Leeds vs. Derby: Jack Marriott meets Rams's late winner to send Frank Lampard's team to Wembley, where he plays Aston Villa in the Premier League

15-05-2019 23:05

It happened. The scenario that every Leeds United fan had feared before kick-off, the collapse that seemed so far away when Stuart Dallas doubled his lead, the collapse that was said and done in just 13 minutes.

These 13 minutes mean that Marcelo Bielsa's first year in charge ends without promotion and the club's 16-year detention continues outside the top division. Waiting for Derby County takes even longer. They play Aston Villa in Wembley for a place in the Premier League.

There is no bigger scalp for Frank Lampard and his players. After being overshadowed in every encounter with Bielsa this season, after the jokes in social media and, of course, Spygate, they've taught their rivals that they only live once in the play-offs.

Derby was unscrupulous, halving Leeds' two-goal deficit by Jack Marriott thanks to a mistake by Kiko Casilla in the half-time break. Just seconds after the break Mason Mount was able to fix the deficit. Harry Wilson then set them from the penalty spot.

Dallas would hit a second and equalize the total score to jeopardize the extra time, but a game of that speed would not take 120 minutes or even all 22 men. Both teams finished with only 10, but not before Marriott's 85th-minute decision to send Derby to Wembley.

Leeds, meanwhile, are the first of 18 teams to win a Championship playoff first-leg away from home but fail to progress. They are the first in 12 years to be top of the second-tier at Christmas and yet not reach the first.

Typical Leeds, their supporters will curse. Indeed, despite a one-goal lead, three wins from three against Derby this season and a loud, hungry home crowd, there was also a note of apprehension around Elland Road.

Derby made a purposeful start and their best opening arrived when Casilla foreshadowed what was to come at the end of the half. The goalkeeper dithered on the ball, allowing Tom Lawrence to cue Harry Wilson up in front of an empty net. Under pressure, he stabbed over.

Frank Lampard celebrates (PA)

Leeds struggled to fashion much in the way of openings until Dallas’ breakthrough. Derby failed to clear Kalvin Phillips’ free-kick, which swung across the face of goal and bounced into Dallas’ path. It fell awkwardly to his left foot but, a few yards out, he could not miss.

Another, at that point, might have ended it. Mateusz Klich’s attempt from edge of the penalty area caught a slight deflection, taking it out of Kelle Roos’ reach and against the upright. It bounced back down without crossing the goal-line.

With Derby wilting, all that was required was composure until the break, but Casilla was too cool for his own good. A mix-up of his own making with Liam Cooper resulted in neither keeping possession. Substitute Marriott’s first touch was into an empty net.

Tom Lawrence is challenged by Jamie Shackleton (Getty)

Bielsa’s players – and Casilla, in particular – trudged back down the tunnel as if not still ahead on aggregate. Perhaps they knew what was coming. That lead would last only a further 35 seconds after the break.

Finally, the young talent that Lampard has built Derby around delivered. It was Wilson first, evading Luke Ayling and slipping in Mount. Leeds’ own prodigy, Jamie Shackleton, could not lay a boot on the Chelsea loanee. Mount feinted and lifted the ball into the far corner.

Minutes later, Derby were ahead. Cooper foolishly held Mason Bennett’s shirt inside the box when another attack from the visitors was in its infancy. Referee Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot, Casilla could not atone for his earlier error, diving the wrong way against Wilson.

Just as Derby appeared to be wresting control, Dallas levelled the aggregate score. From the left, cutting inside onto his natural right, he found enough space to drill a low shot between Roos’ right hand and the far corner.

Derby stunned Leeds to reverse the tie (PA)

The only thing that a contest so devoid of poise, shape or composure required was a red card. Gaetano Berardi obliged. After coming off second-best in a tangle for possession with Lawrence, he needlessly went through Derby’s playmaker, earning his second yellow.

For a team down to 10 men, in a game of this intensity, 12 minutes of regulation time seemed too long, let alone extra time and penalties. So it proved. Seconds after Wilson struck a composed finish against the post, Derby were in behind again.

Remarkably, it was the marauding, veteran centre-half Keogh – not one of Lampard’s young creators – that brought the ball forward and slipped Marriott through the lines. The substitute, rushed on by Lampard at the end of Derby’s difficult first half, poked coolly over Casilla.

There was still time for Scott Malone to receive his marching orders, levelling the two sides at 10 men each, but Leeds could not regain parity on the scoreboard. A season of often glorious football under Bielsa ends, ultimately, in failure.

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