By Richard Parks
A 2-1 derby defeat to Sheffield United at Bramall Lane was not quite what Paul Heckingbottom would have dreamed of in his first match as manager of Leeds United.
The newly-appointed boss was condemned to defeat in his first match at the helm in a hard-fought clash at Bramall Lane.
Billy Sharp proved to be the difference between the two promotion chasers, scoring the winner from the spot on 74 minutes after Eunan O’Kane brought down John Fleck as both sides fought for a winning goal.
Leeds had earlier recovered from a stunning Sharp volley to level through Pierre-Michel Lasogga’s 47th-minute header.
Sharp gave Heckingbottom the worst possible start to his reign with a deadly effort in the second minute, striking at the end of Sheffield United’s first attack.
Leeds, whose run of six league games without a win cost Thomas Christiansen his job at Elland Road last weekend, were exposed at the back again early on but Lasogga’s clinical goal looked set to earn a point for a side who are still searching for a first victory since Boxing Day.
Sharp, though, took advantage after O’Kane felled Fleck, further weakening Leeds’ bid to make the Championship play-offs.
It was another disappointing day for Leeds fans, whose side have now slipped to 11th in the division and eight points adrift of the top six.
Football Insider has analysed three things learned about Leeds in Heckingbottom’s first match, including how one player is silencing his critics, a loanee should be captured permanently and one 2017 summer signing flatters to deceive again.
Click below for the player who is winning fans over