Leeds United’s FA Cup adventure is over for another year after Scott Wootton’s own goal proved decisive in a 1-0 defeat away to Premiership Watford at Vicarage Road.
The Whites failed to find the net again as their shortaqe of a top striker was against highlighted, but could feel unlucky to go out in the manner they did after defender Wootton turned the ball into his own net nine minutes into the second half.
Head coach Steve Evans made only one change from the side that played out a goalless draw with Middlesbrough in their previous game with captain Sol Bamba back at centre-back in place of the injured Liam Cooper.
On-loan winger Mustapha Carayol also missed out through injury, allowing Jordan Botaka to return to the subs’ bench.
Watford, meanwhile, rested several of their first teamers, but still fielded a side with eight full internationals. One of their best players, Troy Deeney, started up front and was quickly in the action with a header that was deflected wide.
Miguel Britos then twice headed wide and Jose Holebas’ powerful shot was deflected wide as United were pushed back in the early stages.
Leeds did manage a counter attack that gave Stuart Dallas a chance to shoot, but his effort failed to test home keeper Costel Pantilimon.
Dallas fired another shot wide from the edge of the box after combining well with Souleymane Doukara.
Marco Silvestri did need to make a save for Leeds to keep out a low cross by Paredes, but the Whites had settled into the contest by this stage and Dallas saw a low shot deflected wide.
It was Watford, though, who took the lead on 54 minutes when Ben Watson’s cross was inadvertently put into his own goal by Wootton.
Watford almost made it two soon after as Alben Abdi blasted over from a good position after being allowed to stride forward menacingly.
Etienne Capoue put the ball in the net only to see his effort disallowed for a push in the build-up by Deeney on Charlie Taylor.
Evans put Alex Mowatt on for Dallas as he looked to make things happen for his team. Liam Bridcutt did get a shot in form range, but it was easily saved by Pantilimon.
Watford created more half-chances as Holebas and Capoue were unable to capitalise and were not really in any trouble at the back.
Leeds did create one last opening, however, in the 89th minute when Wootton found Doukara in space 15 yards out, but the striker fired well over.
One last attack in injury-time ended in a bit of chaos in the Watford box, but an infringement meant it was all over for United and they were out of the cup at the fifth round stage.
(Wootton og 54)
Leeds United 0
Saturday, February 20, 2016
Emirates FA Cup, round five
Watford: Pantilimon, Paredes, Britos, Cathcart, Holebas, Capoue (Anya 90), Suárez, Watson, Abdi (Guedioura 77), Deeney, Amrabat (Ighalo 67).
Leeds: Silvestri, Wootton, Bellusci, Bamba, Taylor, Bridcutt, Cook, Diagouraga (Botaka 85), Dallas (Mowatt 61), Doukara, Antenucci (Erwin 82).
Referee: Michael Oliver.