Another crazy day of mixed emotions for Leeds fans after we escaped from defeat at the Valley with automatic promotion still in our own hands. Throughout the game, the travelling Leeds United fans were kept informed of events elsewhere and when Andy Robinson made it 2-0 to Tranmere Rovers, Leeds United were one goal away from their seasons aim of automatic promotion.

This being Leeds however, things were never going to be that easy. The team had looked bright and hungry throughout the first half and although we went into the break at 0-0, there was a lot to be optimistic about. Unfortunately, things didn’t run quite as well in the second half and Charlton started to edge Leeds out.

Still at 0-0 and knowing the results elsewhere were going in our favour, Simon Grayson took a calculated risk to give Leeds United more options upfront. Beckford was the first player on, replacing Robert Snodgrass with Gradel dropping back a little. This was followed by Sanchez Watt replacing Micky Doyle ten minutes later and Mike Grella replacing Andy Hughes with about five minutes remaining.

When you need a goal to secure promotion back to the Championship, it makes sense that you give yourself as many attacking options as possible upfront and Simon Grayson did the right thing. It had been another closely matched game where for large parts, both teams had absorbed any attacking threat from the other, but the changes opened things up noticeably. It worked in Leeds’ favour to some extent, allowing Beckford a good chance, but it also allowed Charlton more space on the attack too and they ultimately punished us for it with three minutes remaining when Akpo Sodje scored via the head of Richard Naylor.

The Leeds fans were silenced. It was a nervous performance from Leeds, and when playing it along the ground in the first half didn’t prove affective, they resorted to the dreaded long-ball and the chances became even fewer and farer between.

It wasn’t the most unexpected of results, or performances. The reverse fixture at Elland Road earlier in the season that ended 0-0 was just as frustrating as this one so it seemed unlikely the goals were going to flow at the Valley. The problem is that both teams play a similar style so neither ends up with much room.

What the result means is that there are now five teams capable of achieving automatic promotion from League One next week. Two of them play at the New Den as Millwall host Swindon. If that game ends in a draw, then both Charlton and Huddersfield could capitalise. Charlton would need a win away to Oldham, whilst Huddersfield would need to do a demolition job at Exeter City, but could mathematically go up by goal-difference.

As it stands, Leeds United lead the way though and that’s all that really matters. A win over a Bristol side who we destroyed 4-0 earlier in the season is all Leeds United need to escape the hell of League One football. In our previous meeting, Bristol had a defence made of play-dough and Leeds United came back in style after our first defeat of the season to Millwall. A similar display next week and it’ll be one hell of a party at the sold-out Elland Road.

With a lot of thanks to Andy Robinson and the usual unpredictability of League One, we head into the final game in a position I think we’d have all accepted at the beginning of the season. 90 minutes of football on Saturday will determine what division Leeds United play in next season and that’s all there really is to it. Our lack of points against the top six this season, the defensive hole Paddy’s injury has left, the lack of goals from midfield and our apparent need to do things the hard way have taken us all on a journey through third division hell that boils down to one game against Bristol. As Winston Churchill once said, ‘If you’re going through hell, keep going…’