Sheffield Weds 0 Leeds 2: More derby delight for Garry Monk as Owls lack bite and tempo in loss to Whites

WE'RE on our way, we're on our way.

Leeds United's Chris Wood celebrates his late goal in the victory over Sheffield Wednesday (Picture: Bruce Rollinson).
Leeds United's Chris Wood celebrates his late goal in the victory over Sheffield Wednesday (Picture: Bruce Rollinson).

That particular line of Sheffield Wednesday’s current favoured ditty will have felt somewhat apt for Leeds United followers by mid-afternoon on a sweet Saturday.

The song was raucously belted out at regular intervals by Wednesdayites, but the music fell somewhat flat by the end of proceedings at Hillsborough, with the visitors being the ones who were left beating the drum.

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As weeks go, both Carlos Carvalhal and Garry Monk will have had better, much better.

But at its culmination, it was the latter who is likely to have been afforded the luxury of a decent night’s sleep following a sound away-day that helped deliver the first league win of his time in the dug-out at Leeds.

Derbies have served Monk rather well in his embryonic managerial career thus far. Commandeering a 3-0 victory for Swansea City over the arch-rivals from down the M4 in February 2014 will be recollected for many a year by those in West Wales, if less so by the patrons of Cardiff.

Another choice entry was added to his scrapbook on Saturday, with added piquancy provided, given that several scribes had been ready to pen his obituary at Leeds – with some national reports suggesting he was teetering on the precipice after just four games in charge.

“Outsiode nonsense” onsense was Monk’s reaction to that particular line of questioning following the game, with the coherence and order of United’s derby performance being something in which he was rather more interested.

In the event, it was his counterpart Carvalhal who was left with more to mull over after clinical strikes from Marcus Antonsson and Chris Wood helped register back-to-back losses for Wednesday for the first time in almost a year.

The defeat also represented just a second home reverse since last August for the Owls, as Leeds secured a day of atonement, with some bold changes from Monk reaping a mini-harvest.

The dearth came from the hosts in the second half, with a distinct lack of tempo, bite and fluidity afflicting Wednesday in uncharacteristic fashion.

After Antonsson’s headed opener, it was left to Wood to administer the last rites five minutes from time, with his tough week ending in a redemptive moment after he coolly steered home Kemar Roofe’s inch-perfect cross.

After cupping his ear to home supporters after his late strike against Fulham in midweek – following some stinging early-season criticism – the forward was rather more inclusive in his celebrations this time around.

His post-match sense of satisfaction was emblematic of what proved a good day all round for the men in white – while acknowledging that a bit of stick can serve as a useful motivational tool.

He said: “It is tough, of course, and you hear it all the time. But it is one of those things; you have to get on with it.

“I guess not everybody is going to like you and that is the case for any footballer. You are not going to win over 40,000 fans at a game.

“I am still young and learning that side of it and have never experienced it before. But I am happy with where I am at now and want to put it to bed and play well for the supporters.

“I need to try and get motivated in every single different way and a little element like that might help. But my motivation is to play well for them and I just want to go out and do that.

“It was nice to score straight in front of them and they gave me a great reception. It is nice to give something back.”

At the interval, it had looked anyone’s game with Wednesday going closest in the first half with the recalled Fernando Forestieri seeing an effort cleared close to the goalline by Liam Cooper after he had rounded goalkeeper Rob Green and Almen Abdi clipping the bar with a neat free-kick.

But Leeds, fielding an entirely different midfield four to the one that lined up at Fulham, had their moments and showed effervescence and bonafide threat on the break, particularly in the form of Hadi Sacko, who Wednesday struggled to contain.

The loan winger played a telling part in the 63rd-minute opener after a flowing counter-attack with his cross nodded home by Antonsson.

Green denied Gary Hooper with a fine block with his legs and when the second goal did arrive, it came from Leeds.

With Wednesday stretched, Roofe’s centre was dispatched effortlessly by Wood to gild an eye-catching away-day for Leeds.

On a day to forget for the hosts, Owls defender and former Leeds player Tom Lees said: “Both teams were desperate to win and it is a big game in the area.

“To lose is obviously disappointing, but the way we played probably makes it even more so.

“We cannot afford to not play at our maximum level or we will get found out. We were a couple of per cent off it and got a deserved beating.

“We have let ourselves down. It hurts because it is a derby and no one wants to lose. It was not good enough.”