error-prone visitors, who stay 17th in the table, contributed to their own downfall and remain without an away league win since December.

For Brighton, it was a second successive 4-0 victory after Bristol City fell victim at Ashton Gate six days ago as they went six points clear in fourth place with a dominant display in front of their home supporters.

The buoyant Seagulls looked like flying away with the game from the moment Hemed cheekily chipped home from the spot after referee Peter Bankes penalised Wootton for hauling down Baldock as he charged into the box.

Leeds again shot themselves in the foot when Cooper inadvertently steered Baldock’s poked attempt into his own net after good approach play involving the impressive Stephens.

Pre-match scene (Brighton v Leeds - 29th Feb 2016)
Edging closer: Brighton – beaten play-off semi-finalists in 2013 and 2014 – are bidding to reach the Premier League for the first time (Picture from Sky Sports)

Brighton were in the mood for more and Hemed slid a low shot into the bottom corner after Leeds skipper Sol Bamba failed to clear his lines effectively.

Jamie Murphy and Beram Kayal forced smart saves from Silvestri before Dunk got in on the act on 37 minutes with his first goal of the season, an unstoppable header into the top corner from a pinpoint Stephens delivery.

Evans sent on Mustapha Carayol for the wounded Wootton at the break but it was a damage limitation exercise for the beleaguered Whites, who restored a semblance of pride with a better second half performance.

Mowatt lashed over on two occasions from promising situations, Charlie Taylor tested David Stockdale and 20-year-old Lewie Coyle went close with a left-footed effort.

Hughton
Finding form: Hughton’s men have rediscovered their winning formula with a sixth victory in the last eight league games (Picture from Sky Sports)

Brighton struggled to fashion clear-cut chances after the break, Hemed produced a routine save out of Silvestri from the edge of the box and substitute Jiri Skalak was ran off the ball by Bamba when clean through.

But the hosts had already demonstrated their promotion credentials with a blistering four-goal spell in 21 minutes to complete a league double over Leeds, following a 2-1 success at Elland Road in October.

The Whites, meanwhile, will be desperate to get their biggest defeat in two years quickly out of their system as their wait for a first ever win at the AMEX Stadium was extended for another year.


TEAMS:

Brighton XI (v Leeds United - 29th Feb 2016)
Unchanged: Brighton named the same team that thrashed Bristol City 4-0 last Tuesday night (Picture from Sky Sports)

Substitutes:  Skalak (on for Baldock 74′), Wilson (on for Hemed 77′) and Sidwell (on for Kayal 78′).

Not used:  Maenpaa (GK), Greer, Calderon, Zamora.

Booked:  Rosenior (7′), Baldock (34′), Goldson (60′)

Goals:  Hemed (18′ pen, 28′), Cooper (22′ og), Dunk (38′)

 

Leeds United XI (v Brighton - 29th Feb 2016)
Two alterations: Scott Wootton and ex-Brighton midfielder Liam Bridcutt came in for Tom Adeyemi and Mirco Antenucci from their 1-1 draw with Fulham (Picture from Sky Sports)

Substitutes:  Carayol (on for Wootton 45′), Erwin (on for Doukara 75′) and Murphy (on for Diagouraga 84′).

Not used:  Peacock-Farrell (GK), Berardi, Adeyemi, Antenucci.

Booked:  Mowatt (33′), Coyle (57′), Cooper (68′), Taylor (90+3′)

Goals:  None

 

Peter Bankes referee (Brighton v Leeds - 29th Feb 2016)
Firm but fair: The official had a fair bit to contend with but handled proceedings well and wasn’t easily fooled by the players (Picture from Sky Sports)

Referee:  Peter Bankes (Merseyside) – 8/10
Attendance:  25,150

Hooper brace ensures Wednesday beat Leeds in Yorkshire derby

Gary Hooper’s brace gave Sheffield Wednesday a fourth straight win as Leeds United had a goal controversially ruled out in an enthralling Yorkshire derby at Hillsborough.

Hooper post-match
Doubling up: Hooper also scored twice in Wednesday’s 3-2 win over Bolton in midweek (Picture from Sky Sports)

SHEFFIELD Wednesday moved into the Championship play-offs with victory over Leeds United in an entertaining Yorkshire derby at Hillsborough tinged with controversy.

After a bright first-half display from the visitors, Gary Hooper scored twice in the first five minutes of the second half to give Wednesday a fourth successive win.

The striker – in the final appearance of his current loan spell from Norwich – capitalised twice from poor defending after good work from man of the match Fernando Forestieri.

Leeds thought they had pulled one back with 12 minutes remaining when Liam Cooper bundled home but Stuart Dallas’s free-kick had to be retaken – and the goal ruled out – as Forestieri had not left the field when being substituted.

Referee Anthony Taylor – a late call-up for the ill Kevin Friend – awarded the goal initially but then changed his mind after consulting with fourth official Geoff Eltringham.

Leeds disallowed goal 78 mins
Baffling: The referee allows play to continue even though Forestieri (top right) is still making his way off the field (Picture from Sky Sports)

The decision was described by Leeds head coach Steve Evans – who had missed the incident having gone to the dressing room to use the toilet – as “the worst you will ever see” and “absolutely horrendous”.

