Leeds United 1 Wolves 2: Milanic left to lick wounds after second-half mauling by Wolves

ON the weekend when the clocks went back to signal the end of British Summer Time, Darko Milanic’s footballing clock stopped at Leeds United.

DEJECTED: Leeds United players Stephen Warnock, Marco Silvestri, Lewis Cook and Jason Pearce show their frustration. Picture: Steve Riding

The Slovenian’s time ran out after a mere 32 days in West Yorkshire and the latest chapter in United’s increasingly bizarre and dysfunctional campaign is filed.

Given events on the pitch this season when Leeds have periodically veered from the sublime – think the last half an hour at Bournemouth, first half against Rotherham and the whole game versus Huddersfield – to the ridiculous, Saturday’s erratic 
offering should not have come as much of a surprise.

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Granted, the timing of 
Milanic’s sacking, with many home fans barely back inside their front doors on Saturday evening, probably did.

But in the cold light of day, upon reflection, it was not exactly a seismic shock.

A case of when and not if, many would have ventured, more especially under a hands-on, front-seat driver in president Massimo Cellino.

Patrons in the South Stand made clear their support for Neil Redfearn deep into the second half of an encounter when Leeds were their own worst enemies, and they were granted their wish probably a bit earlier than they expected.

After three stints as caretaker manager/head coach, the Yorkshireman is now in situ in the position, but on a permanent basis with the hope being he can rewind the clock to mid September.

His elevation is timely for a Leeds side who have badly lost their way and have stumbled into the dark from winning positions in two of their last three matches.

Games against Rotherham and now Wolves could and perhaps would have been won with a bit more on-pitch savvy.

In the final analysis, the messages of Milanic, whose exasperation in the technical area became more pronounced the longer Saturday’s game went on, have got lost in translation somehow.

He heads back to the continent no doubt bewildered by his experiences in England, which only began on September 23.

How different things looked at half-time on Saturday after a dominant home display where it was Leeds who looked the side in fourth position in the Championship table and not Wolves.

But good managers come to life at the interval and it was Kenny Jackett who came up with the answers and also questions to pose to his counterpart.

The promotion from the bench of a forward in Leon Clarke, who fired the winner five minutes from time, to supplement the previously isolated Nouha Dicko proved the catalyst as Leeds painfully lost momentum much as they had at Rotherham eight days earlier. But in worse fashion this time round.

Full value for a first-half lead conjured by a lovely 18th-minute opener from Mirco Antenucci, who finished off a quality move involving the impressive Steve Morison and Alex Mowatt, Leeds were entitled to believe at half-time that this could be the day when Milanic truly arrived as head coach.

Wolves, almost a year to the day from turning around an early deficit at Leeds’s near-neighbours Bradford City to triumph 2-1, had other ideas and performed a repeat trick, with James Henry emphatically levelling midway through the second half ahead of Clarke’s decisive intervention, which had been coming.

Henry took advantage of a ricochet off Giuseppe Bellusci to rifle the ball high past Marco Silvestri to equalise on 66 minutes and after Rajiv van La Parra spurned a glaring chance, it was left to his fellow substitute Clarke to unwittingly administer the last rites to Milanic’s brief tenure.

A lack of cohesion during a fitful second period was something that rankled not just with fans and the man who matters most in Cellino, but those on the pitch, most notably Morison, who had a bitter-sweet experience in his first Leeds start since May 2013.

The forward was arguably Leeds’s best player in the first half, setting up Antenucci’s strike and supplying a chance for Mowatt soon after which the midfielder failed to convert – a miss that the hosts were left to rue.

But on the restart, isolated on the flanks, he was more peripheral as Wolves did a number on the hosts, who after looking a team in the first half resembled an assortment of disparate individuals on the restart.

Summing up his frustration, Morison said: “For some reason, we changed what we were doing in the first half and started doing the complete opposite.

“In the second half, we seemed to think we were Barcelona and that we could play out from 
anywhere and we stopped doing what we were doing in the first half, which was effective.

“Personally, I think when you have someone on the floor, you keep stamping on top of them until they go away and we stopped doing that.

“It is a frustrating one.

“The fans after the first half were buzzing after the way we played and they have gone home and booed us off, which was disappointing.”