Two in two for Becchio

The omens before the game weren’t good for Lincoln, having exited the League Cup in the first round at the last four times of asking and right from the off, it didn’t appear as though things were going to change.

I emerged from the stairs in the Kop just in time to see Lloyd Sam’s cross find Jonny Howson who headed home to give Leeds United an early lead.

It quickly became apparent that the Whites were in a different class as they passed the ball around with absolute ease and made their way through the young Lincoln defence without interference.

It took Leeds only five minutes more to double their advantage with Sanchez Watt the provider as Luciano Becchio hit home from close range. 2-0, and for Chris Sutton and the boys things were only going to get worse.

By now, Leeds United were in cruise control, passing their way around the pitch like it was a training session and working openings almost at will. Sanchez Watt forced a couple of good blocks from the Lincoln keeper and Jonny Howson also went close to getting another.

With Naylor missing from defence, it would have been nice to see what Alex Bruce is made of, but with Lincoln hardly getting a touch of the ball, the only thing I recall him doing was getting a block in to deny Lincoln from a rare attacking move.

Another cross provided Leeds’ third goal, this time from Paul Connolly as the Whites displayed the kind of width we’ve sorely lacked in previous seasons. Lloyd Sam was the one on the end of it this time as he marked an impressive display with his first goal for the club.

Half-time came and went and Leeds United took their foot off the gas. With the game already tied up, there was little point risking injury or pushing on to humiliate Lincoln further. Mike Grella and Aidy White came on, but neither had much to do other than see the game out.

The final nail in the already secured Lincoln League Cup coffin came with twenty minutes remaining as Lloyd Sam continued to make a nuisance of himself by levelling his for and against penalty tally after last weeks unfortunate incident against Derby. Neil Kilkenny was the man to step up and round things off for Leeds with a calmly taken kick making it 4-0.

Despite cries of “we want five!” from the Elland Road faithful, the players casually saw the match out as the Kop resorted to keeping themselves amused. For Leeds United, this wasn’t the competitive challenge we’d perhaps hoped for, and our first team squad would probably have benefited more from an extra training session. Still, a 4-0 win however it comes can only help lift the confidence.

For Lincoln, I suspect the bookies may be right in tipping them for relegation. The young, inexperienced defence are going to struggle against strong forwards like Luciano Becchio and the ease with which Leeds passed the ball around has to be a worry. Whilst Leeds may be two divisions higher, I’d have expected a lot more fight from Chris Sutton’s side, if only for the travelling fans sake.

For Leeds’ part, the team had it a little too easy so it’s hard to say how well we performed. Neil Kilkenny had a good game, but when you have 30 seconds to pick a pass before anyone bothers to come near you, it’s not going to be difficult. Jonny Howson also had a good game, but wasn’t closed down much either unless he approached the box. Johnson meanwhile continues to annoy with 35 yard pot-shots when there’s better options in front of him!

It was down the flanks where Leeds really impressed with Lloyd Sam and Sanchez Watt both having good games. Bessone and Connolly did their part too, getting forward and overlapping with the wide-midfielders.

In attack, Becchio should prove a handful with so many deliveries coming from the wings and it’s good to see him on the scoresheet again. Mike Grella meanwhile will be disappointed that the game was over before he entered the field (although he did get more time than on Saturday). He has a tendency to try a little bit too much when on the ball, which is probably out of frustration – still needs a loan move in my opinion.

Overall, it was an absolute stroll in the park for Leeds, but you can only beat what’s put in front of you and the lads did exactly that. They controlled the game throughout, created chances and scored four goals. You can’t really ask much more than that.

TSS man of the match

Chatting to other fans on the way out, the general consensus seemed to be Killa, but I totally disagree as no one ever challenged him. Fair enough, he can only play against whoever is put in front of him, but he had it far too easy for my liking. For me, the obvious choice is Lloyd Sam. Not only did he get his first goal for the club, but he also assisted in Jonny Howson’s opener and won the penalty.

