After our disgraceful performance against Millwall we took on Bournemouth at Elland Road. As we know this resulted in 3 points but was an unconvincing performance from a team with low confidence levels. When Ross McCormack stepped up to take the penalty, I knew he was going to miss. Good job he made amends later along with Dominic Poleon. So It was time to head for Derby.
On the way we stopped at a large ‘Chain’ Pub for a couple of pints. Bizarrely the staff were all dressed in Christmas Clothes. Undoubtedly a cynical attempt to drum up bookings for the forthcoming season. I was hoping that Leeds could show some cynicism of their own and put up an uncompromising performance against a side that had recovered for a 4 goal deficit during the week.
As usual our hordes of fans were in good voice; to start with anyway. My sense of foreboding increased as I read a big flashing sign which exhorted me to ‘Get right inside The Rams’ This only reminded me of a rather nasty offence which was sometimes committed by shepherds and farm labourers in isolated communities.
The game started brightly enough with Rudy Austin missing a real sitter right in front of the Leeds fans. One day one of these shots will go in but yesterday wasn’t one of them. The miss exemplified Rudy’s game. As usual he gave a high energy, high voltage performance but too many passes went astray and he got caught in possession too many times. I love his attitude but his skills are way behind his honest endeavours.
As I was about to bemoan the negativity of Paul Green for not getting the ball forward, he gave it to a Derby player instead who put Martin through to score an easy goal.
Within 3 minutes they were two up and this time Martin set up Russell who was completely unmarked.
I felt we had a penalty shout when Whitbread appeared to handle the ball but it wasn’t to be.
Hope was restored when Jason Pearce finally headed one in from close range. It was a bit of a shame that we couldn’t have swapped that one for his effort against Reading in the 95th minute which went just wide from a similar position.
This goal ended a fairly decent spell but the second half was devoid of threat from Leeds apart from a blocked effort by Austin. And when inevitably the excellent Will Hughes was allowed to waltz his way through our penalty area to score the third it was all over.
Brian McD didn’t shirk his duties and acknowledged the tremendous away support. He must be going through hell at the moment but lets hope his guts and experience see him through this sticky patch.
Where do we go from here? The biggest question mark hangs over Sam Byram. He is clearly not fit and hopefully the next two fallow weeks will allow him to get better. If he doesn’t then the unwelcome possibility of surgery will become increasing likely.
We should learn from this. Last season he played more first team games than any other Leeds player. Have we asked to much from a young body that is still growing?
Mowatt is emerging as another fine young prospect from our academy and Im sure that Brian McD will treat him and Poleon with a bit more care than the cynical Colin would have done.
Becchio back? Im not sure. One thing I am sure about is that this season is going to be a long tiring war of attrition while our manager does his best to balance the side that he has inherited.
He obviously has the patience or he wouldn’t have signed Murphy & Wootton. Quick fixes out wide & upfront would have been the populist choice The fans have shown remarkable patience and tolerance. The chairman has hinted that theres a bit of money available for loan(s)? So we will have to wait and see.
As always its really up to the players to stand up and be counted. Yesterday I thought Green, Tonge, Warnock and Pearce all played soundly.
Although I have defended Lee Peltier in the past it was impossible to defend his performance yesterday. Now I understand why he doesn’t go forward. He cant. Three very poor attempts to beat his man from forward positions ended in dispossession. Even Tom Lees has more tricks in his repertoire than that.
Got to shuffle the pack again.
Good luck Brian. You’re going to need it.