Such is the air of desperation around Elland Road these days that before this game the club's 100 per cent League record in 2007 was being cited as a cause for optimism. Unfortunately, yesterday's match was only Leeds' second of the year - and even after taking the lead within three minutes, they were unable to keep the run going.
Despite their early setback, West Bromwich were two goals to the good before half-time and duly completed only their third away League victory of the season and first since October. Following their FA Cup win a fortnight ago, Albion have now beaten Leeds three times in as many months.
To make things even worse for Leeds, in the closing stages their manager, Dennis Wise, was sent to the stands by the referee, Neil Swarbrick, for pushing Diomansy Kamara as the West Bromwich striker left the pitch at a less than brisk pace after his late substitution.
"He took about four minutes to leave the pitch and I think we'd all had enough of his antics with his gestures to the crowd and so on," said Wise. "Unfortunately I pushed him. His attitude is not fantastic. He's a very good player going forward but he offers you nothing defensively. Some managers want that in their team and others don't.
"I thought the referee was very poor and I wished we'd had Steve Bennett [the fourth official] instead. He [the referee] just wanted to get the game finished in the end rather than play the injury time." Earlier, Tore Andre Flo had headed Leeds into an early advantage, but Jonathan Greening brought West Bromwich level.
Leeds have the worst defensive record in the Championship and two more examples why were provided before the interval. Both times Kamara was the beneficiary, with his second a strike of the highest calibre. Alan Thompson's second-half free-kick proved a mere consolation for Leeds.
"Dennis Wise is a passionate character," said Tony Mowbray, the Albion manager. "He cares about his team and I'm sure he will get things right here."
Wise had given Flo, Thompson and Armando Sa home debuts and it was the former two who combined to put Leeds in front as a trademark Thompson left-foot cross was met by Flo's glancing header. Unfortunately for Leeds, West Bromwich equalised four minutes later. Over-exuberance from a fired-up Thompson gave away a free- kick which Leeds could only partially clear. It was met by Greening, just outside the area, and his clean strike drove the ball low and hard into the corner.
Zoltan Gera then instigated Albion's second, playing in Kamara, who deceived a hapless Hayden Foxe before slipping the ball beyond Neil Sullivan with some ease. The Senegal international's second arrived when no Leeds defender challenged him 25 yards out and he turned before sizing up an exquisite curling shot.
In what became a fractious second half, Leeds seemed resigned to defeat until Thompson reduced the arrears with an authoritative free-kick from just outside the area. It gave Leeds new belief - and at least averted the very real possibility of a heavy defeat that would have seen them drop to the bottom of the table on goal difference.Reuse content