Jonny Howson celebrates

Leeds got off to the best possible start but soon fell apart.

At 7:48pm last night the 6700 travelling Leeds fans inside Oakwell couldn’t have been happier. Jonny Howson got Leeds off to the best possible start following a Neil Kilkenny corner.

Despite early pressure from United the game soon became scrappy and though chances were created for Lloyd Sam (in the team replacing Watt), Richard Naylor and Luciano Becchio, Leeds weren’t able to strengthen their lead.

Leeds survived a couple of Barnsley chances but were rattled as Garry O’Connor, on loan from Birmingham, equalised from the edge of the area not long before the break.

Andy Hughes replaced Fede Bessone in the opening minutes of the second half. Leeds were stunned again as Barnsley quickly took the lead after Jim O’Brien scored an easy chance.

Simon Grayson brought on Ross McCormack for Bradley Johnson on the hour mark. The new man soon went close, grazing the bar with a free kick. Things got worse though when Diego Arismendi put Barnsley 3-1 up with a good finish. It was always going to be a massive task to come back from two goals down with 25 minutes remaining but Leeds didn’t help themselves.

Desperate to save something from the game, Grayson brought on Davide Somma for Sam and switched to a 4-3-3 shape. It seemed to be too little too late and Barnsley soon wrapped up the win with two goal in quick succession. The first was an own goal by Neill Collins who headed a cross past Shane Higgs, the second a good strike, less than sixty seconds later, by youngster Adam Hammill who had tormented Leeds all night. Davide Somma scored a late consolation but it was all over for Leeds by then.

A very disappointing display by Leeds, littered with mistakes and poor decisions, led to Simon Grayson accusing the players of letting down the fans.

The 5-2 result puts an end to a string of good games for Leeds. Simon Grayson and fans will be looking for the players to respond with a good performance when Leeds play Doncaster live on television on Friday evening.

The manner of the defeat may pressure Grayson into making changes to the side with question marks still surrounding Richard Naylor and Fede Bessone and Davide Somma obviously raring to have a run in the first team.

  • whiter than white

    I would like to know why Somma doesn’t start. Seems to me he’s a natural striker, more so than Gradel.

  • henry vincent lewis

    I think the manner of the defeat will help Simon to shake things up.
    He has been ‘hampered’ by good results papering over the cracks.
    We don’t know any more than we did before the game.
    Bessone is a liability the way he has played since the start of the season.
    Our midfield has been overun on many occasions last season, so we have seen it before!
    A holding midfield battler would help to plug a few holes.
    Our two centre halves are put under too much pressure when the midfield implodes.
    They are both brave but a bit slow.
    I wonder if Simon is unimpressed with Bruce, as he would be an obvious choice?
    At left back I would try Aidy White again or Johnson.
    The are both left footed!!
    Up front it must be Somma now, along with Luciano.
    Max out on the right and Watt on the left.
    Ross McCormack and Sam from the bench if required!
    I am not too down hearted.
    At least we know where we stand.
    Keep backing Simon!!
    At least he is honest with his summary of the game.
    Not the usual bull… you get from other managers!!
    Look – we could still be in Div 3!!!
    Roll on Friday!!

  • l l l leeds

    anyone know when Parker’s back? if ever?
    We could do with him back as I can see Grayson loseing faith with Bessone sooner rather than later…

  • love leeds

    The result deos not suprise me, we always look like we can score but at the same time we always look like we will concede easily.N.Richards is a good captain and tries his best but this division is too good for him if we want to finish in a play off position.
    Hate Bates comments about the game get out your wallet and pay for a good central defender as good if not better than kisnobo if you expect them to win.

  • Christopher Gee

    Six games in and one or two looking jaded already! Even SG’s most loyal supporters might question the judgement of starting with Gradel in a forward attacking position behind Becchio when we have so many other options up front. If the thinking was that he could drop back into midfield when required it didn’t work and a shaky defensive unit was under constant pressure after conceding the equaliser. Surely time to admit defeat with Bessone who looks less and less like a footballer each time he plays. Don’t know how we recruited such a big squad in the summer and still don’t have a competent left back? Time to roll the dice for Friday, Simon. I’d start with the goalie..

  • Ryan H

    For me it was only a matter of time before our defence was going to get exposed like it did last night. SG needs to make changes Friday and get out of the habit of sticking with the same winning team(not necessarily the best team)even though he has such a large squad available to him to enable him to rotate from time to time.