Our condolences go out to the friends and family of Exeter City
striker, Adam Stansfield who died tonight aged just 31. RIP Adam

  • tim campbell

    ok so its only lincoln and we should’nt be getting too carried away. but the more this group plays together the better the understanding they will build up together. There are quite a few new faces at elland road this season and it will take more than a few games for these guys to become a tight unit

  • TheReaper08

    Pleased to see Nayls retired to the bench, my guess is there are quite a few people on here that owe SG an apology for making that change. I only hope the same pairing are give a league chance because as TSS puts above this game proved nothing regarding either Bruce or Bruce & Collins as a partnership.

    As for this game well it was a good moral booster if nothing else, what it proves to me is the potential of Somma. If he can score a hatful for Lincoln he should certainly bag a few more with better players around him and a better supply.

    • timm

      Changed my plans tonight & thought i’d act as TSS roving North Yorkshire corrospondent! I live 5 mins walk from the Harrogate Town ground so i thought i’d check out the friendly.Sheehan, Lubo & Robinson all played 90 mins & to be honest they all looked ok, it’s difficult to assess them really as Harrogate are a non league team. Gradel & Somma played the first 45, & Somma really looked strong & sharp, unleashing a couple of vicious shots which were blocked. The game finished 0-0 but it was a good exercise for Max & Somma, & Robinson ran the show.I think Somma will be straight back on the bench for the Millwall game & he’ll play a part this season. Also, if Robbo’s not leaving, SG should play him, he’s got fantastic control & he never stops talking on the field.

      • TSS

        @timm

        Cheers for that mate. Shame there were no goals in it for you!

        I fear Robinson may struggle having been left out for so long now, but am getting more and more excited about Somma as everyone else seems to be too – So much so, I think we’ve almost forgot Billy Paynter!

  • Mikelufc

    Ex ellent report as usual TSS, am now waiting to read others before maybe commenting.
    Ps
    Still cant log on with iphone???

    • TSS

      Hi Mike,

      Baffled by it mate? Never had a problem with mine. Did you try the suggestions left by someone else in the forum thread?

  • Zomoniac

    I’m pretty sure it was Watt, not Sam, who both set up the first goal and won the penalty. Regardless, I’d give Howson MotM, he was creative and forward thinking, never dawdling on the ball with no idea what he should do, as Killa did too often.

    One thing that needs saying more often: sack Bradley Johnson, he’s a joke. He had at least 9 (that’s just what I counted when I remembered) shots tonight. Only one hit the target. Every single time he gets the ball 30 yards out he squares up to shoot. Has anyone ever seen him score from 30 yards? He can’t shoot to save his life, yet does it far more than any other player. The first half we were passing the ball around well for 5 or 6 passes, eventually it gets to Johnson, and it’s a goal kick. As soon as he got taken off, we’re stringing 15-20 passes together and working the ball into the box, a much better last half hour. Get rid of him, he wasn’t good enough last season and he certainly won’t be good enough this season.

    On the whole though, a good performance we can take a lot from. Bessone and Conolley looked a lot calmer and more assured than they did on Saturday (though Bessone and Collins both still made a few glaring errors when it came to distribution). Nice to see Naylor dropped (though I’m sure he’ll be back against Forest), another player who I didn’t think was up to League One standard and against better and faster strikers this season is going to be left stranded more often than not, he’s slow and his positional awareness isn’t good enough.

    • TSS

      @Zomoniac

      Totally agree with regards to Johnson. It’s infuriating the amount of times a match he gives the ball away by shooting from distance.

      As for your comments about Watt/Sam. Wasn’t 100% on the first one (as I said, I was just coming into the stand) but I double-checked on the official site and they say the same. The penalty meanwhile was definitely Sam. They both seem to switch wings, so that may have caused confusion?

  • Zomoniac

    I stand corrected, according to the Leeds site it was Sam on both occasions. The BBC site has it wrong.

  • AltrinchamAndrew

    ….missed the first 2 goals due to the cock ups with the season cards. Any chance of
    a refund uncle ken???
    Good result: bessone different player to
    Saturday!

