Leeds United boss Garry Monk held his hand up and admitted he got it wrong with his team selection as the Whites added another to their list of FA Cup embarrassments at Sutton United.
Monk fielded more than just a side of fringe players for the fourth round tie as he delved into his third string for his starting 11 and Leeds paid the price with a 1-0 defeat to their non-league opponents.
Jamie Collins’ 54th minute penalty proved enough to dump Leeds out of the competition and they could have no complaints after an awful display that was worse than the one that saw them previously lose to non-league opposition in Histon.
They finished with 10 men after captain for the day Liam Cooper was sent-off for a second bookable offence.
Defeat was no real surprise, though, when the team was revealed. Choosing Marco Silvestri in goal, Lewie Coyle and Taylor Denton at full-backs, Kalvin Phillips in midfield and Marcus Antonsson up front could be predicted as they are close to first team selection anyway and have played in previous cup ties this season with some success.
But Monk went further by bringing in debutants Paul McKay at centre-half and Billy Whitehouse on the wing, although neither had previously looked to be anywhere near close to the first XI. There were further untried youngsters on the bench with Monk choosing to rest all bar Stuart Dallas who started in midweek against Nottingham Forest.
It clearly did not work as Leeds lacked any cohesion from the start and gave the impression that the club did not want the bother of playing in the FA Cup this year.
Monk admitted his selection had not worked.
He said: “I take responsibility for this performance.
“I’m the one who selected the team, I’m the one who made a lot of changes. It didn’t work out for us so maybe it was the wrong decision.
“It was my responsibility, I take it fully for the performance that we got.
“Maybe it was one or two too many changes. There was no cohesiveness to our play and we got what we probably deserved.
“The bigger picture for us is that we have to move on, we have another game in a couple of days and we have to refocus straight away to make sure we are ready.
“We know we can play a lot better than that and the high level of performance which we have been having we have to get back to straight away.
“We’ve got a lot of young players and if you look at the League Cup we did a similar thing and reached the quarter-final.
“They’ve got a lot to learn. They’ve got a disappointment today and have got to take that on the chin as we all do.”
Sutton, whose players admitted afterwards that they were given a big motivation when they saw the Leeds team, looked more up for the game from the start.
They had the ball in the net early, but Roarie Deacon’s effort was ruled offside.
Only a fine save by Silvestri denied Sutton as the Italian tipped a 25-yard shot from Deacon over.
Cooper was booked for taking down Bedsente Gomis as Leeds struggled to get to grips with their opponents. Gomis then went close when his low shot from six yards out was somehow blocked by Silvestri.
Leeds did get an effort in as Stuart Dallas’s lob was collected by home keeper Ross Worner and Tyler Denton’s pass gave Dallas the chance to get another strike in only for the ball to be deflected wide.
A penalty shout was denied when Denton was fouled after making a surging run from left-back, but the infringement was ruled to be just outside the area. Kalvin Phillips saw his free-kick saved.
But only another good save by Silvestri kept out Deacon’s shot just half-time.
Leeds tried to improve at the start of the second half with Whitehouse cutting inside from his right flank to get in a low shot that deflected wide.
However, Sutton took the lead when a long ball from Nicky Bailey had United’s chasing defence in trouble and hesitation between Silvestri and Lewie Coyle led to Coyle tripping Deacon to concede a penalty.
Sutton captain Jamie Collins sent Silvestri the wrong way from the spot to give Sutton a 54th minute lead.
Monk threw on Hadi Sacko for Dallas and put on another debutant in Mallik Wilks, for Doukara, but failed to produce much of a response as the tie petered out.
They played the closing stages with 10 men after Cooper took out Craig Eastmond with a sliding tackle and was sent-off.
Adam May went close to adding a second goal for Sutton and Antonsson hit a shot well over before referee Stuart Atwell’s final whistle put the Whites out of their misery.
To the likes of Histon, Rochdale, Scunthorpe and Colchester the name of Sutton can now be added to the list of cup embarrassments for Leeds.
Sutton United 1
Leeds United 0
Sunday, January 29, 2017
FA Cup fourth round
Sutton: Worner, Amankwaah, Collins, Gomis, May (Traore 90), Eastmond, Bailey, Spence, Deacon, Biamou, Downer.
Leeds: Silvestri, Coyle, McKay, Cooper, Denton, Grimes, Phillips, Whitehouse (Roofe 73), Dallas (Sacko 57), Doukara (Wilks 64), Antonsson.
Referee: Stuart Atwell.