'We never know when we're beaten' - Leeds United boss Daniel Farke praises players and fans
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For the fourth game in a row under Farke the Whites conceded first and as in their previous home games they battled back – with Luke Ayling netting a 72nd minute equaliser this time.
But they could feel right aggrieved at the visitors' 52nd minute goal as the ball went in off Brandon Thomas-Asante's hand and should not have stood under the current rules.
Leeds could feel further aggrieved as the player who had the initial shot, Jayson Molumby, was lucky not to have been sent-off after being guilty of a professional foul on Dan James after earlier somehow escaping a booking for a deliberate handball.
With a referee who was card happy all night and finding his own reasons to book players it was amazing he escaped a sending-off.
With United having 16 shots to four they were on top for much of the contest as they did not let Albion play the football game they came to play. But again it was the lack of a killer finish that prevented the hosts from the victory their football richly deserved.
However, with 10 players having left the club in the summer, three not being considered for this game and eight injured it showed that Farke is developing a strong spirit with the ones who are left and crafting a decent side to watch.
Farke was pleased with his players' display and said: "If I have to criticise we have to be a bit more clinical.
"It was a game we definitely should have won. But I liked our performance against a really good, experienced side.
“They will be big contenders for promotion. Their youngest player was older than my average age of my entire squad, that says a lot about our circumstances.
“I loved the attitude, we never know when we're beaten. I want to praise the attitude and performance. The mentality and spirit were top class, under the circumstances.
“At the moment I have many compliments for my players and even more praise for the supporters.”
On the decision for West Brom's goal, Farke added: "Normally I never comment on decisions of the referee because we can't change it.
"Today even the guys from Sky have told me it was a clear handball for the goal and it was offside. I can't change it right now.
“During the game it was too difficult for me to see. I had the feeling it was handball, it seems like it was a crucial mistake, sad for him and even more sad for us. We have to accept it, no VAR in this league and we have to accept the goal against us."
Leeds quickly established control in the game with Sam Byram going close early on after a nice turn in the box and a curling shot.
Ethan Ampadu flicked the ball wide from a low James corner then James saw his shot well saved by Alex Palmer after good work in the build-up by Archie Gray and Jamie Shackleton.
Shackleton came even closer with a low shot from just outside the box that deflected off a defender and hit the post.
Pascal Struijk had a volley blocked from a James corner and a good move involving Shackleton and Ayling led to Joe Gelhardt shooting wide.
It was almost one-way traffic, but somehow it stayed goalless to half-time.
West Brom started the second half better as Jed Wallace's shot was tipped onto the crossbar by home keeper Illan Meslier.
It was a warning and within a minute it was 1-0 to the visitors as a low corner was shot towards goal by Molumby and went into the net via Thomas-Asante's hand.
Home fans felt further angered when soon after a big shot for a penalty fell on deaf ears as Gelhardt went down in the box, but replays showed the Baggies defender got a little touch on the ball before bringing the young Whites star down.
It should have been 1-1 just past the hour as Ayling's cross was flicked on by Georginio Rutter to James, but he somehow failed to put the ball in from inside the six-yard box.
James continued to be in the thick of the action when his curling shot from the edge of the box was well tipped over by Palmer.
Leeds finally got the goal they deserved as James supplied a perfect cross for Ayling to head home at the far post.
A minute later Gelhardt worked to get free in the box and saw his shot beaten away by the keeper.
West Brom did well to stem the tide with some noticeable time wasting helping them and the big finish did not quite materialise from United.
They did have two more chances, however, as impressive home debutant Joe Rodon headed over from a Sam Greenwood free-kick and Rutter ran at the Baggies defence before firing a shot just wide from 22 yards out.
West Brom 1
Friday, August 18, 2023
Sky Bet Championship
Leeds: Meslier; Ayling, Rodon, Struijk, Byram; Ampadu, Gray; Shackleton, Gelhardt (Greenwood 83), James; Rutter.
West Brom: Palmer; Ajayi, Kipre, Pieters (Townsend 75); Furlong, Yokuslu (Chalobah 86), Molumby, Phillips; Wallace (Gardner-Hickman 86), Swift (Sarmiento 69); Thomas-Asante (Maja 75).
Referee: Matthew Donohue