It’s good to be a Leeds fan again this morning after our 2-0 victory over Colchester ended the dismal run of league form we’ve been experiencing lately. The frustrating run of results left many Leeds United fans pulling their hair out when taken into context with the brilliant FA Cup displays they were sandwiched between. Simon Grayson called for an improvement, and a reshuffled Leeds United delivered.

There’s an old saying in football that it’s a game of two halves. This match however, was a tale of two halves of the first half. Leeds started looking a little panicked and shaky across the field, but slowly gained confidence as the scoreline remained level. On-loan signing, McSheffrey found his feet and started playing some excellent link-up play with the other attacking players. His ball holding skills proved valuable throughout and there’s no mistaking how good an addition he was.

The on-loan striker made his first real mark in a white shirt in the build-up to our opening goal. As Leeds found their feet and confidence, the sheer strength of our attacking options started to pay dividends with McSheffrey, Snodgrass, Becchio and Beckford all present to trouble the Colchester defence, forcing them to keep more players behind the ball than they probably would have liked. It was Becchio that was brought down inside the area for another one of those nervous penalty moments, but McSheffrey’s contribution to the build-up shouldn’t be overlooked.

Cue Beckford once more with the penalty. No nonsense from the Leeds United striker, struck firmly into the side of the net to send Leeds infront. Colchester’s keeper did guess the right way, but Beckford got the fundementals right by hitting it with enough pace to leave the U’s keeper with no chance. Before the Spurs game, we’d only scored one of our last seven penalties. Beckford has now buried the last two and our penalty woes may finally be at an end.

Meanwhile, our second new addition was a left-back from Villa called Lawry. Another great signing by Simon Grayson who has successfully identified the weak spot in our team once more. For the first time in as long as I can remember, the Leeds United manager seems to be reading from the same page as the rest of us. His arrival is a welcomed one and the youngster gave a very impressive performance for the 70 or so minutes he played before being forced off with what looked like cramp. That said, the last full-back we got on-loan from Villa got injured in the warm-up to his debut so I wouldn’t be surprised if lightning has struck twice. This is Leeds after all, we’re hardly the luckiest team in the world.

Both the new arrivals were involved with the next major Leeds United move which followed the opening goal and looked destined to make it 2-0. Lowry’s break fed Beckford who selflishly linked with McSheffrey who was massively unlucky not to score on his debut. Only an excellent one-handed save from the impressive Colchester United stopper spoilt the dream debut for McSheffrey who was realing starting to make his mark on the fixture.

The second half started much the same as the first ended with Leeds on top. The teams confidence had clearly built throughout and the vast supply of attacking options Leeds had was keeping Colchester’s defence extremely busy. Elsewhere, there was a massive improvement on recent weeks in Howson and Doyle’s display who ran the show in the centre of the park, battling hard throughout.

By this point, McSheffrey and Beckford were looking like the ultimate combination upfront, linking well and creating chances almost at will. However, the second, and ultimately final goal came ten minutes into the second period via Jonny Howson. Jonny brought the ball down neatly to create an nice shooting opportunity and struck sweetly, only to see his effort come back off the woodwork. Jermaine Beckford was as alert as ever inside the box though and pounced on the rebound to give Leeds a two goal lead and a much needed three points.

From there on in, we continued to create opportunites. Beckford was unlucky not to bag an hattrick when his third goal was ruled out for offside. Not sure on that one, but I’ll give the officials the benefit of the doubt since we won. McSheffrey received a well deserved standing ovation as he was replaced by Max Gradel who himself went on to nearly make it three after Beckford played him in and his shot was saved by the Colchester keeper.

Overall, and despite a shaky opening period, this was more like the Leeds United we’ve got used to this season. The new additions were integral to the performance bringing some much needed life to what had been a fading team. Colchester played well enough and won’t be too dishearted by the result, but Leeds’ attacking options proved the difference.

The tactics used by Grayson in this match showed a real belief in the manager who could have easily tried to iscolate any threats and hope Beckford gets lucky. Instead, he fielded a very attack minded team in what was at times a 4-2-4 formation. Howson looked much more comfortable in the centre of the park with Doyle alongside him doing what he does best in making the challenges and cleaning up the mess.

Aside from the three points we needed desperately, what makes this victory extra sweet is the satisfaction of silencing the anti-IGWT (In Grayson we trust) contingent. Whilst I was cynical of the decision to play the same team in the cups as we have in the league, changes in form will happen over the season and the main thing is that Grayson identified the problem, acted on it and resolved it before it became anything too serious. That’s what makes Simon different from the rest of the managers who have passed through Elland Road over the last decade or so and that’s what will take this football club forward.