  • USA_Whites

    Kasper- Signing of the season

    Bessone- Useless. He played 10 minutes that were decent the whole game.
    Collins- A few good plays, largely average.
    Bruce- Love him. Aggressive and plays his position.
    Connolly- He’s great, knows how to play the ball forward and got some good crosses

    Kilkenny- Did well, athough he always seems to break even. One terrible play (backpass that almost was a Lincoln Goal) and one great play (beautiful cross in the second half), and then just doing his job.

    Johnson- @Zomoniac I don’t think we should sack him, just draw a line across the field (about 35-37 yards out) and only let him shoot from there. He kicks it the exact same way each time, and if he only shot from there he’d score. Other than that I hardly noticed him, althout it does seem that he gets puched around too much for his size…

    Watt and Sam- Same review for both, they have great speed, good crosses. Too much footwork at times. Neither are aggressive enough to the goal; and if we’re to keep playing 4-5-1 they better start taking more shots, they kept looking around or dribbling with a bloody wide open net.

    Howson- Great first hald but didn’t play as well second half, I think Grayson told him to stay back, but frankly with the absence of Snoddy and Gradel he needs to be in the box every time.

    Becchio- He’s still figuring out how to play the lone striker. Honestly, if he cant wreak havok with only the Lincoln defence marking him we’re in trouble. Also seemed largely absent the second half.

    White- Can’t believe he missed the open net. Epitomizes our problem though; we are afraid to shoot (excepting Johnson…). He stopped and fumbled instead of confidently going in.

    Grella- Poor kid.. We should put him on loan or go to a 4-4-2 so he can have a chance. Even Lincoln can cover him when we play this formation and our midfield won’t push forward.

    Not trying to be pessimistic- just being honest. Bruce excepted, it was the same team as Derby, and if we don’t get better then we were at Derby we are in trouble against Forest. Bates needs to let us spend some bloody money.

    MOT

  • Ross

    Well a satisfied if somewhat easy evening at elland road with the game all but over after 10 minutes, and the early goals making this little more than a training exercise against very poor league two opposition.

    Leeds started out with the same 11 as saturday apart from Naylor dropping to the bench and Bruce stepping in.

    Agree with TSS Leeds played very well but were not really tested or put under any pressure.

    Schmeicel – got a rowsing reception and is becoming a fans favourite very quickly not much to do except handle a few low drives which he did well and with ease, chants of we want schmeicel for the penalty made me chuckle.

    Bessone – sorry but this guy needs to improve quickly, again our weakest player on the night with very little to do his passing, touch and positioning were all poor and he was stripped for pace by the Lincoln right side on many occasions. If he is supposed to be an attacking fullback his crossing is very poor and defensively he’s non existent, Looking average to poor against opposition of this quality is worrying, but lets hope he improves.

    Collins – solid enough never really put under any pressure, still a bit limited and a if in doubt kick it anywhere player , which will cause us issues against higher level opposition.

    Bruce – Liked the look of him again never really tested but when called upon looked good in the tackle and good at bringing the ball out from the back and distributing. Made one fine tackle on the edge of the 6 yard box to prevent them getting a shot in after Connolly had gone walkabout.

    Connolly – Ordinary gets up and down the right side well trying to link with the attacking moves and is definitely a grafter, involved in some good moves with sam and howson but when put into space his crossing on more than one occasion was very poor.

    Kilkenny – enjoyed the freedom afforded him and spent 90 minutes playing lots of the little link balls that he loves. Killa is a great player when we are on the offense and dominating against teams, but for someone playing in a holding role he is too slow and possibly the worst tackler in our midfeild. It was a dramatic improvement for him compared to saturday and he was certainly a contender for man of the match, but I still have serious reservations about his lack of defensive qualities and if he will be afforded the time and space to play like he did last night in a championship game.

    Howson – Jonny had a good game getting forward well linking play down the right side with Sam or Watt (who switched throughout) and playing some telling passes and putting in some good shots. If we can get the defensive side of midfeild going and let Jonny go forward more, he could contriibute some goals this season, Ive always felt he should score more than he has done in previous seasons. It was a good header at the back post for his goal and he should have had a second after some nice passing down the right wing provided a cut back to him on the edge of the erae and he placed a wel hit shot just wide of the top corner.

