Leeds United losing the plot
Michael Bailey Norwich City are in pole position to lift the League One title after closest rivals Leeds United suffered an attack of the collywobbles last night. Manager Simon Grayson was left to read the riot act to his players after second half goals from Dwayne Mattis and Clayton McDonald saw Walsall become the first league side to win at Elland Road in 13 months - a run of 26 matches.
Norwich City are in pole position to lift the League One title after closest rivals Leeds United suffered an attack of the collywobbles last night.
Manager Simon Grayson was left to read the riot act to his players after second half goals from Dwayne Mattis and Clayton McDonald saw Walsall become the first league side to win at Elland Road in 13 months - a run of 26 matches.
The 2-1 defeat was the first of two games in hand United held over the Canaries, who still sit four points clear at the top of League One but now having played only one match more.
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And it means the Carrow Road clash between the two sides on March 27 could be decisive in determining where the League One silverware ends up.
Grayson said: “First half we were totally unacceptable, we were nowhere near the sort of level of performance that we want from players that are connected to this football club.
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“We showed a lot of wrong decision making, we didn't have the right desire, we didn't close people down, didn't chase lost causes, we didn't pass the ball properly.
“Everything that makes a football team was wrong about our team tonight and we had to react to it. Obviously the second half we wanted a reaction and straight away we conceded. We tried to get back into the game but we got out of the game what we deserved, and that was nothing.”
Gary McSheffrey, on-loan from Birmingham City, had equalised early in the second period for a team that looked certainties for promotion before Christmas.
But while Paul Lambert's Canaries have charged to the top of the league with a run of just one defeat in 18 league matches, United have slumped to one win from seven in League One.
However, McSheffrey believes Leeds remain in a good position to ensure they end the season as a Championship side.
“If everything goes to plan then our position is as strong as anyone's,” said McSheffrey. “I know from my years at Birmingham and the times when we were fighting for promotion or against relegation that it's sometimes better to have the points banked and on the board than it is to have extra games to play.”
Leeds have Colchester breathing down their neck in third - three points behind having played a game more - while Swindon could join them if they pick up two wins from their two fixtures in hand.
Grayson's side host struggling Brighton on Saturday - who will be fresh from their late heartbreak at the hands of the Canaries, at the Withdean at the weekend.
United's remaining game in hand is away to relegation threatened Tranmere Rovers on March 9.