Swansea go top of Championship with late win over Leeds
LONDON, Sept 1, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – Swansea edged Leeds 1-0 in their top-of-the-table Championship clash on Saturday to go two points clear in their best start to a league campaign in 40 years.
Wayne Routledge scored a minute from time in a match Leeds dominated at Elland Road but their weakness from last season came back to haunt them as they failed to take their chances.
Routledge struck after the hosts had failed to clear a corner several times to maintain manager Steve Cooper’s dream start to his spell, despite selling several key players in the close season.
Cooper, who coached the England Under-17 team to World Cup glory in 2017, appears to be rewarding the bold move by the board to hire him to replace Graham Potter after he left for Brighton.
“It is the perfect result, a clean sheet away from home and scoring one,” said Cooper.
“It is a good return. I’m not going to be too reserved, but there are 40 games left.
“I feel like we have played 30 already! Of course, it is a good start, encouraging. A good tally so far, no doubt about that.”
His Leeds counterpart Marcelo Bielsa highlighted the lack of clinical finishing in front of goal but the Argentinian declared himself happy overall.
“We had the ball constantly. We defended well,” said the 64-year-old former Argentina and Chile coach.
“We created enough chances to deserve two or three goals.
“The individual performance of the players was positive.”
Leeds are three points adrift of Swansea heading into the international break but are third in the table, one point behind surprise packages Charlton, managed by the Yorkshire side’s former midfielder Lee Bowyer.
Bowyer’s outfit, who he guided to promotion last term, remain unbeaten this season after recording their fourth win, beating Reading 2-0.
However, the 42-year-old was not completely happy.
“We should have been more clinical,” said Bowyer.
“We should have had another two or three goals and we would have done if our players had made the right decisions.”
Bowyer is enjoying a happier time than his former Leeds team-mate Jonathan Woodgate, although the latter may have seen some encouraging signs in the manner in which his Middlesbrough outfit eked out a 2-2 draw with in-form Bristol City.
However, Boro have just six points from their opening six matches and are two points off the bottom three.
The drop zone includes Huddersfield whose return to the second tier after being relegated from the Premier League is proving a nightmare.
They slumped to another defeat on Saturday with Luton coming from a goal down to win 2-1 and leave the Terriers with just a point and only above Stoke on better goal difference.
Caretaker manager Mark Hudson was blunt in his assessment saying the senior players needed to show leadership.
“Some of our leaders weren’t strong enough and until that changes we won’t win games,” said Hudson, who has lost all three games he has taken charge of since Jan Siewert was sacked.
Fulham got the weekend action started on Friday with a 1-1 draw at Cardiff.
The match was most notable for Fulham midfielder Harry Arter being sent off in the second half for two bookable offences against his former club.