Leeds United 0 Ipswich Town 1: Pearson quits as Leeds lose unbeaten record

Sol Bamba rises to meet a corner but is unable to get his header on target during Leeds United's home defeat to Ipswich Town last night (Picture: Bruce Rollinson).
Sol Bamba rises to meet a corner but is unable to get his header on target during Leeds United's home defeat to Ipswich Town last night (Picture: Bruce Rollinson).
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If losing their unbeaten Championship record was not bad enough, Leeds United lost their executive director Adam Pearson too last night.

For after watching Tommy Smith’s header inflict a first league defeat of the season on Leeds, Elland Road fans were hit with the bombshell that Pearson had quit after just a few months in the post.

The 50-year-old Hull FC rugby league club owner had also walked out on Sheffield Wednesday after a short stay earlier in the year.

Former Hull City chairman Pearson revealed he was leaving in order to concentrate on “other personal and business interests”, but Leeds owner Massimo Cellino said he would keep the job open should Pearson wish to return in the future.

Cellino said: “I want to thank Adam for his efforts and his loyalty to Leeds United.

“I will be keeping the role open for him and I hope to welcome him back at some point in the future.

“We worked very well together and we will remain good friends. He will always have my support.

“It saddens me that he is stepping away to focus on other personal and business interests, but he knows that he is welcome back at the club if he feels ready.”

Pearson is credited with providing much of the stability seen at Leeds since he came to work with Cellino in May.

He said: “It is with great disappointment that I have to confirm I’ll be taking a break from Leeds United and football in general, in order to focus on other personal and business interests.

“I have really enjoyed my time at Leeds United and would like to thank everybody, the staff and supporters, that have made me feel so welcome.

“I’d also like to thank Mr Cellino for allowing me to work closely with him in what I feel has been a very productive summer for the football club.

“There are some outstanding staff members in both coaching and administrative roles and an emerging young team that I am sure, with Mr Cellino’s continued support, will ultimately find their way back to the Premier League.

“It is with a huge level of disappointment that I cannot continue to contribute to the revival of what now is a very strong football club once more.

“I wish Uwe and his coaching team all the very best in their quest for a successful season and it is reassuring to see the club moving forward again in such a positive manner.”

On the field it was a frustrating evening for Leeds.

Central defender Smith stole in to head home the only goal of the game from a rebounded corner in the 32nd minute.

Mick McCarthy’s side defended doggedly and broke swiftly on occasions to keep Leeds on their toes, while it proved a disappointing night for Uwe Rosler’s side, who had drawn five and won one of their previous five league games this season. Leeds have now failed to win in their last nine home matches, their last Elland Road victory coming in March against Ipswich.

Leeds started with real energy, stretching Ipswich on numerous occasions without carving out a goalscoring chance and that proved the home side’s undoing with just over half an hour gone.

Ipswich had defended doggedly during the opening exchanges and with Leeds unable to convert their enterprise into a goal, the visitors took the lead against the run of play.

Winger Ryan Forster swung over Ipswich’s first corner to the far post and when the ball rebounded back across goal off a Leeds defender, New Zealand international Smith headed beyond goalkeeper Marco Silvestri.

Leeds instantly lost all composure and Ipswich threatened to add a second, but striker David McGoldrick blazed over.

The home side, prompted by midfielder Lewis Cook, regained the initiative as half-time approached but Mirco Antenucci’s shot was blocked and after invariably squandering the final ball, they trailed 1-0 at the break.

Leeds sent on substitute Sam Byram for Stuart Dallas on the hour-mark and a sweeping move, again instigated by Cook, ended with the England Under-19s international firing wide.

But Leeds struggled for any cohesion, with the Elland Road faithful growing impatient head.

Leeds midfielder Luke Murphy miscued his shot after making space on the edge of the penalty area and Cook lashed a shot on the turn just wide.

Referee James Adcock waved away Leeds appeals for what appeared to be a certain penalty in the 84th minute when Byram fell under Jonas Knudsen’s challenge. Replays revealed there had been minimal contact. But Adcock incurred the wrath of Elland Road when indicating Byram had dived and promptly booked him.

Leeds United: Silvestri, Berardi, Bamba, Cooper, Taylor, Murphy, Adeyemi (Mowatt 69), Cook, Antenucci, Wood, Dallas (Byram 60). Unused substitutes: Wootton, Bellusci, Doukara, Turnbull,Phillips.

Ipswich Town: Gerken, Chambers, Smith, Berra, Knudsen, Maitland-Niles (Pitman 84), Skuse (Coke 77), Douglas, Fraser (Parr 76), Murphy, McGoldrick. Unused substitutes: Tabb, Malarczyk, Bialkowski, Toure.

Referee: J Adcock (Nottinghamshire).