LEEDS 1 - WATFORD 6: GIANFRANCO ZOLA HITS NEIL WARNOCK FOR SIX
NINE-MAN Leeds crashed to a crushing defeat to make it six league games without a win.
Centre-back Jason Pearce was sent off just before half-time for a nasty tackle on Matej Vydra.
And Leeds, having used all three subs, were reduced to nine when Rodolph Austin was carried off.
Vydra scored after 28 minutes and Almen Abdi doubled the advantage on 61 minutes. Mark Yeates curled home a free-kick before Michael Tongue’s penalty pulled one back.
Vydra fired in again then Sean Murray and Troy Deeney scored.
Leeds boss Neil Warnock said: “I’m not devastated by the result – I’m just devastated to see Rodolph break his leg in two places.”
Watford boss Gianfranco Zola said: “It’s a massive result for us.”
Leeds 1-6 Watford, By Michael Morgan
GIANFRANCO ZOLA’S sharp-shooters went on a spree on a day of Elland Road misery.
Leeds lost Jamaican hitman Rudolph Austin to a sickening leg injury seven minutes into the second half.
And that left them down to NINE men as Jason Pearce was sent off just before the interval and they had used all their substitutes.
Watford chief Zola said: “Of course I feel so very sorry for the Leeds player who was badly injured.”
Distressed Leeds boss Neil Warnock admitted: “I probably shouldn’t be saying this but I am not bothered about this defeat.
“But I am devastated about Rudy’s injury. He has broken his leg in two places and will be sidelined for at least six months.
“Rudy’s injury puts the whole thing into perspective. Leeds have lost a football match but a player has lost his livelihood for months and our thoughts are with him, his wife and family.
“My players were distraught after the accident happened.”
Austin, 27, was hurt in a sickening collision with two defenders.
Leeds centre-back Jason Pearce had already been sent off for a lunge at Hornets striker Matej Vydra on the stroke of half-time.
By then Watford were already a goal up after Czech hitman Vydra sprang the offside trap on 28 minutes.
But it all went horribly wrong for the Yorkshire outfit after Pearce’s sending-off as Watford weighed in with five goals after the interval.
Almen Abdi claimed the Hornets’ second on 61 minutes before Mark Yeates buried a 20-yard free-kick to put his rampant team 3-0 ahead after 75 minutes.
Michael Tonge pulled one back for Leeds from the penalty spot five minutes later after a foul by Joel Ekstrand on Luke Varney.
But Watford were in no mood to show any mercy as Vydra wrapped up his second and his side’s fourth on 83 minutes.
Then subs Sean Murray and Troy Deeney both notched inside 10 minutes of stoppage time to complete United’s humiliation.
Warnock did not dwell too long on football matters but he did blast man-in-the- middle Trevor Kettle for his decision to dismiss Pearce.
He snapped: “The referee and his linesman were 55 yards away from the incident, yet still decided Jason’s challenge was a sending off.
“Yet Jason went into an honest challenge — his feet did not leave the ground and he has not gone over the top.
“So, as a manager, I find that decisions by the officials are very difficult to accept.”
Zola had plenty to cheer though. He added: “I am delighted with my side’s performance and this win.
”We needed a confidence boost and this will provide it. We are a young side with lots of potential and I don’t know what we might end up achieving this season.”