  • Tim Campbell

    In some ways I’m glad we got hammered last night because I don’t think we’re putting out our best team yet Larry says there will be changes against Doncaster. bout time too. I can see Nunez, Snodgrass, Paynter, Faye and maybe Bruce coming in; hopefully ben parker gets back quick too,

  • Dje

    I reckon this could be a feature of us in this league this season – win three in a row and then get stuffed in the forth game. I’d take the nine points from a possible twelve and become a laughing stock on every fourth turn out, every time; it’d get us promoted.

    BUT, Grayson has to react to the drubbings we do get to make sure that we don’t AWOL with our nerves like we did in the second half of last season.

  • Arnie

    Lots of good comments here regards LUFC. Some lucky results (Swansea? Watford?) have papered over the cracks and last night’s heavy defeat had been coming.

    We were cut wide open several times by League One teams towards the end of last season and that was with the current CB/CM pairings.

    Grayson’s loyalty to his captain Naylor is commendable, but every Leeds fan knows he is a weak link. Both him and Collins also appear to be in a race to see who can score most own goals!

    Haven’t seen all that much of Bessone, but it appears he’s defensively suspect too.

    I’d consider pulling both centre backs out of Friday’s game and replacing them with Bruce and Bromby/Hughes. Johnson (even though he’s not great at times either) would be a more solid bet at left back than Bessone.

    In midfield, Kilkenny and Howson look great when we are on top of teams, but go missing when they need to dig in. We still have no natural ball winner in there. Amdy Faye might be a short-term answer, but until he’s fit why not try Adam Clayton?

    As far as the attack is concerned, why does Grayson persist with one man up front when he now has so many attacking options?

    Somma has done enough to start and its strange that the manager saw fit to drop him in the first place esp when he’d scored three in two. McCormack could replace Becchio or at least play on the wing.

    I could be wrong but Grayson strikes me as the sort of manager who is most comfortable operating with a small squad. Give him lots of options and he doesn’t know what to do with them all!

    Let’s hope we can get a result on Friday. I’d take a draw, but we owe Donny one after the shocking play off final defeat from a few years back.

  • Dje

    @Arnie

    I think Grayson has to hold his hands up about the players he’s brought in. Three of the back four were essentially brought in this season, and the other, Naylor, has come in for much criticism. Personally I think it shows more guts if Grayson admits that at the moment the back four isn’t working and he might well have got it wrong with the players he’s brought on board this term, and does the proper thing and changes it at the back – even if it requires players coming in on loan.

  • colet

    grayson says we have a team that can perform in champ’ship, so i take it a back four that leak goals and a midfield that get’s over run and can’t string 2 passes to-gether is ok then!!

    Why when we watch the opp team play do we sit there and think… why can’t we pass it around like they do, out played by derby, held on at watford, outplayed by swansea, outplayed by Barnsley!!

    I agree with other comments, due to last nights result will force the changes that were needed.

  • Benjamin Newsome

    Whack Somma upfront with Becchio. Naylor out and Bruce or Bromby in. Leave Bessone where he is, We need Kisnorbo back. Can anyone actually remember what Parker is like? I don’t really remember what kind of left back he is. Someone please shine the light to what were waiting for.

    Hopefully we can bounce back against Doncaster. I see Grella and Nunez have been whacking them in. Maybe give Nunez a try instead oh Johnson. Still thi9nk Grella would benefit a loan move until January, for his and the clubs sake.

  • trueyorxman

    @benjaminbunny (nice name, by the way!!). We should have left Bessone where he was…f**king Swansea!!

  • Rish

    I expect Simon to start McCormack ahead of Somma if he’s fit. One of them will surely start anyway. He’ll probably stick with Becchio. Gradel might stay but be put on the wing – where he is best suited and belongs. I think he’ll rotate between him and Watt from now. Sam stays as long as he’s healthy. Johnsone will be gone from midfield, he could be put on LB if Grayson has no faith in Hughes. Nunez (if fit) or Clayton could easily come in. I think he’s more liable to replace Collins with Bruce than take Naylor off. He definitely has no faith in Bromby. I don’t think he’ll risk Payntor or Snoddy starting them, but could put them on the bench. Same with Faye.

    • Dje

      @Rish

      I think he’ll play Faye against Doncaster, to mop up the threat of Coppinger. Nunez is more of an attacking midfielder and we have too many of them in midfield already!

      I’d prefer Watt back on the wing instead of Gradel. Gradel, IMHO, is an impact sub at best – when he can either finish off a team that we are already beating or when we have nothing else to lose (ie. we are losing). If it the score is all level then I’d prefer to see someone less reckless come off the bench – such as Somma, Sam, Watt or McCormack

  • Dje

    @benjaminbunny

    Parker was looking the a good prsopect at left-back by the time he got injured again. He was defensively well-organised and seemed to be learning from his past mistakes (he looked a bit naive when he first got a few outings with the first XI as a young lad). I’d have to say he is the defensive part of the perfect left-back, and a bit like that Dickinson lad we had in from Stoke.

