ANOTHER empty handed trip to Wales left manager Simon Grayson (pictured) unhappy on several grounds as Leeds United lost their promotion six-pointer at the Liberty Stadium.
Swansea joined Cardiff (twice) in inflicting United’s only defeats in their last 22 league games and Grayson was left fuming at his side’s performance and that of referee Phil Dowd, who failed to award a stonewall penalty in the first half when the score was 1-0.
“We got out of the game excatly what we deserved,” said Grayson after the 3-0 defeat.
“We didn’t start the game well enough. Swansea played very well, they were a lot sharper with and without the ball and we didn’t play anwhere near as well as we can do.
“But games can be changed by decisions and we had a massive decision that went against us at 1-0 when we should have had a penalty.
“How it’s never been given I will never know. They are the breaks sometimes you need away from home. It was a major factor in the game.
“You have assistants there and it’s not as if they are officials from the lower leagues, they are from the Premier League and they have missed a major decision. At 1-1 we could have got back into it because we have players that are capable of winning matches.
“We didn’t have the energy to run round the pitch and get close to people. Ideally we would have liked to play with three midfield players and we tried to bring someone in before the weekend, but that didn’t happen .
“The one player that did well was Max Gradel, the rest of the players were far below the standards they have set themselves in the recent weeks and months.”
Leeds started poorly and could have already been two down before Swansea took the lead on 13 minutes as Scott Sincalir linked with Luke Moore on the edge of the box and fired past Kasper Schemichel.
Sinclair and fellow winger Nathan Dyer gave on-loan full-backs Eric Lichaj and George McCartney a torrid time and Sinclair gave early warning when he fired wide when unmarked in the box while Stephen Dobbie hit the post in the fifth minute.
United did hang on in and gradually got a foothold in the game to come on strong late in the half when they should have been given a penalty as Robert Snodgrass’s goalbound shot was clearly handled by Alan Tait, but referee Dowd, who got himself in a bad position, did not point to the spot and was not helped by his assistant. To add to the injustice it was Kilkenny, not Tait, booked for making it clear what he thought about the awful decision.
More bad luck followed as Somma’s header from Neil Kilkenny’s free-kick corner hit the crossbar.
But Leeds could not maintain the momentum after the break and fell further behind when Dowd this time had no hesitation in awarding a penalty for the hosts as Dyer was clipped and theatrically tumbled under a challenge from Gradel right on the edge of the box.
Sinclair put away the spot kick - his fourth already of 2011 - and it was effectively game over, although United did have one more great chance when Somma raced clear only for his volley to be tipped over by Dorus De Vries.
Schmeichel kept out Mark Gower’s excellent free-kick with the aid of the post, but Swansea put the game to bed with a third on 72 minutes when Luke Moore was given the freedom of the Leeds area to run onto Dobbie’s astute pass to fire past the United keeper.
Swansea City 3
(Sinclair 13, 55, pen, Moore 72)
Leeds United 0
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Swansea: De Vries, Rangel, Williams, Tate, Taylor, Dyer, Allen, Dobbie (Britton 77), Gower, Sinclair, Moore (Beattie 80).
Leeds: Schmeichel, Lichaj, O’Brien, Bruce, McCartney (Parker 73), Snodgrass (Paynter 73), Kilkenny, Howson, Gradel, Somma, Becchio (Watt 61).
Referee: Phil Dowd