And finally…

That just leaves the man of the match, which could easily go to McSheffrey as his contribution was excellent, but for me, it was Jermaine Beckford. Even without the two goals he delivered, he was brilliant. He linked well throughout with everyone, creating plenty of opportunities and seemed to enjoy every second of the game. Nice to see him smiling and enjoying life at Elland Road once more.

  • Terry

    Totally agree with you about Beckford. His all round play yesterday was superb, bringing players in to the play, setting up others as well as being there to take the chances himself. Very encouraging yesterday and well back on track.

    • Old Billy White

      Agreed I thought Beckford was very good yesterday, his hold up play and distribution, (which have been his weakness) were good.
      The first 20 minutes were a bit nervous, and I thought we missed Killa for his composure on the ball. Other than that we deserved to win, and my only doubt was that Bromby didn’t seem too comfortable at right back, and was reluctant to overlap. However all in all a much needed win.

    • Craig

      This is really encouraging news about Beckford. After the endless speculation and the pre-transfer agreement supposedly signed during the transfer window I was very unsure what kind of striker we’d be seeing for the remainder of the season.

      • matt

        Personally, i think that Doyle was man of the match. It was easily the best game he’s ever played for us and was the only Leeds player who seemed properly up for it at the start. Granted, the others did come into it later but he showed the determination that was absent for 15-20 minutes. I was also impressed with Bromby; his attacking and defending sense was a breath of fresh air as Crowe seems to have lost all confidence in his ability. I do think that Colchester seemed to be off form a bit. They started brightly but faded and lacked any sense of urgency even when the lead was just one. A lethargic display that not all teams will show. So to be the bastard that points out something wrong in everything, i think that it wasn’t a particularly good test for us and i don’t think it truly reflected on our situation or our ability to bounce back. Roll on Hartlepool, they will be the proper test.

  • macadamia_man

    Lowry, Kisnorbo and Killer all have a tough national manager in Pim Verbeek to satisfy they are playing often enough in the first team and at a decent enough level to be even considered for the national squad to go to the World Cup. Half Australia’s home-based better or fringe-better players (like Craig Moore) have already opted to jump ship from their main season’s clubs in order to be sure they get games right through the Australian close season. With a little luck and no serious injuries, that means flat out performances until the end of our season from all three (although so far Lowry’s only on board until mid-March, I think?). With Gradel back for impact and cover, and McSheffrey looking to make an immediate splash at last after his rough trot of bench-warming, the squad begins to look a match for Norwich’s and more than a match for Charlton’s. Phew . . . especially if Big Jack’s warnings about Cup distractions don’t get blown away when Spurs take us even more seriously in the next game. What still worries me is the tougher games and the catch-ups in April and May being complicated by a Cup run – hopefully we’ll be home and hosed long before then . . . MOT

    • Craig

      And I guess the plan is, having three Aussies in the same team will make it harder for the manager to overlook sending out the scouts to monitor their form.

      • macadamia_man

        Could be. Australia scouts pretty hard these days, especially in countries where it’s safe to catch the bus to the ground, and there’s no shortage of Aussie trainers, physios, coaches and ex-players still knocking around the Old Dart . . . Reckon it’s more a matter of having someone to miss the beach and the bush with . . .

  • Grumpy Older Man

    “what makes this victory extra sweet is the satisfaction of silencing the anti-IGWT (In Grayson we trust) contingent.”, my did someone get out of bed the wrong side this morning? Ignoring the sheer paucity of that statement, why you feel a Don Quixote style need to fight mythical windmills I know not. I can only assume that your aggressive promotion of both he and Beckford is a mask for a fear of it turning out badly come May. Such extreme emotions would look out of place on my blog never mind on TSS.

    Firstly let’s deal with the IGWT debate for the 8000th time on which nothing has changed. IGWT is a puerile, childish nonsense that does Grayson or the team no favours. It will remain puerile even if Grayson leads us up as Champions and yesterday is the first match in a 19 game win streak. There is no anti-Grayson crowd, no-one sees anyone else managing this club for the foreseeable, and so why you and others feel the need to act like Iranian Revolutionary Guards only you can answer. I, and I suspect a lot of others, reserve the right to judge our manager based on what he does without the need to be badgered by a ridiculous acronym that only the children of WACCOE could have invented. You really do need to think twice before writing stuff like the quote that started this contribution.

