Leeds fell to their first home defeat of the season as they lost 1-0 to an impressive Sunderland
side. Carl Robinson scored the only goal but debutant Brett Ormerod missed a penalty for Leeds to salvage a point.
On an emotional evening at Elland Road a minutes silence was held for Brian Clough who influenced
both teams, albeit in different capacities!. Sunderland started the brighter and had two corners in the opening minutes but
nothing came of them.
It was a cracking atmosphere at Elland Road and both sets of fans were in full voice. The only
goal Leeds had conceded at Elland Road this year was an Andy Reid penalty against Nottingham Forest and Sunderland were really
testing out the Leeds back line with a sustained spell of pressure, but early on, Leeds held firm.
The first real incident of the game came after ten minutes when Brian Deane expertly headed
in a Jermaine Wright corner but the referee ruled it out for an apparent foul by Clarke Carlisle. And just a minute after,
Pugh swung in a free kick which if Carlisle could have made heavier contact with, would surely have brought the first goal.
There was then a sickening clash of heads between Leeds old boy Caldwell and new boy Ormerod.
Caldwell cut his eye and Ormerod had a gash in his head. Both had to leave the field for treatment. Ormerod took to the field
five minutes later with a number of stitches. With an attitude like that, it won't take the Leeds fans long to take to him.
Just after the half hour Leeds were nearly caught out when a deflected shot from Whitehead
flashed past the post. Sunderland hit Leeds on the counter attack and Crainey was caught out of position. Whitehead hit a
shot goalbound and Brown got the faintest of touches on it to send the ball just past the post. A lucky escape for Leeds.
Sunderland were playing with more attacking intent than any other side that had visited Elland
Road this season and Leeds were being put under a fair amount of pressure, especially from the lively Stephen Elliott. But
as the half drew to a close neither side would be going in with the upper hand.
Sunderland started the second half the brighter and early pressure brought a corner but it
came to nothing. Leeds had their Skipper Butler to thank for the scores staying level after ten minutes of the second half
Whitehead played Elliott in and the young Irishman looked to have the goal at his mercy. But
a last ditch tackle from Butler did just enough to stop the striker from shooting. And immediately after Deane had a chance
but headed wide after good work from Kelly.
Carl Robinson was the next to try his luck for The Black Cats when a free-kick was only partially
cleared to the edge of the box and the midfielder shot wide.
*GOAL. But he made no mistake with his next opportunity. From a throw-in on the Sunderland
left they worked a way through a static Leeds defence and Robinson kept a cool head to finish past Sullivan for the first
time in open play at Elland Road this season.
And lucky for Leeds, Sullivan was alert soon after the goal as he was at full stretch to keep
out a shot from Whitehead.
Leeds finally managed to create an opening and it fell to Frazer Richardson. Deane won a flick
on the halfway line and Richardson scuttled clear, but he could only shoot over the bar. This was a real test for Blackwell's
men now to see how far they had come in a short space of time.
Leeds were handed a lifeline though when the referee awarded a penalty after some scrimaging
in the box. But debutant Ormerod wasted the opportunity when his tame penalty was kept out by Poom. The striker did have a
record of scoring for every club on his debut but he looked to have wasted that chance now.
For some inspiration Blackwell turned to Julian Joachim who replaced Richardson. He also brought
on the midweek hero, Michael Ricketts for Brian Deane. And when Sunderland made their first change it was a familiar face
Michael Bridges had started his career at Sunderland before having a successful spell at Leeds.
But when Bridges decided to leave after a terrible spell of injuries the Leeds fans turned against him, and his introduction
was met with a chorus of boos.
The final ten minutes were met with a lot of effort by Leeds but without much of an end product.
Even the three minutes of injury time couldn't produce an equaliser for Leeds.
So McCarthy's men continued their good run but for Blackwell's boy's it was back to the drawing
board. A first home defeat and first loss in five halted the progress of The Whites.