    Johnson – Not sure if it was because we were 3 – 0 up but basically Johnson ended up on the final ball of a lot of Leeds good play and did the same thing everyt ime lashed one either high and wide or for the keeper to look good and make a show save, never really threatened and really needs to stop and choose the right option when he gets the ball in good areas.

    Sam – I agree with TSS probably just edged the MOM a continuation of staurdays performance worked tirelessley up and down the wing, looks pacey skillful and keen. He cut inside to great effect and was involved in a lot of Leeds positive forward thinking moves, capable of beating a man and good delivery. Won the enalty with a good run into their area, (although looked possibly a little fortunate to get the decision from my view in the Kop).

    Watt – again played very well, this guy is a real athlete worked incredibly hard up and down the flanks tackling well, breaking well and involved in a lot of good play Sam towards the end when the formatin had changed and most others had just settled into a kickabout with the game over.

    Becchio – did what Becchio does worked hard won balls in the air scrapped with defenders and held the ball up well, didnt get to any balls played in advance of him or into the channels, and got a goal. Becchio seems to come in for a lot of stick (on forums usually, as opposed to at ER wher he is a favoruite), and I think its unmerited, we all know his strengths and his goalscoring record for a support striker has been decent.

    Subs

    Grella – Looks like he wants to go and get some games either on loan or who knows. cut a frustrated figure for the last 20 minutes, tried to get involved and put a performance in but a lot of the team were settled into the victory by then. He looks clver on the ball but never presents any threat which for a striker is not good enough, I would be happy to see him go on loan and get a run of games, as it5 seems unlikely he will ge that at ER.

    Hughes – came on worked hard distribution was not great but got stuck in.

    All in all a good confidence builder but little else and whilst i wish Bruce had done enough to come in on Sunday, Im not sure he was etsted enough for Grayson to put him in the starting 11 against forest much to my dissapointment I fully expect to see Nayls back in on Sunday.

    On On On

    Ross

  • Matt BB

    given my detailed knowledge of the game comes from various reports, and keeping an eye on the club website last night I cant pretend to give an in depth analysis of each player, but its patently clear thatLincoln werent much in the way of opposition.

    That means that it was nothing more than a training session as Simon Grayson said, in how to pass the ball well and stay solid. I wonder though how we will perform against a side like Forest, who like debry are very fast on the counter attack, was left wondering why no Naylor, not because i disagree but because he always seems to get picked, somethings happened there.. are we seeing the endgame for him in a leeds shirt?

    Surely Grella cant complain about not getting picked if he came on at 60 minutes and didnt make an impact against a poor lincoln team. Time to send him out on loan.

  • Chareose

    I think with Johnson….. hes too much of a confidence player. Plays well in friendlies or training but bottles it on the pitch…. If your a Sosa, matt Letissier or Alan Shearer then by all means take shots from 30 yards as you please but Johnson isnt even worth one of Alan Shearers Butt hairs :o(

  • Zorro White

    I’ve always thought that Johnson has a bit of a striker’s mentality but gets played at the back if anything. He’d be an interesting partner for Becchio in a non-crucial game, just as an experiment. I’ve seen him score some absolute thunderbolt goals for us in the past from distance. Who knows? Maybe closer in, he might put the ball, keeper and net in row 1 with a good shot.

  • Chareose

    Zorro White…………..yes if he went to Spec Savers first

    • Zorro White

      Or Bates’ eye surgeon?

  • Scoty

    I thought it was a good performance all be it against a weaker team, but like somebody said previously you still have to beat what is in front of you! and also, people musn’t forget that only a month ago we were on the end of a reverse score line against opposition from the same league ie Bury 4-0.

    however my main point, although i know it’s drifting off the subject but…how long is Paynter out for exactly? can we expect him back start of September maybe?

    i agree with Ross about Becchio not getting the recognition he deserves – however he can’t be expected to run the front line and be a ‘beckford replacement’ all in one! just wondering when we have a bit of firepower back up top anyone know?!?

    finally – did the Lincoln match count towards Gradel’s suspension or not?!