Tuesday night was always really a bonus game; any kind of result would’ve been fantastic, but the odds were always stacked against us. Leeds United are a top, top team and showed it. We started reasonably well and threatened on a couple of occasions, but once Klich fired home from inside the penalty area, it was plain sailing for Marcelo Bielsa’s men.
The performance overall was probably better than the one against Wigan Athletic on Saturday - but we just came up against a team who are streets ahead of us in pretty much every department.
Somehow - after dislocating his shoulder on Saturday - captain Liam Moore kept his place in the starting lineup, and there was a big moment for under-23 skipper Ryan East who made his debut for the first team; yet another academy graduate to do so under Gomes.
Martinez; Yiadom, Miazga, Moore, Blackett; East, Baker; Loader, Swift, Barrow; Meite.
As I previously said, we started pretty well. The first real opportunity of the game fell to Andy Yiadom who somehow managed to find himself with space in the Leeds United penalty area - but could only find the feet of Casilla with his left footed shot.
Barrow and Meite were both causing their respective full backs a few problems as well, before Leeds started to turn on the gas. A silky move from midfield - with help from a poor attempt at a slide tackle from Mo Barrow - ended with Klich stroking home for 1-0.
Although Leeds were good, we didn’t really help ourselves as eight minutes later Ryan East’s weak clearance could only find Pablo Hernandez who somehow managed to double United’s lead from the edge of the box.
Once Leeds had stamped their authority on the game, we became pretty toothless. I’m a big fan of John Swift but he really didn’t have his best game (although that might have something to do with the fact that Kalvin Phillips hardly moved from within two feet of him for the whole game). Debutant East and former Leeds man Baker couldn’t live with the quality and intensity of their opposition midfielders.
And just to rub salt into the wounds, Hernandez scored another absolute peach - this time sweeping home from the edge of the box past Martinez. The celebrations of the Leeds fans were almost cancelled out by the sound of the Royals crashing back down to earth after the last couple of games, and the realisation that this relegation scrap is far from over.
Bit of a nothing half really, wasn’t it? Yiadom and Baker both tested Casilla without really testing him (if you know that I mean) and Luke Ayling was lucky not to be shown a second yellow for a challenge on Barrow - but let’s be honest, the game was pretty much done and dusted at that point.
The only real fun of the closing 45 came from Patrick Bamford - who seemed to be running his own personal competition for miss of the season; the best entry probably being a glorious one-on-one chance being put out for a throw in. It’s actually pretty impressive being able to put it out for a throw-in from six yards out so, bravo Mr Bamford.
Yet another academy graduate made his debut with Michael Olise replacing Mo Barrow for the final 20 minutes. It really is refreshing and exciting seeing the amount of faith Jose Gomes has in our youngsters. Eamonn wouldn’t half be proud - his legacy continues to live on.
Leeds saw out the game well and showed why they’ll more than likely be in the Premier League next season. While we couldn’t really lay a glove on them and showed why we haven’t been above 19th in the league all season.
Ah, the sour taste of reality. We have a long way to go to secure safety in the Championship, but this kind of games is always a bit like a bonus round on a TV quiz show. If you get a result, fantastic. If you don’t, there are bigger matches to come.
Our next one, on the other hand, is one we can be confident of getting a result in. Stoke have probably been one of the flops of the season, and if we play how we have in a few games under Gomes, there is no reason why can’t travel back from Staffordshire with at least a point.
It’s never nice to lose, but the bigger picture is definitely needed after results like Tuesday night. Onwards and upwards, as they say.