    Secondly let’s put yesterday in context, it was a welcome win, against a potentially dangerous opposition, but nothing more. Winning at home is a minimum we need to ensure promotion, look at the league table, Huddersfield can match our home form, Norwich’s is better, Charlton’s close and Colchester’s even closer, home form is but the base camp from which a promotion bid is launched, it is the away form that matters. Now up to xmas that was fine and we clearly had the best away form in the division, that is no longer true, we now lead that by a thread after the Exeter and Swindon disasters, we have 1 win, at the bottom club, in our last 4 away games, not you note at places we need to really worry about like Carrow Road, St Mary’s or the Valley, but Griffin Park! We go to Hartlepool and Orient in our next two away games, where a point might have been acceptable once but now we need wins to compensate for the points dropped. If we don’t take 4 points from those two games the “dip what dip” is back with a bang.

    Until the away form gets back to that of the autumn (which we ALL want), the legitimate questions, about the squad, about the Beckford factor, about the finance, about the manager’s bottle at the business end of the season remain. The need to get out of this division is too important to the club and its future, even under Bates, that it requires calculating heads not mindless cheer-leading of the “he said Jehovah, stone him” variety.

    Riposte rant over,

    • TSS

      Ah, I knew youd rise to it. It’s becoming too easy but for the record, my problem lies in the ‘I told you so’ mentality you decided to bring to the last match report. Your cynicism astounds me, it’s almost like you want Leeds to fail at times.

      As you’ve guessed, the last paragraph was aimed at you and in jest. But whilst I can accept constructive criticism when we’re struggling you’re always so down beat on everyone bar the “he tries” players like Becchio. Even when times are good. My point is that we, as Leeds fans, have been through enough and are more than entitled to enjoy the good times. If Grayson gives us something to believe in after everything we’ve been through, that’s a ggod thing – however long it may last.

      Enjoy the moment! They’re sure to be countered with some turmoil before too long!

    • timm

      Grumpy older man- There is no ‘Beckford Factor’, he plays for Leeds, he gives 100% effort to help us gain promotion & then he leaves with our best wishes to have a crack at the premiership. If he fails, then at least he gave it a shot & probably will be getting 40k a week for his efforts. That for me is where the matter begins & ends re Beckford so why does everyone keep going on about it? If we go up Mcsheffrey would probably want to stay anyway & he is real quality. Everything’s fine at Leeds,people like Grayson just don’t do negativity so let’s all follow suit.

    • Craig

      If we were talking about the kind of three match fillip that follows the appointment of many new managers I’d understand your glass-half-empty stance GOM. Surely a year’s worth of excellent results is enough to at least give Grayson his first positive scorecard?

      For me, the key thing about the Colchester game is that our attacking mentality has returned, seeming to mark the fact that the team know they have to do more than ‘turn up’ to win. Attacking football is much more fun to play as well as watch and, if other teams feel the need to get men behind the ball as Colchester did, I see another run coming.

      I suggest booking an appointment with a Life Coach GOM. You may discover truth in the old maxim: Grumpy by name, grumpy by nature.

      • Craig

        Oh yes, and can you help me out – WACCOE???

        • macadamia_man

          “We Are The Champions, Champions Of Europe” except for a dodgy referee. GOM was probably there, and busy saying ‘I told you so…’

        • Lufcboy
          • Craig

            Thanks – and for the link. I have been enlightened.

    • Leeds through & through

      i agree with TSS grumpy old man your always about the negative, grayson is the manager we have needed for a long time since are fall from grace, and beckfords goals along with the hard work from the rest of the sqaud is what is getting us there.

  • Yorkshrman

    Anyone who thought that we would go through the season without a dip in form and some poor results is living in cloud cuckoo land. What’s important is that that sequence of D-L-L in the last three games doesn’t become D-L-L-L-L …… as it did under McAllister. “IGWT” …??? not sure I’d be on that bandwagon, but fundamentally I do trust him to do the right things – which doesn’t mean that he won’t make mistakes every now and again. But I think that as fans we need to adopt the same approach that he does as a manager – by not getting too carried away when things are going well (as many Leeds fans did, earlier in the season) whilst not turning every set-back into a disaster.

    Got to add that I was very impressed with McSheffrey yesterday, especially given that he’s played so little football this season, and only met the rest of the team on Friday. And according to Grayson he was another player who had options to go to the Championship, but chose to come here ……

  • tim the white

    Personally I think JB has been playing well enough over this lean period but has been feeding on scraps for much of the time. Yesterday it all changed – well done SG but we needed it.
    I noticed that 2000 season ticket holders did not take up their option for Spurs but all of these were snapped up by yesterday evening. So, don’t anybody blog about not being interested in the FA Cup because it promises to be a great night and it is SOLD OUT including an allocation returned by Spurs!! Beating Colchester has set the game up and just MAYBE we will be in the 5th Round and at Wembley in 10 days time AND beat Hartlepool.
    I have looked ahead at fixtures and if we plough on from here I feel it will be a two horse race by the end of February as Charlton have some tricky fixtures to come and please God let us wack the Terriers!

