As those around them celebrated at the final whistle, the look of utter despondency on the faces of the Leeds United players told its own story, exemplifying just how damaging two Burton goals, in the space of two second half minutes had been to their Championship play-off aspirations.
Leeds are far from removed from the race for a top six finish. The propinquity of clubs fighting that battle ensure that. Yet situated three points behind Fulham in fifth, the odds and fixtures now look against them. There has also been a shift in momentum, this represented a fourth defeat in their last six league games.
Ironically Burton, who had not recorded successive victories in the Championship a ll but confirmed their survival in two chaotic minutes, when Marvin Sordell and Michael Kightly propelled them out of reach. The Brewers were in the National League eight years ago - now they have eclipsed the 50 point marker.
“We’re disappointed obviously,” said the Leeds manager Garry Monk.
“I think it’s an extremely unfair result on my players. Second half there was only one team on the front foot. The goal came against the run of play, unfortunately it was our mistake. I think it was the only time they got into our half and they managed to score a goal from it.
“It was like the last two games, maybe that little bit of rub of the green and bounce of the ball has dried up for us just when we needed it.”
Kyle Bartley’s 80th minute goal threatened to spark a revival but Nigel Clough’s team remained defiant in the face of a late onslaught.
“With the other results, it was imperative we got a positive result,” Clough said.
“There was a lot of nervous tension around the place in the final 10 minutes but the way we dealt with it speaks volumes for the character of the players. We are tantalisingly close, one point from assuring safety.”