Opposite number Carlos Carvalhal thought “it was clear that the substitution had not finished” as Lucas Joao had not entered the field before Taylor signalled for the free-kick to be taken.

It mattered little in the end after Hooper showed his predatory instincts from close range on two occasions in quick succession to take Wednesday up to fifth in the table – their highest position of the season so far.

Amid a bright start from the hosts, the former Celtic frontman headed over Jack Hunt’s cross early on but Leeds grew into the contest and had the better first-half chances.

Steve Evans on sidelines
Sticky patch: Evans’s team are now winless in five games as Leeds suffered only a second defeat in the last eight meetings with Wednesday (Picture from Sky Sports)

Souleymane Doukara – who scored the Football League’s fastest goal after 12 seconds at Portman Road on Tuesday – missed a sitter from four yards albeit Wednesday keeper Lewis Price made a miraculous stop after saving well from a low Dallas effort.

On-loan Middlesbrough winger Mustapha Carayol then missed his kick inside the box when latching on to a mishit Doukara shot.

Having been second best for long periods in the first half, Wednesday broke the deadlock just 70 seconds after the restart.

Marco Silvestri cheaply conceded a corner and – as a scrappy melee ensued – was eventually beaten when Forestieri’s persistence kept the situation alive and Hooper bundled the ball in despite the best efforts of Cooper on the line.

The Leeds keeper was culpable three minutes later when spilling Forestieri’s 20-yard shot and Hooper was on hand to stab into the bottom corner.

Hooper 2nd goal
Favourite opponents: Hooper has now scored seven goals against Leeds – more than against any other English club (Picture from Sky Sports)

Frustration appeared to kick in for Leeds, who were fortunate not to have Lewis Cook sent off for an aggressive lunge on Jack Hunt which received only a yellow card.

Doukara almost responded with a crisp strike that rattled the side netting after being fed by Luke Murphy before the drama ensued, to the fury of the Leeds bench.

At the second time of asking, Dallas’s free-kick found the head of Scott Wootton but Daniel Pudil – who was also lucky not to be shown a second yellow for a foul on Doukara – made a last-ditch clearance off the line.

Although Wednesday had a firm grip, Leeds pressed in the closing stages but to no avail as the Whites suffered back-to-back away defeats having previously gone eight games unbeaten.

It was Wednesday’s first victory over their fierce rivals since the infamous 6-0 drubbing two years ago – and their fifth in six league games as the Owls continue their fine start to 2016 and illustrate their play-off intentions.

Carvalhal on sidelines
Home sweet home: Carvalhal’s side are now unbeaten in 11 home games and have only lost once at Hillsborough (Picture from Sky Sports)

 

TEAMS:

Wednesday XI
Two changes: The experienced Lewis Price replaced Joe Wildsmith in goal and Sam Hutchinson came in for Atdhe Nuhiu (Picture from Sky Sports)

Substitutes:  Lucas Joao (on for Forestieri 78′), Helan (on for Wallace 83′) and Semedo (on for Hooper 87′).

Not used:  Dawson (GK), Sougou, Palmer, Nuhiu.

Booked:  Hutchinson (34′), Pudil (74′)

Goals:  Hooper (47′, 50′)

 

Leeds team
Two changes: Luke Murphy and Stuart Dallas were restored in place of Alex Mowatt and Sam Byram, who was left out after a £3 million bid from Everton was accepted on Thursday (Picture from Sky Sports)

Substitutes:  Mowatt (on for Carayol 70′) and Antenucci (on for Murphy 75′).

Not used:  Peacock-Farrell (GK), Bamba, Coyle, Adeyemi, Erwin.

Booked:  Bellusci (37′), Cook (55′)

Goals:  None

 

Anthony Taylor referee
Mixed afternoon: The Premier League official caused controversy by awarding a Leeds goal and then reversing his decision but largely kept his cards in his pocket (Picture from Sky Sports)

Referee:  Anthony Taylor (Cheshire) – 6/10
Attendance:  23,909

Leeds United strike late to deny Nottingham Forest

Sam Byram’s late strike helps Leeds United extend their unbeaten run to five matches as Nottingham Forest are denied a fifth straight home win.

  •  Leeds now five games unbeaten
  •  Forest dropped first home points since October
  •  Same scoreline as last season’s corresponding fixture
  •  Nelson Oliveira opener cancelled out by Sam Byram strike
Byram
For the road: The 22-year-old has now scored nine career goals away from home – but his Leeds future remains uncertain (Picture from Sky Sports)

SAM Byram’s late equaliser gave Leeds United a share of the spoils against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.

Forest’s top scorer Nelson Oliveira took full advantage of a defensive misjudgement to put the hosts ahead on 17 minutes.

Leeds bossed possession throughout and were rewarded when Byram – who could leave the club in the January transfer window – found the net with a low strike 10 minutes from time.

Forest carved out the better openings as substitute Oliver Burke struck a post late on but were denied a fifth straight home win.

