Leeds made to rue missed chances as Orient get lucky TSS February 14, 2010 Match reviews 21 Comments A trip down South to the team that sounds more like a Chinese takeaway than it does a football club was quite an exciting one surprisingly enough. Even though I knew it was unlikely Jermaine Beckford would play and Kis was still out, I couldn’t help but get ahead of myself and predict a 3-0 win to the Whites. Not sure whether it was naivety or logical thinking, but Leeds’ wealth of attacking options for me were destined to destroy the pitiful Southerners. In the first half things went as planned. Leeds dominated possession, had pretty much all the notable chances and were just missing the deft touch infront of goal that would give us the lead we so blatently deserved. Nothing to worry about though. All we’re missing is a striker capable of making something out of all this possession and attacking play and bobs your uncle. As chance would have it, there just happened to be a young American striker on the bench, described by many of his team mates as the most skilful player in the squad, and who has proved before that he can make a difference. Unfortunately, Larry stood firm with his starting line-up and put his faith in Luciano Becchio, who, quite frankly, looks lost without Jermaine Beckford lately. I don’t want to be over-critical of a player who has given his all for Leeds United, but the difference between him and Becks was shown to all when it came to penalties against Carlisle. Whilst you’d have to prize the ball from Jermaine Beckford’s cold dead hands to get any chance of taking a scoring opportunity away from him, Luci doesn’t seem to have the same self-belief, nor does he have the same ability to get into key positions and score the vital goals on a regular enough basis. Max Gradel meanwhile, was trying absolutely everything to find an opening and worked tirelessly throughout. It really did seem like if anything was going to happen, then he’d be involved somewhere along the lines. So, imagine my lack of surprise when it was Max who was removed to finally get Grella on the pitch for his standard fifteen minute cameo appearence. Anyone watching the game knew the right move was to get Gradel alongside Grella and torment Orient into submission, but for whatever reason, Simon Grayson decided to stick by the largely ineffective Becchio for the full 90. When you’ve had every chance, all the possession and somehow not scored, it’s inevitable you’ll live to regret it and on 83 minutes, Orient took the lead. To be completely honest, I wasn’t even surprised as I’ve seen this happen so many times before, but credit to Leeds. They kept going and fought for an equaliser which came in the dying moments when Bromby’s throw-in caused havoc in the box and an Orient player put the ball over his own line. Lucky would be an understatement, but a point is no less than Leeds deserved. So, what did we learn from Orient? The true value of Jermaine Beckford would be my answer. Whether it takes him three chances to score or not, he’d have had fifteen chances in this game and we’d be sitting back on top of League One. Failure to capture another capable striker in the January transfer window may still come back to haunt us. We’d have been better off with Dickov on the pitch, and the thought of him signing for Leeds disgusts me. The ups Domination: It was too easy for us to retain possession at times and dictate play, but with no one to turn it into goals, a fixture from which we should have easily taken three points turned in to one where we dropped two. Attacking options: With a reshuffled midfield, Leeds had a ridiculous amount of attacking options that could cause any team in the division problems. The problem we had however, was that our “Inconsistent, takes him six chances to score” striker wasn’t in the box to convert any of them. Max Gradel: Good response from Max after the antics of the JPT. Was involved with everything and seems eager to shine for Leeds United. Keep fighting: The last second equaliser was a tribute to the never-say-die attitude these players have shown all season. Shame we were in the position to need one to start with mind. The downs Becchio: It’s not so much Becchio that the problem is with, it’s the lack of a goalscorer alongside him in the last two games. We’ve had the ideal opportunity to let Grella show us what he can do and missed it to accomodate more midfielders than we could ever possibly need. I’m in danger of becoming repetitive but what on earth does Grella have to do to get in the starting XI? Beckford: Kinda links on from my previous point, but what on earth would we do if Beckford was to become injured for the next three-four months? If Grella isn’t given the chance to shine, then I suspect we’d be freefalling back into the play-offs for another year in League One. All hypothetical of course, but once again I’m worried by our failure to sign another striker in January. Defence: The difference Kisnorbo makes is ridiculous. The defence had maybe two problems to deal with all afternoon and one of them found the back of the net as no one could challenge for the assisting cross.