Leeds United 2 Fulham 3: Jesse Marsch under pressure after sixth defeat in eight

To borrow a phrase from the Oxford English Dicitonary, it was squeaky bum time when Leeds United played Fulham. For a long period it was unclear which way it would go.

But once the stalemate was broken it was abundantly clear which way Jesse Marsch’s job prospects are heading.

The focus of the chanting might have been at the Leeds directors but as the boos rang out at Elland Road there was no question the coach is in the bullet seat.

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"What the f***ing hell was that?" has become an unfortunate theme tune at recent Leeds matches.

GOAL: Rodrigo celebrates opening the scoring for Leeds UnitedGOAL: Rodrigo celebrates opening the scoring for Leeds United
GOAL: Rodrigo celebrates opening the scoring for Leeds United

Marsch's Leeds team are in the relegation zone with two points from 24. Only a couple of months into a season which started with such promise, the cut-throat nature of the Premier League means he will do well to still be in charge at Anfield on Saturday.

Early in the second half the game was so engrossingly on a knife edge at 1-1 that six substitutes – three from each side – stood stock still watching, too distracted to warm up on a nippy afternoon.

Whites players were trying their hardest, creating the lion's share of the chances at that stage, and the supporters were trying their best to will them over the line.

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They know this team, though, and the knew the precariousness of their postion. When Pascal Struijk cut out a ball heading for Harry Wilson, an almighty "ooh" echoed around the ground.

It took until the 75th minute, but eventually something did give, Bobby De Cordova-Reid glancing his header into the net from the huge exclusion zone between Liam Cooper and Struijk when a cleared corner was played back to taker Andreas Pereira.

Elland Road did not know what to think.

A chant of "Sacked in the morning" seemed to start but not end with Fulham fans and the "Sack the board"s which followed were definitely in Yorkshire accents. The Kop responded with "We are Leeds" and other supportive chants.

But nine minutes later when Harrison Reed wriggled far too easily along the byline and picked out WIllian to make it 3-1, they knew exactly what to think. The boos rang out, the charge to the exits began.

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Crysencio Summerville's first goal for the club, latching onto a through-ball from fellow substitute Joe Gelhardt, was no consolation at all, polishing the score up to 3-2.

It did nothing to turn down the boos at the final whistle.

All day Leeds seemed to be in the mood to tempt fate.

Their six team changes raised a few eyebrows, not least Sam Greenwood's first league start since his equally-surprising last one at Brentford on the final day of last season.

The converted striker was heavily involved at the start, but over a cross no one got on the end of immediately, but which Jack Harrison won a corner from when the ball was kept alive. He was also the player played into a shooting position as the ball was shifted across to him, but his shot was wild.

Leeds, though, were passing the ball around well in the early stages, only for Fulham to take control of the game.

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Reed was causing them problems by coming out from his right holding midfield berth onto the wing so that Harry Wilson could drift inside and it was his shot Marc Roca and Robin Koch dealt with brilliantly to stop him scoring after 15 minutes.

With Aston Villa and Leicester City already establishing comfortable platforms for the wins which could take them above the Whites, it felt like a pivotal moment for the game, so it was a relief as much as anything for Elland Road that Antonee Robinson over-committed and when Tim Ream took advantage of Harrison opening his body up to shoot with his right foot, Rodrigo was able to head in the looping block.

Crisis averted? No way.

The lead lasted only six minutes before Aleksandar Mitrovic scored a too-easy near post header at a corner with Luke Ayling unable to have any influence behind the striker, and Ilan Meslier only able to touch in the Serb's fifth goal in his last seven league matches against Leeds.

It did not open the floodgates to terrace mutiny, though, and when Meslier came out on top in a one-on-one with Pereira after Roca had given the ball away and been unable to catch the playmaker, they got behind their team.

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That the support was needed was highlighted by a couple of occasions when Koch was left on the ball with plenty of time to pick a pass and no pass to pick thanks to a lack of effective movement in front of him.

Leeds started the second half strongly, Rodrigo shooting at Bernd Leno, Sinisterra turning inside onto a Sinisterra pass and curling it just beyond the far corner, Rodrigo wide at the near-post from a tight angle after Harrison crossed. Luke Ayling shot wide and Ream blocked from Roca. Greenwood produced a long-range shot Leno dropped onto.

Eventually Fulham came to realise Leeds could not hurt them, and started throwing punches of their own, Joao Palhinha unable to take a tough chance under pressure from Ayling.

Mitrovic headed over at a soft free-kick, another given far too much space. Ayling was much tighter to him to deflect a shot.

And then the dam burst.

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Gelhardt – thrown on as usual unfairly late – was able to create a late goal but he could not turn the game, never mind the mood.

Leeds United: Meslier; Ayling, Koch, Cooper, Struijk (Gelhardt 84); Greenwood (Klich 76), Roca; Harrison, Aaronson, Sinisterra (Summerville 64); Rodrigo (Bamford 64).Unused substitutes: Firpo, Llorente, Gyabi, Robles, Kristensen.

Fulham: Leno; De Cordova-Reid, Tosin, Ream, Robinson; Reed (Cairney 90), Palhinha; Wilson (Kebano 64), Pereira, Willian (Duffy 89); Mitrovic (Vinicius 90).Unused substitutes: Rodak, Onomah, Mbabu, Diop, Harris.

Referee: A Taylor (Greater Manchester).