Leeds started with the same side as Friday but lacked any semblance of spark or imagination from the first minute to the last as they went down 1-0 to lowly Crystal Palace.

It’s really hard to pick out positives for a game which was so important but for which Leeds, save for the 6000 travelling supporters, so spectacularly failed to turn up.

Palace struck within the first eighty seconds. A Neil Danns shot took a heavy deflection off Andy O’Brien, sending the ball past Kasper Schmeichel. It was a disastrous start and for the rest of the first half Leeds rarely looked like fighting their way back into the game. It was a scrappy first forty-five minutes with bookings for both sides and a lack of any real footballing class.

The story was one that has been repeated a number of times this season; lumped long balls to a lone striker and poor delivery into the box even from gifted set pieces. Predictably shaky defending added to the growing sense of unease surrounding the Whites. It almost came to a head when Schmeichel’s clearance hit Naylor, the ball fell to Steffen Iversen and all hell broke loose. Schmeichel followed the ball out creating chaos in defence. Leeds narrowly escaped as Palace were unable to capitalise.

The second half started with the introduction of Sanchez Watt and Neil Kilkenny, forcing a reshuffle. Paul Connolly and the disappointing Jake Livermore made way with Eric Lichaj reverting to right back and Bradley Johnson dropping to left back. Watt played wide left with Robert Snodgrass wide right, leaving Gradel to float up front with Billy Paynter.

Leeds dominated the possession in the second half but there weren’t any chances to really write home about. Max Gradel had a low driven strike saved comfortably by the goalkeeper while Davide Somma, coming on to replace Paynter, could have scored with his first touch but his effort was weak.

As the game wore on and Palace continued to restrict us to half chances the mood became desperate. The home side were defending with ten men behind the ball while Leeds were happy to throw Andy O’Brien into the mix up front. As the minutes ticked by though, a result looked less and less likely. Deep into stoppage time, after goal-scorer Danns had been sent off for a second yellow, even Schmeichel went forward for a free-kick. It came to nothing and the referee blew the whistle to effectively end our play-off hopes.

This will do nothing but add fuel to the fire that the Grayson-out brigade has waiting for the manager. We may have two games left but it’s time to think about building onwards and upwards for a promotion push next season. We need to tie down the players that are good enough to get us up and replace the ones that aren’t.