    White, in comparison, is the perfect counter-attacking part of a left-back. Some say Bessone looks good going forward too, but I’m yet to really see it.

    If we could combine the two (Parker and White) and keep them fit then we’d have a great player (who’d know doubt get snapped up by a Premiership team!). Either that or we should have kept Danny Pugh, as he looked perfectly good for this level of football.

  • les irwin

    arnie was right when he said it had been coming it had, if swansea had a better strike force it would have been saturday and maybe at watford .the thing about most of our free players this season noone from their previous clubs were bothered when they left says it all really what we got was free and quality costs money . i like collins i think he will be alright but anyone who plays with naylor must be frightened to death we can all see it .alright paynter hasn’t struck a ball in anger and i like him, mccormack must be ripe for a start snodders cant be far off ,parker and kisnorbo too ,as other have said BECCHIO looks out of his depth ,has no pace and his passing needs to be practiced ,bessone well whats happened there ???
    i honestly can’t see what grayson sees in some of our players ,iam sure others are the same ,i honestly believe i could have picked a better starting 11 than he picked on saturday from our squad ,and listening to him on saturday he has no intentions of doing the loan meerkat ,for a lefty .im hoping amdy faye comes along and puts his foot in and a tackle ,bruce the same ,we are too old in defence and too lightweight in midfield .and too slow in attack at the moment based on who grayson is picking , it’s not rocket science really i would say that i could have picked a team to beat all ours that have played this season from the remainder of our squad
    i think connelly has done alright same with .sam ,somma ,howson? ,and kasper all the rest have been poor
    snodders .paynter ,mccormack ,parker.kisnorbo ,should all walk into that side aswell as bruce

  • Tim the White

    This has been coming since the start of the season and we have been less than convincing in the last two wins. When you bring players into the club on the cheap whose contracts have run down then that should tell you their present clubs don’t want them. We have a big squad in numbers but many are poor in quality and certainly not Championship players. I think we may have all underestimated the Championship compared with League 1.
    Naylor was discarded by Ipswich as not being good enough for the Championship and that was two years ago!
    Becchio failed at this level in Argentina and Spain – hussle and bustle but little end product.
    Bessone – an out of contract Swansea reject – Another Capaldi?
    Collins and Connelly – not wanted at Preston and Derby but the squad is thin in this area at the moment.
    Higgs – Good but certainly not Schmichel and dire distribution.
    Gradel – best as an impact player but not for 90 minutes. Barnsley tied him up in knots last night.
    Killkenny – Far too slow, doesn’t score and never sees the ‘killer’ ball.
    Howson – great coming forward if we have a stong holding midfielder like Amdy Faye. Can go missing in games though. Needs the resbonsibility of being Captain.
    Johnson – Gary McAllister sussed him out!
    Lloyd Sam – Is he a forward or a midfield player?
    NOT playing last night but now fit we have Snodgrass, Bruce, Bromby, Somma, Watt, White, Faye, Numez, Grella, Paynter and McCormack.
    Somma must get a start; he looked good when he came on last night and we have to believe that McCormack can give us something.
    My team for Friday would be – Higgs, Bruce, Collins, Connelly, Faye, Snodgrass, Howson, Somma, McCormack, Nunez and Bromby.
    On the bench to include – Grella, Becchio, Hughes, White, Watt and Gradel.
    Despite the rhetoric I suspect SG will make few changes for Doncaster, but I bet my side will be nearer the truth come Christmas.
    Once it sorts itself out I think we can be up there at the end of the season. However I return to that ridiculous remark by SG after the Watford game when asked why Somma did not play, and his reply – ‘it was not his kind of game’!! Well on that basis last nights game was definately not anybodies kind of game who played from kick off.

  • Max.

    Bessone was in the Championship team of the season last year so something is up. The new Swansea left back looked better than him on current form. I actually think there’s a problem in central midfield which is affecting the rest of the team; we’re massively vulnerable to counter-attacks. The high incidence of errors and, recently, own goals is associated with players getting caught on the wrong foot as they back off at speed from attacks coming out of the opponent’s midfield. Kilkenny and Howson wasn’t a viable midfield pairing in a slower League One, so how it’s going to work in the CCC is a mystery.

