DAVID MOYES insists there are times when he hates this job – it wasn’t difficult to see why.
His under-fire Hammers had come from behind to lead a game that would have hauled them away from the drop zone and given them the most emotional of victories.
Rodrigo scored the equaliser for Leeds in the second halfCredit: Getty
West Ham are now six league games without a winCredit: Getty
Then up stepped Spanish striker Rodrigo, drilling a 20-yard fizzer into the bottom corner and all of a sudden a night memorable for the right reasons became like so many others this season.
Two points lost – from being 2-1 ahead it certainly wasn’t one gained – and for manager Moyes, another night cursing his luck.
How they were desperate to win in tribute to David Gold, the co-owner who died on the morning of the game. How they looked like doing so for a good while, too.
Yet in the end just another shining example of why they are so deep in the mire. They went from bad to blinding…and promptly slid all the way back again to end up clinging on.
No wonder Moyes is at the end of his tether with this lot. If ever a side knows how to put their manager through the mincer it is West Ham.
They had fallen behind after gift-wrapping a goal for Leeds, battled back to edge in front – admittedly thanks to a couple of home-side clangers – and then fallen apart for a second time.
A night they would have loved to become a victory in honour of Gold, whose empty seat was emotionally left vacant save for a bunch of memorial flowers, instead became a scrap for a draw.
Mind you, when their defence parted to leave Wilf Gnonto with a clear route to goal on 27 minutes, even that looked beyond them.
Wilf Gnonto celebrates opening the scoringCredit: Getty
There was no immediate danger when Gnonto got the ball 30 yards out, but the Hammers backline melted into the night and left him with a one on one from Crysencio Summerville’s pass.
It was simply shocking defending. It has been that way too often this term, as five straight defeats backed up and left Moyes tearing his hair out.
Mind you, his Elland Road counterpart Jesse Marsch has hardly been finding life a barrel of laughs either, of late, with the Leeds gaffer also bemoaning how awful and lonely the job can be.
When his side defends a lead as they did last night, you can see what he means, too.
If home fans hoped going in front would steady nerves and give them a relaxing night at last, they were woefully mistaken.
Because a couple of minutes before the break West Ham were level, although to be fair it shouldn’t have needed the intervention of VAR to give them the opportunity.
After Jarrod Bowen tumbled under Pascal Struijk’s stab-footed challenge, the ball broke to Pablo Fornals bang in front, but he pulled his shot wide.
Time, then, for referee David Coote to review the incident on the touchline, realise he’d dropped a clanger and follow his square-in-the-air by pointing to the spot.
Paqueta equalised from the penalty spotCredit: Reuters
With Bowen and Rice both having missed penalties, and Said Benrahma – who scored their last penalty – on the bench, Lucas Paqueta took the responsibility.
The clinical manner he buried his effort right in the corner, after a stop-start, stuttering approach suggests the Brazilian may well have the job for as long as he wants it, too.
If that was a goal of Leeds’ own creation, less than a minute after the break they had come up with an even bigger blunder. Or to be more specific, Brenden Aaronson had.
When Aaronson tried to return Robin Koch’s pass, he unwittingly picked out Gianluca Scamacca and the Italian stuck it in the corner from 20 yards.
From leading to losing, suddenly tempers were frayed and Summerville showed his own short fuse with one nasty lunge that left Vladimir Coufal hobbling.
The lengthy treatment had home fans baying “what the f*** is going on.” It was a question they’d have been better off asking of their own side’s performance.
It seemed that West Ham, for all things were getting nervy, had broken the back of the job. We should have known better.
For on 70 minutes Jack Harrison stroked a pass to Rodrigo, and Leeds’ leading scorer picked out the bottom corner to level it.
Had Sam Greenwood’s corner fallen to a striker rather than centre back Liam Cooper two yards out, Leeds could even have nicked the win.
Scamacca’s long-range strike handed the Hammers an early second half leadCredit: Getty
In the end, though, no-one really deserved all three points and they had to content themselves with a solitary one which doesn’t do either of them the world of good.
It’s going to be a long old four months for them both…