I’ve seen some poor games on my travels following Leeds United and the list continued to grow with Saturdays instantly forgetable bore-draw at Brentford.

The pitch was reminiscent of Histon’s last season, the referee was definitely in the wrong job and for what felt like a much more than 90 minutes, Leeds and Brentford failed to excite the crowd.

Patrick Kisnorbo made a welcomed return and Max Gradel was handed a rare start. The near-on 2,000 travelling Whites were pretty unanimously expecting three points, but I remained cautious knowing that Brentford had beaten both Colchester and Norwich on this ground.

A scrappy opening quarter of a hour passed with only one real chance. Kisnorbo was showing us exactly what we’d missed by organising the defence much better than in recent weeks and clearing anything Brentford could throw forward. Jermaine Beckford had the first real chance for Leeds smashing a powerful shot at goal, only to see the Brentford keeper touch it onto the woodwork.

That was about all the first half had to offer. Leeds were probably the better team given that Casper had been more of a spectator than a goalkeeper and not had to save anything that I remember. Capaldi was doing everything in his power to help Brentford out with another dismal performance that left me thinking he’d struggle to make the starting line-up of Farsley Celtic.

The under faciltated stadium caused a few half-time hiccups as 2,000 Leeds fans went for a break from the poor on-field performance. Leeds started the second half much brighter than the first and attacked from the off. Kilkenny and Howson were both providing chances for the Leeds attack, but Beckford missed a one-on-one I’d have put money on Showunmi scoring. That pretty much summed the days events up.

Whilst Brentford never really looked like winning, Leeds never looked like scoring. The pitch never helped matters and a referee unfit to take charge of an U9’s game couldn’t detract from what was a dismal day and a pretty poor performance all round.

So, the first trip to Brentford in half a century turned out to be a non-event. I’d usually give credit to the opposition for keeping us at bay, but the truth was they never really did. Leeds didn’t find it hard to beat their defence. Beckford broke the line several times, but aside from the thunderous shot he struck in the first half, seemed to have left his shooting boots at home. Capaldi was once again woeful and should be remembered alongside Roque Junior when he returns to Cardiff, whilst Larry’s substitutions proved unaffective for once.

I suppose on a positive note we remain top of the league by two points and with a game in hand. More importantly, we’re eight points clear of third place which is all that really matters. After conceding two against Huddersfield, Kis’ return brought with it another clean sheet. Some fans are suggesting this may be our bad patch and it wouldn’t surprise me as I’m never overly confident around Christmas, but if that’s the case then it’s the kind of bad patch we can ride out with ease.

Since the game Simon Grayson has criticised both the pitch and the referee. It’s not like Simon to be critical of anyone except his own team, but I think he’s more than within his rights to do. It was a frustrating day and the quality of the pitch definitely detracted from the quality of the football. Another poor referee spoilt any chance of the game flowing smoothly too.

Brentford manager, Andy Scott had the following reaction to Larry’s comments;

Their left-back put the ball out of play three times. That wasn’t the pitch, it was the left-back not being able to keep it in play.

“We’ve had a lot of games on here recently and unfortunately we don’t have six groundsmen so it’s never going to be like Elland Road. I think any comments about the pitch will be taking away from a fantastic performance by my players.

“It was a physical game and I think that Simon is clutching at straws if he’s trying to blame the pitch and refereeing decisions.”

Although I understand Simon’s frustration as I felt pretty much the same, I’d be inclined to agree with Andy Scott. The left-back he mentions is Capaldi, who is truly, truly woeful. When all’s said and done, Brentford are a small club battling at the lower end of League One. They deserve some credit for holding the league leaders to a draw and regardless of poor referee’s and poor pitches, Leeds should still have been able to beat them.

TSS man of the match
Great to see Patrick Kisnorbo back in the starting line-up and the fact his return coincided with another clean sheet is no coincidence. He organises the defence like no one else can, continually issuing orders and making important challenges. Truly invaluable to our promotion push!