    • timm

      @Max. I saw Bessone a few times on Sky last season & he looked fantastic. The way he made the challenge & then made a great pass reminded me of Dorigo! I was really impressed when we signed him, but i have to say he’s been shocking since we signed him. He looks like he’s never played at left back in his life. We have a very dodgy back four & it’s not helped by a midfield that gives them no protection.New season, same problems.

    • Mark R

      Exactly Max.

      The midfield needs strength on the ball, creativity, and resolutness in defending the back 4. We have some sporadic creativity – but Killkenny, Howson & Johnson plus 1 other are not functioning as an effective midfield unit.

      MOT

  • Paul South Wales

    Agree with a lot of people who think last night’s hammering was needed, and has been coming for a while. Hopefully this will act as a wake up call. It’s worrying that we all see where changes are needed, but Grayson doesn’t seem to? The interesting comment was him saying he had players sat in the house who can do a better job (Robinson?). Looking forward to Friday now, change at centre half, maybe midfield and definitely up front. We still have the players in the squad to reach a ply-off place surely? MOT

  • All Credit to Barnsley they hammered a poor Leeds team that had neither the backbone nor cohesion we expect of them – Our two centre backs couldn’t catch a pair of dinner ladies if they got past them, but they were so exposed by our midfield it was untrue – I had to sit there last night with some popped up South Yorkshire twat shouting “its like watching Brazil”, in my ear, but Leeds made Barnsley look a site better than they were and i’m sure my Barnsley mates will dine out on the game for a couple of seasons to come, and good on em. When Somma came on it was like a breath of fresh air, He attacked their goal at every opportunity, showed he is clearly playing for his place, and got his just reward of a goal, more importantly at 5-2 down ran back with the ball to get the game going again when others – even my namesake Jonny Howson looked deadbeat ! – give the guy a go !

    We know its going to be a season of consolodation and there will be more results like this. But Leeds fans expect in return for their fantastic support a gutsy 90 minutes plus performance, from players donning the shirt – not give the ball away and throw in the towel when a couple of goals down –
    Bring on Donny and lets see a spirited – fighting team out there – win lose or draw – LEEDS LEEDS LEEDS.
    …. and for the fans what great support …eh SIMON !

  • Matt

    Im sick of people that blatantly haven’t seen a Leeds game in their life yet suddenly decide they can sum up the entire teams problem with one fell swoop. And all the Hughes lovers; he struggled in League One, i would rather see lamine sakho come back and have a go at left back.

    • timm

      @ Matt
      How do you know which ones haven’t seen a game? Can’t say i’ve seen any Hughes lovers on here either, but in his defence i would say that every game he played last season was in defence & we should remember he’s not a defender. So at least he should be praised for his willingness to play out of position. Who knows what he’d be like in midfield? But i bet he’d be no worse than the lumbering moaning Kilkenny or the woefully inconsistent Howson? I happen to think we have a dodgy back four, but you’d have to go back a long time to remember a Leeds midfield as poor as this one. Let’s hope Faye will improve things.

  • Christopher Gee

    I’ve tried to like Bessone. He wears the famous white shirt. Need to give him time as a new recruit. It’s a team game after all. But he just hasn’t shown the basic craft of a defender. He’s already had more minutes on the pitch under Grayson than Sheehan, who could at least hit the ball in the general direction intended, but who was shipped out. Or Hughes – who is also not the answer

    I could argue the case that Ian Harte’s weaknesses as a premiership standard left back contributed to our decline nearly 10 years ago. Watched him getting turned and outrun week in and week out. No solution found and manager sacked eventually. I hope SG doesn’t suffer the same fate.

  • trueyorxman

    @matt. I think you’ll find most people commenting on this site have been to quite a few Leeds games in their time & most are in agreement, last night was coming (better sooner than later) & it’s time for some tough, but much needed, decision making by ‘Larry’. Although I do agree with you regarding Hughesy, it’s time to move on from certain players who struggled to get us out of League 1 (we all know who they are)

  • Hugh Fox

    lets not get to down beat, yes yesterday was a big kick in the teeth but i think we can regroup and get a result at donny. For me bessone is not good enough bt i trust SG and he must be seeing something in training that were nt seeing on the pitch. I saw ben parker outside the ground on saturday and he said hes nearing fitness again.

  • richard

    Embarissing performance but youve all said the usual suspects we need in on friday.

    Keep smiling cos we support Leeds United.