    • Craig

      And Charlton seem to be struggling too.

      • TheReaper08

        Proper bonus about Charlton. We need to remember that the ultimate result is to get out of this league,once that is sorted we can work on who actually wins the league.

        • LUFC-mac

          We still have games in hand and all teams got tough games coming up!
          Norwich keep winning, but coming from behind??
          Is that good fight?
          Charlton could slip away now.

  • Matt bb

    With TSS on the GOM ANTI-IGWT debate, for gods sake cant people just enjoy the fact we won, and get behind the team. We all know bates’ chairmanship is far from perfect, that becks hinks he could walk into the england team, never mind the premier league, but he played really well yesterday, i dont think any of those inolved in fact had a bad game against promotion contenders. I particularly enjoyed watching aidy boothroyds rugby league tactics fail, and silencing the smart ass. Come on anti-igwt do you have any real solutions or alternatives, if not belt up, and allow the rest of us to enjoy a pleasant sunday morning, and a campaign in which we at last get out of league one.

  • TheReaper08

    It doesn’t matter what Grayson, Beckford or any of us does. There is little point in being called grumpy old man and then not being grumpy is there ?

    On yesterday’s game well we made the long trip from Wilthsire yesterday and in the first 20 minutes I was wondering why (except for my love of the club!). Colchester play awful hoofball and succeeded in dragging us down to there level. We were nervous and the initial lack of atmosphere suggested the crowd was too.

    However, as time went by and the hoofing didn’t deliver a goal I sensed that the confidence was restoring and the ball started to spend a bit more time on the ground. All in all not a pretty game but the longer it went the better we looked.

    Massive positives for me were McSheffrey who in places did look a class above and Beckford. Quality performance from Becks and it was a total delight to hear the crowd singing his name on several occassions. GOM is sounding more and more like a lone dissenting voice…..

    • Craig

      A real shame the two loan signings can’t feature against Spurs.

      • LUFC-mac

        Not at all, they will both be fresher for the next more important league game!!
        Just the other day, the moan was the same 11 all the time!!

  • Whitesforever

    I only said on thursday nights leeds united unplugged that we needed howson playing back in his favoured centre position instead of wide right where he is wasted. He only went there to accomodate killa being put in the side who is not as defencely minded killa is a luxury to have and certain games you cannot afford that luxury too many times he gives the ball away. M.O.T.

  • Paul South Wales

    GOM, stay on the Clarkeonenil site to spout your pessimistic,soporific drivel (blogs getting bigger and more boring with with each effort). Excellent response yesterday, superb choice of signings – McSheffrey? Didn’t see that one coming! Spurs now Wednesday and nothing to lose. A good result against Hartlepool next Saturday and we’re back to our best. I can finally see where other goals will come from, and i think SG has strengthened in exactly the right places with quality players. Onwards and upwards let’s get behind them (even GOM) MOT!

  • David C

    Yes, totally agree.

    After a shakey first 15 mins, it was a good performance – especially the second half.

    It was nice to see a few changes in personnel and I hope that Larry continues this approach.

    As I said in my previous posts, I am hugely impressed that we were able to bring in McSheffrey. He will be a massive player for us. Pace, quality and goal threat.

    I have written in previous posts that we have been lame in wide areas recently – with full-backs Bromby & Hughes, and wide midfielders Howson & Johnson. The introduction of McSheffrey changes everything. I actually think that will have a secondary effect of giving Snods wide right and Becks/Becc more space.

    McSheffrey’s match fitness and understanding with Becks will improve a lot, and we’ll see more than we’ve seen so far.

    I’m much more positive about things now!

  • Chareose

    Ok firstly I agree with TSS but with each comment I read I cant help feeling sorry for this GOM character…. people do love to bully dont they….. Leave the guy alone he has a right to his opinion eh….

    On Grayson I have read comments from other Leeds fans asking for his head which were pathetic to say the least. He will make mistakes but overall I have not felt so positive about a manager since we were all deluded by David O’Leary.
    The frustration is, you get the feeling that Grayson could do some serious empire building if he had decent backing. I hesitate to jump on the anti Bates bandwagon because to my mind its still a bit of mystery as to how much commitment he will and CAN give Leeds United but as each season goes by you do start to wonder where all the cash is going…. Who really owns Leeds United ??? Why cant we be told ??? Its because Alex Fergesun owns Leeds United :o)

    • Craig

      Not sure if GOM is looking for sympathy, I think he enjoys eating worms on his own (nobody loves me, everybody hates me…)

      Alex Ferguson as owner of Leeds – LOL – I’m sure we would have fielded a reserve side at the beginning of the month if Fergie had any clout at all!

