Late drama as Leeds United hit spot of trouble
Ross McCormack had an injury-time penalty saved as Leeds United lost again on another sorry night at Elland Road.
Fourth from bottom Charlton went away with all the points thanks to a superb strike from the angle of the box by Reza Ghoochannejhad early in the second half.
In a game that will not live long in the memory Leeds failed to create much in the 90 minutes and McCormack’s third successive spot kick failure summed up how everything is currently going wrong for the Whites.
Manager Brian McDermott sprung another of his selection surprises when he named centre-back Scott Wootton at right-back and gave Sam Byram and Aidy White wing roles with Cameron Stewart left out.
The selection did not work out as United failed to play at a high enough tempo in the first 45 minutes. They tried to pass the ball around, but struggled to create chances apart from one when Michael Tonge controlled the ball in the box only to shoot well over.
Matt Smith saw a weakly struck volley saved by Ben Hamer, but was below par and was taken off at half-time to be replaced by Noel Hunt.
Charlton showed little ambition and their only efforts were from long range and comfortably dealt with by home keeper Jack Butland.
Leeds came close to taking the lead early in the second half when McCormack turned smartly outside the box and hit a powerful shot that was unlucky to cannon off the underside of the crossbar.
Six minutes later it was the visitors’ turn to get a strike in from the edge of the box and Ghoochannejhad beat Butland with a well struck shot that bent into the far corner of the net.
The same player was denied by Butland after another strike from distance, but for the remainder of the game Charlton were happy to frustrate and see the game out for a win they will see as vital.
United still failed to create, aside from one effort when Hunt got round the back and sent a low cross in that McCormack met only to put wide under pressure.
Leeds looked to have been given a lifeline in the third minute of injury-time when White was pushed over in the area by Diego Poyet and referee Scott Duncan pointed to the spot. Up stepped McCormack only to see his penalty saved low down by Hamer.
The celebrations among the visiting players showed how much the save meant and Leeds were left to reflect on another night of woe with the spectre of possible relegation beginning to rear its head again.
Leeds United 0
Charlton Athletic 1
Tuesday, April 1, 20014
Sky Bet Championship
Leeds: Butland; Wootton (Poleon 70), Lees. Pearce, Warnock; Byram, Tonge, Mowatt, White; McCormack, Smith (Hunt 45).
Charlton: Hamer; Wilson, Morrison, Dervite, Wiggins; Cousins, Jackson, Poyet, Ghoochannejhad (Pettruci 84), Ajdarevic (Harriott 78); Pigott (Obika 53).
Referee: Scott Duncan.