  • les irwin

    bessone is either homesick or sick of our midfield leaving him exposed every time .howson as some one said should be captain he was fantastic last season when he was and it was our best form in 2 seasons ,johnson .killkenny ,naylor becchio should be dropped for others ,we have clayton .bruce,faye somma.snodders,mcormack.paynter who can come in and nunez ,im actually hoping my grandmother turns up at thorp arch cos i aint kidding she is faster ,and a better player than naylor ,sorry en all that hughes got a contract but was never gonna play this season .grayson will have this season as a grace season next season will be different bates will want to push on and might spend a few quid next season to be honest i wouldn’t trust grayson with money at the moment ,
    just going back to bessone i think its too easy to blame him as someone said he was in champ team of season last year .he dare not go forward cos he knows naylor and collins have no pace i know its also early but does connelly go past half way line he necer bobs forward

  • lar

    could it get worse,give the leeds about 15 games and if its the same way well then we will be fighting to stay in this league.the sad facts are we are continuing from last season in which we had a bad second half from january.you just cant have quality players on the cheap and on the free.but early days..just never thought simon grayson was a good judge of talent.well friday is the next game…leeeeeeddddddddsssss.

  • Whitesforever

    larry is a good judge of talent look at the Blackpool team that got promoted eight of the first team regulars are what he brought in when manager

  • Dazzler17

    “number1inyorkshire” If she does turn up at the training ground can you get her to sign my shirt? Given I have Bessone on the back of mine, I’m sick of the kids at school throwing rocks at me, and hurling abuse.like “Bessone be gone ay”

    • les irwin

      i have news dazzler17 she won’t be coming as she was a free she has joined mourhinio at madrid .he noted her speed and passing ability and the precise ,incisive tackling and realised she would be wasted at leeds and didn’t think grayson would pick her ,she might aswell go there she has a free bus pass.cant do owt about your shirt £1.50 a letter wow what a waste of dosh

    • les irwin

      forgot to say about the kids throwing stones at you ,your the headteacher put em in detention lol

  • I don’t see where Matts coming from. I think the passion of most fans on this site is obvious to see, and lets be fair we could all pick a better England team than Fabio – and whats the odds on two being alike ? We now have a large squad, I reckon Larry is a good judge, and its my privilage to say so, and he spent nothing to get us up, and next to nothing to try and keep us up. Millions will be spent elsewhere in this league to try and do the same. I honestly believe the squad is too good to go down again, but we need 100 % effort, which is not always there. I agree when Howson was the captain last season we had a good run . But how can you promote him to captain after his second half at Barnsley ? He gave the ball away too often and his body language at 3-1 down was not what we expect of a bloody good player.. Hardly leadership qualities ! Larry will get it right and I reckon at some stage we will get a good run. As for Harte, yes, not a great full back, But look at Carlisle last year – 20 goals from a full back ? and were worrying how to replace Beckford ? not for us, but be fair to the guy. If Ben is nearing a return, thats great news,lets hope he comes back in good shape. With Snoddy and Painter too Larry has the options..

    LEEDS LEEDS LEEDS.

  • Bill Fox

    Judging from the bulk of the comments above the predictions for Friday will be somewhat interesting and certainly more mixed than we have seen so far.

  • Matt BB

    for my two penneth, i bet we will see Bruce replace Naylor, dressed up as an injury, Bromby come in at left back – and do a job, and Faye replace Kilkenny. Finally Becchio replaced with Paynter and Gradel with Snodgrass. also expect to see Andy Robinson on the bench.

  • Charlie Big Potatoes

    Yes the manner of the defeat was disappointing but we do need to get some perspective for gods (Radebe’s) sake!

    A lot of us are still expecting to roll teams over as if we were still in League 1, something we even struggled to do last season, and then there’s mass hysteria and surprise when we don’t or get beat.

    The fact is we have a mid table team (that is likely only to get better when players come back) and as far as early form shows they’re pumping out mid table performances (W3,1D,2L), why so shocked?! Personally I’d be satisfied with a mid table finish with the current squad looking to consolidate for a push next year.

    We have to realign our expectations and temper our reactions to defeat. Granted the style of defeat was unacceptable but we’ve gone from celebrating promotion to fearing relegation within the space of two friggin weeks?!

    • Thats it in a nutshell charlie – results are overall as we expected, a mid table finish would be good, But its the manner we play the game that is sometimes missing, Leeds teams don’t roll over and give up..

  • timm

    Spot on Dave, it’s not the fact that we lost, it’s the manner in which we lost. I’m sure Grayson will look at it like that too.

  • md

    There ia a lot of quality in squad, just not too much defensively.

    SG and fans at heart expect a push for a play-off spot or even automatic promotion, but with the current back 4 and lack of dm this is unlikely.

  • Fighting spirit is more than half the battle eh Timm – I am
    so pi–ed off when you come away from a game where the players don’t show Yorkshire grit and determination..
    especially when we KNOW they can do it..!