Monday, 29 October 2012

Leeds United 1 - 1 Birmingham City

As we walked down to Elland Road the wind was freezing, there had been snow in parts of the UK over the night and widespread ice, most of Leeds had dodged a covering though.
We were full of hope that the match wouldn't be anywhere near as bad as Tuesday night's game had been, there was a feeling in the pit of my stomach, however, that it might be.

As soon as I got into the ground though, the hope returned, the saying 'We're Leeds Aren't We' kept going round in my head as I watched the squad train. 

My hope was boosted when I saw the teamsheet and Austin was back, along with Lee Peltier and Michael Tonge.

As the match kicked off, Lee Peltier gave away a free kick & the visitors were in a good scoring position. 
Steven Caldwell shot from outside the penalty area but it sailed over the bar without any real worry.

Neither side looked like they were comfortable in the opening minutes, it was pretty tit for tat but Birmingham were making the most of the space they were getting from gaps at the back.
Nathan Redmond missed just right of the target after shooting from just outside the box on the 6th minute.

Our first chance came on the 13th minute when Luciano Becchio tested City keeper Butland but he comfortably saved.

This sparked a bit of life into our side and a minute later Tom Lees sent a ball into the box, Curtis Davies soon cleared any danger.

Butland found himself with a lot to do when one of his own defenders headed a ball to him at very close range, the original ball had been put into the box from Sam Byram.

Lee Peltier blocked a long distance shot from Hayden Mullins on the 18th minute.

A bit of a lull (to say the least) over the next 10 minutes, the next chance came from Rodolph Austin when he retrieved a good ball from Danny Pugh & found himself in space 25 yards out. Butland just got to it however & managed to save it from going in, with his feet.

The corner that followed, taken by Tonge, was punched away by the keeper and Danny Pugh took the throw in.

Nathan Redmond saw an opportunity on goal as he crossed into the box, but Paddy Kenny came and caught the ball before it could go any further on the 36th minute.

44 minutes in and Sam Bryam shot from 20 yards out but it just missed to the right of the target and Butland took the subsequent goal kick.

The ref brought an end to the first half. Luckily there was a bit more life in the game than there had been 4 days ago....A bit....

A quieter start to the second half as a whole but we were playing a lot better, we looked sharper and more up for it than we did in the first half.

On the 53nd minute a corner from Tonge came into the box and was cleared by Leroy Lita.
Another corner, this time by El-Hadji Diouf found the head of Jason Pearce, but it went wide and Butland took the goal kick.

David Murphy found play open up for him, enough to take a shot from 35 yards out. He missed to the right of the goal mouth.

More pressure from City as Morrison hit a ball just over the bar. 

Both sides had a lot of chances in the second half, but neither had the edge, that is until, the 75th minute when play opened up for Leroy Lita to score a screamer from 20 yards out.
The assist came from David Murphy who had passed the ball to Lita in his own half.
Poor defending, great goal.

Warnock decided it was time to shake the team up a bit on the 82nd minute, bringing on Aiden White for Tom Lees and, making his debut, Ryan Hall for David Norris.

Time was ticking on and more poor defending meant we were giving them more space than they should have had in the final quarter of the pitch. 
Paddy Kenny punched a ball away from a corner taken by Wade Elliott.

We woke up though for the last 5 minutes of normal time, Steven Caldwell brought down Becchio  25 yards out. Michael Tonge found his free kick blocked by Paul Robinson.

A minute later, Rodolph Austin had a go from 20 yards out but it was over the bar.

The closing minutes were all Birmingham and most of us had already come to terms with our first defeat in eight, but, after Tuesday night, I think we all knew it was coming.

The referee blew for full time.

What can I say that I haven't already....

Two words....Long....Ball. It is doing my head in!! 

I fully understand some of the criticism that Becchio is getting at the moment, as he hasn't been at the races for a couple of games, but just what is he supposed to do when he isn't getting the service he needs and everyone jumps on his back for it!! 

Regarding the long ball, Luciano jumps up to flick it on when it comes over, succeeds ...But he is the last man, there is no-one in front of him, so it usually ends up in the hands of the opposition keeper. Clearly hoofball ISN'T WORKING!!!!

In my opinion, you can't play Becchio and Diouf upfront together, Diouf isn't a striker and I think it slows play down, him being there. Either play Luciano up front on his own or bring someone else in, a 'Beckford type player' that we know he can play with.
I personally can't wait for Ross back so we can have the pair of them up front together again!! 

Diouf was average at best on Saturday too, he got in some great places but didn't pass the ball enough meaning possession and momentum was taken away.

Looking at how we conceded the goal, Pearce, Pugh and Peltier were too slow to deal with Birmingham's pacey attack, they were caught in no man's land and Lita knew that, we gave him all the space and time he needed to put the ball past Kenny in spectacular fashion.

I've heard people calling for Warnock's head....Pep Guardiola couldn't do a better job at the moment with the side, resources & options we have!!!! 
I mean, we all knew it wouldn't be pretty football under him didn't we.

Ryan Hall had some good pace when he came on but I didn't see enough of him to make a judgement, I hope he gets started tomorrow. I'd like to see more of him.

Capital One Cup action against Southampton tomorrow night anyway. Warnock has said he doesn't intend to field a 'weakened side'. I just want a major improvement for Brighton on Friday night!! 

It's hard being Leeds sometimes, but, I wouldn't swap it for the world :o)

MOT xx <3 xx

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