A point took Dougie Freedman’s side up to 13th in the SkyBet Championship at the halfway stage of the campaign.

They are now a point and a place behind Leeds, who moved into the top half of the table after extending their unbeaten record to five matches.

Vaughan MOM
Experienced: The 32-year-old – who was promoted to the Premier League with Blackpool in 2010 – worked tirelessly for Forest in the engine room (Picture from Sky Sports)

The Yorkshire visitors – chasing a third successive league win for the first time since February – had a fast start as Stuart Dallas fired wide inside 90 seconds after good work from Lewis Cook.

Forest – who replaced injured Spanish left-back Daniel Pinillos with Michael Mancienne – eventually settled amid the driving east Midlands rain but Leeds were the more accomplished in every aspect.

Byram was correctly booked for diving by referee James Linington after going over in the box on the quarter hour mark and – shortly after – his side fell behind.

A simple long ball forward by Matt Mills caught out Giuseppe Bellusci and, as keeper Marco Silvestri raced out of the area, Oliveira capitalised to slot home his sixth goal of the season.

Oliveira goal 1-0 17 mins
Tap-in: The former Swansea striker was gifted the opening goal by a defensive mix-up (Picture from Sky Sports)

It was the only shot on target in a first half which saw Leeds enjoy 74 per cent of the ball but fail to provide the end product that their approach work merited despite the best efforts of full-back Charlie Taylor as an outlet down the left flank.

In front of the biggest attendance at a sold-out City Ground for 15 months, Forest defended resolutely and broke at every opportunity – with midfielder David Vaughan catching the eye with an all-action display.

A clash of heads on the stroke of half-time between Leeds defenders Liam Cooper and Scott Wootton, who required four stitches to a head wound during the interval, prompted an extended half-time break.

Scott Wootton with bandage (v Nottingham Forest - 27th Dec 2015)
Fixed up: Wootton re-emerged for the second half with a bandage around his head (Picture from Sky Sports)

Forest came out quicker with Oliveira rifling a free-kick over from 20 yards after Cooper tugged his shirt before Chris Wood lashed off target following an indecisive moment for Forest keeper Dorus de Vries.

The hosts almost snatched a second when a downward Mills header was nodded off the line by Luke Murphy from skipper Henri Lansbury’s corner.

Both sides made changes on the hour mark as the booked Ryan Mendes – who had a torrid time dealing with Taylor’s forward bursts – gave way for Jamie Ward and Leeds’ Souleymane Doukara swapped places with Cook.

The introduction of Robert Tesche – in place of the ineffective Chris O’Grady soon after – saw Forest switch to a five-man midfield and a seemingly more conservative approach.

Freedman on sidelines
Rival: The ex-Leeds United striker remains undefeated against Steve Evans in four meetings in his managerial career (Picture from Sky Sports)

Although Ward’s dipping effort was tipped over Silvestri and Oliveira had a penalty appeal turned down, Freedman’s decision backfired as his side’s lack of ruthlessness in the final third proved costly on 80 minutes.

Byram – who scored twice in Leeds’ 3-2 win at Wolves in their last away game – linked up with Doukara before firing a crisp right-footed effort into the bottom corner from 22 yards.

A thrilling finale could have brought about a winner for either team as Wood screwed tamely into De Vries’ gloves from a cross by substitute Mirco Antenucci, who also sliced a Wootton cutback wide of the post.

At the other end, Forest sub Burke, on his first appearance since August, hit the post in the 90th minute with a bouncing shot after Bellusci blocked Ward’s effort.

It means Forest are now unbeaten in six encounters against Leeds, whose excellent form under head coach Steve Evans continues but it will face another stern examination when current leaders Derby County visit Elland Road on Tuesday night.

Steve Evans on sidelines
Impact: The former Rotherham boss has guided Leeds to 19 points in his 12 league games in charge since taking over (Picture from Sky Sports)

 

TEAMS:

Forest XI
Reshuffle: Jack Hobbs came back into the Forest defence with Michael Mancienne switching to left-back for the first time in five games (Picture from Sky Sports)

Substitutes:  Ward (on for Mendes 62′), Tesche (on for O’Grady 68′) and O Burke (on for Vaughan 83′)

Not used:  Evtimov (GK), Trotter, C Burke, Blackstock.

Booked:  Mendes (57′), Lansbury (71′), Osborn (81′)

Goals:  Oliveira (17′)

 

Leeds XI
Continuity: Leeds were unchanged from last weekend’s 1-0 win over Preston despite facing three games in the space of 10 days (Picture from Sky Sports)

Substitutes:  Doukara (on for Cook 62′), Antenucci (on for Dallas 77′) and Coyle (on for Byram 90+3′)

Not used:  Peacock-Farrell (GK), Bamba, Sloth, Adeyemi.

Booked:  Byram (15′), Bellusci (71′)

Goals:  Byram (80′)

 

Ref with yellow
In control: Linington rightly booked Byram for diving and refused a Forest penalty appeal (Picture from Sky Sports)

Referee:  James Linington (Isle of Wight) – 8/10
Attendance:  27,551