A convincing win at Elland Road sent Leeds United top as Charlton could only manage a draw away to Norwich. The game also marked our 15th consecutive league win at home and kept our undefeated record intact.

The first real chance fell to Gillingham when former Leeds United player, Curtis Weston worked himself an opening. He held on to the ball too long though and had to play an impressive back heal to Andy Barcham who fired wide. Gillingham had shown they were here to play football though and weren’t afraid to attack the Leeds United goal.

If anything, Gillingham’s attacking stance played to our advantage. There’s been many games where teams have come to Elland Road and had eleven men behind the ball and we’ve had to grind a result out with limited space to operate. With Gillingham set on attacking whenever possible, this created room for Leeds to create chances and counter, which led to a much better game at Elland Road than has been seen in other fixtures.

Lucciano Becchio had a couple of chances but failed to convert either. His second chance however was cleared for a corner which Robert Snodgrass crossed in and Bradley Johnson met with a powerful header. 1-0

Just before the half hour mark, Bradley Johnson picked the ball up on the halfway line and ran half the length of the pitch via a good one-two with Jermaine Beckford before firing home to double Leeds United’s advantage. Excellent movement by Johnson and an excellent finish, one of the goals of the season so far for me. 2-0

Leeds were cruising, but Gillingham continued to try and create chances. Curtis Weston found Simeone Jackson in space just before the break but he failed to convert. For me, Weston was their best player throughout. Regular first team football has clearly made a difference. Maybe should have held onto him?

2-0 at half time and although Gillingham had threatened, Leeds were deservedly leading. The half time team talk from Simon Grayson must have gone along the lines of keep attacking and let’s get this game killed off because within a minute of the second half, as some people were still taking their seats (me included) Jonny Howson hammered the ball home to make it 3-0.

By the second minute of the second half, it could have been 4-0 when Jermaine Beckford found space near the edge of the box and unleashed a powerful shot that nearly broke the crossbar. After assisting in Howson’s and Johnson’s goal, he clearly wanted a piece of the action himself.

Just as Leeds were looking comfortable and dominant, Gillingham got themselves one back. A quickly taken free-kick found Andy Barcham in space who struck first time to make it 3-1. The clean sheet would have been nice, but interestingly, this is the first goal we’ve conceeded from open play so far this season. A lot of the credit there has to go to Patrick Kisnorbo who has been a rock in the centre of defence.

A couple of half chances fell either way. Lucciano Becchio will be disappointed not to get on the scoresheet as he had a few chances. Dennis Oli will have been equally disappointed not to hit the target with his header, but it was Jermaine Beckford who sealed the victory with eleven minutes to spare. Doyle’s strike from outside the box came back off the woodwork and Jermaine Beckford was well placed to clean up. 4-1

Overall, a strong performance from Leeds with little to complain about all round. Gillingham had their chances and deserve credit for attacking us at Elland Road. Nice to see Jonny Howson on the scoresheet who hasn’t had a bad game so far this season. Beckford deserved a goal after playing a part in the two earlier ones but it’s Johnson who continues to suprise everyone. His first goal was an excellent header hit with power, but his second was the result of hard work and vision. With that in mind, he has to be man of the match.

Can’t finish without a mention for the man in black. Another truly woeful League One referee that failed to spot two Leeds players being elbowed in the face, with some other questionable decisions to add to what was another truly shambolic display from the officials. Had we not have come away victorious, I imagine he’d be getting a lot more stick than he has.

Next up is a little known team from Merseyside in the League Cup (more on them later). Should be a walk in the park!

  • Pingback: Welcoming Liverpool back to Ell!()