Leeds United sign off in style in front of Elland Road fans at last

For the second season running, a Yorkshire side finished ninth in the Premier League. In the case of Leeds United, it feels like just another step on the journey.

PENALTY: Patrick Bamford celebrates after converting his spot kick

It was not the best game the Whites have played since storming back into the top flight but for the 8,000 there, it was certainly the best day.

The only worry was a shoulder injury to Kalvin Phillips from one of the final kicks of the game. Gareth Southgate will be hoping it is not serious but the midfielder who dislocated his shoulder earlier in the season did not join the lap of honour.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

"Did you miss us?" asked a banner in the Norman Hunter Stand. Did we?

JOY: Leeds United players celebrate Rodrigo's opening goal in front of their supporters

The noise they made was ridiculous, lifting the occasion beyond a reasonably routine win over Championship-bound West Bromwich Albion. There was a sloppy Phillips mistake at the end which might have been infuriating if it actually mattered.

In amongst the 3-1 win, secured by a Rodrigo header, a Phillips free-kick and a Patrick Bamford penalty, they were able to say their goodbyes to an emotional Pablo Hernandez and Gaetano Berardi wearing the famous white strip for the last time.

It is a sad fact of footballing life that all things come to an end, but Leeds genuinely do feel like they are moving on and moving up without them.

Elland Road was absolutely electric long before kick-off. The applause the players dribbling out to stroll on the pitch received from those fans who did not want to spend another second away from the terraces must have whetted their appetite. Marcelo Bielsa gave almost sheepish waves as he weaved through the seats to do his pre-match television interview, and back again. He was careful to acknowledge every part of the ground.

There were presentations to Hernandez and Berardi ahead of their final Leeds appearances. Liam Cooper gave the Spaniard the captain's armband whereas West Brom's strange set-up, with Callum Robinson a fraction in front of the midfield but out on the left meant Berardi was at right-back, Luke Ayling in the centre.

Leeds took a while to get into their stride but when Hernandez nutmegged Ainsley Maitland-Niles in the 12th minute, it was confirmation they were there. Jack Harrison had already had a goal disallowed for Rodrigo being offside.

Shortly after Everton went 2-0 down at Manchester City, opening the door for Leeds to leapfrog them, the Whites took the lead, Rodrigo heading in Raphinha's corner.

It was the Spaniard's fourth goal in as many matches - exactly how someone with a European Championships on the horizon wants to sign off.

The game was not as good as the occasion but Leeds were still playing better than their opponents and Phillips's free-kick after a foul on Hernandez was worthy of it.

Try as he might, Hernandez could not get his goal, Sam Johnstone saving as the playmaker spun and volleyed, the beating another shot away. With the news of England's Nick Pope's operation coming through shortly before kick-off, the goalkeeper might need the practice.

After chesting the ball down, Hernandez had a shot deflected wide with his replacement, Tyler Roberts, stripped and ready to come on.

Frustratingly, the change had been made by the time Leeds won a penalty.

Even "the Warrior" Berardi was emotional as he and Hernandez were substituted amidst a mass of post-April 17 hugs.

Leeds were playing ole football by then, although Matt Phillips's shot against the post was a reminder they had to stay focussed. Ezgjan Alioski, who will also have been making his final appearance unless a new contract can be agreed, had to be on his toes to avoid a calamitous own goal.

Grady Diangana sat Ayling and Alioski on their backsides only to blast over.

It was half-time substitute Bamford who converted the spot kick when Harrison's cross struck Okay Yokuslu's hand.

There then followed a surreal moment when Hal Robson-Kanu pounced on a poor Phillips touch to score to almost complete indifference. Phillips also hurt himself in stoppage time making a bad tackle on Diangana which earned him a booking.

The worrying will have to wait. Leeds had celebrations to catch up on.

Leeds United: Casilla; Berardi (Struijk 70), Ayling, Cooper, Alioski; Phillips; Raphinha, Hernandez (Roberts 70), Dallas, Harrison; Rodrigo (Bamford 46).

Unused substitutes: Meslier, Poveda, Davis, Shackleton, Jenkins, Casey.

West Bromwich Albion: Johnstone; Furlong, Ajayi, Bartley, O'Shea (Robson-Kanu 60), Townsend; Phillips, Gallagher, Yokuslu, Maitland-Niles (Grant 83); Robinson (Diangana 60).

Unused substitutes: Diagne, Peltier, Button, Gardner-Hickman, Taylor, Iroegbunam.

Referee: D Coote (Nottinghamshire).

Support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today. Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire. In return, you'll see fewer ads on site, get free access to our app and receive exclusive members-only offers. Click HERE to subscribe.