      • Chareose

        Yeah dont let the truth get in the way of a good conspiracy theory…… Fergie financing Man uniteds transfers from Leeds cash

        The £6 million we got for Delph has gone towards Manchester United buying Ronaldinio’s left buttock

  • paul

    Great performance y’day, mac sheff made a big difference, were Colc really bad or were leeds really (after first 15 mins) good…difficult one to call? Once we get ‘at’ teams we grind them down.

    I didn’t take up my spurs seats, guess i just felt a bit low, still think it would be better to bow out gracefully of both cups, leaving 100% focus on the league and nothing else to distract.

    If Charlton lose mid week then they have to go to Swindon nx sat, and we can beat Hart’pool the table will look so much nicer! i want first place but i’d settle for second now!

    • TheReaper08

      Swindon will beat Charlton, if we can take care of business in the league over the next two weeks we may have a very nice cushion.

      As for the Colchester game well the longer it went on the better we looked in my opinion. As for Colchester, well they could still be playing now and wouldn’t have scored.

      Having three giants up front and lumping the ball up, Colchester got what they deserved. I thought Lubo barring a couple of silly fouls was great and had forgotten just how big he is.

      • LUFC-mac

        Lubo always does a good job, then gets turfed out when someone comes back!!
        Need him against Crouch on Wednesday

    • TSS

      I think it was definitely Leeds that were good when we settled down. The first 15 minutes aside, Leeds’ attacking force was unstoppable. Reminiscent of Leicester last season with Colchester looking a lit bit like we did.

  • West stand rebel

    So our inglorious fund manager revealed a new side to his character yesterday …his fondness for champagne oh and a nice bottle or 4 of Pouilly Fume no less.Then this sad delusional man no doubt by now half cut has a “mature reflection” on all he has achieved in the last 5 years. Yes he is “proud” of what he has achieved but even in an alcholic stupor he is conscious of “how far ” he has to go.
    Of course there is no admission of any personal responsibility of taking our club into the third tier of English football for the first time in our history. No apology for the farce of administration or the 15 point deduction, which cost us an immediate return to the Championship. No apology either for the legal costs he has run up at the club’s expense with the farcical legal challenges.

    Now the next bit of his programme notes is quite interesting. He claims talking of the transfer fee in relation to Max Gradel that “his fee has cost me a lot of Champagne money” Strange that as we know as he has admitted in Court that he has neither invested or owns anything to do with Leeds United. Perhaps this is another memory lapse . He has had them before . Maybe the Jersey Courts should be told.

    • TheReaper08

      Or perhaps it could just be humour…..

    • TSS

      The comments struck me as odd too, he definitely implies that he’s the benefactor of Leeds United in that Gradel’s fee cost him. It’s simply astounding how many times he’s been round in circles now regarding ownership, but lifes good again so i guess we shouldn’t dwell.

      • TheReaper08

        He is doing what Bates does best,winding everyone up.Judging by some of the stuff I have read he has done a good job as well.

        I think he has done a reasonable job (no more, no less) so therefore I found it to be very tongue in cheek.

        • Craig

          Except that he seems to actually believe his own ramblings.

  • TSS

    Just to clear the GOM thing up. What was written above was in jest. Me and GOM tend to disagree on a lot of things and me taking the piss there, was in retaliation to him having a dig after the Swindon defeat. I guess it’s hard to convey tone sometimes, but it was written pretty tongue in cheek.

  • lar

    the reaper…any chance of you paying a visit to ken bates.but i agree that until we are out of this abode then we can start chanting.the dip in form has been going on 5 seasons now.the lads on loan from the top side should have been done ages ago.but its not over yet and other fences to clear….lets hope the win against colchester continues and an aotomatic spot is ours.wish grella got more playing time..think hes going to be a major find.mighty leeeeeeeeeeds.

  • macadamia_man

    Dunno about not-cheap loanees being needed before now. KB doesn’t ever seem to spend his (or anybody else’s ;-) )money lightly and staying top for months without adding new blood makes pretty sound business sense, as does shelling out as soon as the right talent and the clear need arises. It is also not “beyond the bounds of possibility” that Forward said no signings until January 2010 a long time ago, or even none till promotion is secure, and that KB had to shell out some direct investment himself. Although the windup theory above is about 100:1 on in my “book” . . .

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