Luciano Becchio

Becchio's strike killed the Swans

Fans’ hopes were mixed before the start of the game against Swansea City at Elland Road. There was no doubt it would be a winnable game especially against a Swansea side with a less than impressive away record, however familiar doubts and anxieties lingered in the minds of many Leeds fans.

Their hopes weren’t helped by the news that Kasper Schmeichel had sustained a foot injury and Blackburn reserve ‘keeper Jason Brown had been signed on a month long loan deal as cover for Shane Higgs. Brown’s appearances for Blackburn have been limited as he has played understudy for Brad Friedel and former Leeds ‘keeper Paul Robinson.

Other team news included Simon Grayson opting to keep faith with Richard Naylor after his goal at Watford while Max Gradel came in for Lloyd Sam who dropped to the bench. There were still no starts for Ross McCormack or Davide Somma.

Simon Grayson’s faith in Richard Naylor will have been tested early on as he misjudged the flight of a long ball, ending up on his backside, while allowing Stephen Dobbie through one on one with Shane Higgs. The Swansea man finished clinically, putting the ball into the far bottom corner. Leeds had conceded within the first fifteen minutes again, a trend which is almost becoming worryingly familiar.

Leeds did get back into the game, enjoying possession and creating some chances. Neill Collins had a header blocked while later on Bradley Johnson smashed a long shot against the crossbar. All throughout the first half Shane Higgs was called upon to be alert and denied shots by Nathan Dyer and Stephen Dobbie.

In the second half Leeds were able to soak up some early Swansea pressure before the equaliser came ten minutes in. A cross from the impressive Max Gradel was met by Naylor’s head but the attempt was kept out by Swans ‘keeper De Vries, Johnson was on hand though with an instinctive shot that almost took the back of the net off.

Leeds took the lead soon after in an equally scrappy manner. Gradel, this time on the left, cut into the box before laying the ball back to Lloyd Sam (who had replaced Watt). Sam saw his shot parried, Kilkenny’s rebound deflected off Jonny Howson but Becchio was on hand to smash home from six yards.

Becchio’s goal had certainly raised the temperature inside Elland Road and emotions began to run even higher when Becchio chased down a loose ball only to clatter, seemingly two footed, into the Swansea goalkeeper. There was no doubt it was a silly challenge by the Leeds forward but De Vries showed his frustration, in a amusingly child-like way, by throwing the ball at Becchio’s head as they both sat on the ground. The Swansea players certainly didn’t see the funny side and were quick to make their feelings known to the Leeds goalscorer.

Swansea put Leeds under some late pressure but Leeds defended well. The late introductions of McCormack and Somma were unable to strengthen the lead but it was a good turn around and fans will be happy to see that the squad has some fighting spirit and are able to get points after going behind.

Leeds have now won three games in a row and collected ten points from a possible fifteen. Simon Grayson’s men will be hoping to continue this impressive start against Barnsley on Tuesday.

  • Remis (South Africa)

    Good result on the weekend, hopefully Somma gets a start tomorrow or Friday. Think he is on form and it would be nice for him to get some goals!!!

  • Paul O’Shea

    Terrible first half, shocking, although Swansea are a good fotballing side. Watt was atrocious, and i don’t think he’ll be playing Tuesday. Didn’t understand how Sam was dropped, he really made a difference. Gradel although too greedy sometimes put in a good shift. Naylor was unlucky to fall, and lacks pace which will be highlighted in this division. Becchio although he scored and worked tirelessly seems to struggle at this level. Paynter wil be with McCormack when fit. It was good

    • Dje

      @Paul O’Shea

      I think Sam started on the bench because he took a knock the other week against Millwall. Sam is much more the polished player than Gradel is the rough diamond that sometimes sparkles, but sometimes cuts against the grain with the wrong decision and over-excitement. Good to have the choice of players though.

  • Paul O’Shea

    to see us win even though we didn’t play well

  • les irwin

    swansea reminded me of leeds under mcallister ,movement ,nice passing .plenty of the pitch being covered no goals ,alright they scored a goal but that was not for the first time down to naylor ,balls in it up at the back .time to drop him and play bruce ,soz naylor an all that but your crap ,connelly was ok bessone ?? jury still out but a ropes being ordered . i have to say i was disappointed with his starting 11 ,watt looked out of sorts and off the pace gradel was fantastic although some of his crossing was wayward .the lack of pace from becchio is frightening ,i bet he teams up with naylor in sprint sessions in training ,the difference was sam when he came on and gradel going up front with some pace ,although mcormack looks quite pacey ,having said all that we won and to be fair it was grayson changing it that brought about that ,though he clearly has some favourites of which naylor is one i know he is captain but he cant play him cos he is his mate ,howson should be captain and bruce should be playing ,higgs did ok , infact better than that ,but schmeicels distribution and use of box is far better ,
    its a big week i’ll take 3/4 points from this weeks games

  • Old Billy White

    Good result, hard fought for 3 points. Just an observation on the defenses, I noticed how often their keeper passed or rolled the ball to his defenders, (who all looked comfortable on the ball) Higgs however had to kick long almost every time. I don’t blame him, as my heart is often in my mouth when Collins or Naylor have the ball at their feet. It means we gave the ball away quite a lot, and then have to fight to get it back. I think we took 3 points from a good footballing team, who many teams will find hard to beat.

  • Craig

    Can anyone help me – I’m in Leeds on Friday-Saturday but am unable to get to Doncaster for the game. I’m staying at the City Inn near the station. Can anyone tell me where the nearest pub is that will be showing the game on Sky?

    • Ryan H

      Should be on in Spencers mate, next to Scarborough taps.

      • Craig

        @Ryan H

        Thanks.

  • trueyorxman

    Craig, good luck finding A PUB in the middle of LEEDS CITY CENTRE which might be showing the game live!! I’d be fretting all week if I had the same predicament

    • Craig

      @trueyorxman

      :)

      I had a feeling it might be a daft question but, although I’ve been a supporter of Leeds since 1970 and see them at home and away whenever I can, I’m not from Leeds and don’t know the city at all, arriving at Elland Road from the south and leaving the same way.

  • Matt BB

    A real game of two halves, I thought we were abysmal in the first, and pretty fgood in the second, but how many more times can we get away with that?

    I thought Naylor was once again heavily exposed, on this occasion by onnolly who was nowhere to be seen trying to cover a difficult ball (coming out of the sun) thats a lot down to an intelligent pass from midfield, and something we were guilty of all over the field – bad marking.
    The pass should have been snaffled by Kilkenny Howson et al.
    Lets not take that away from Swansea.

    Watt seemed to be really lethargic and him being taken off was warranted.

    The second half though far better was still not perfect and a tone point I saw Howson get possesion and Kilkenny standing 4 yards away refusing to move forward to take the ball from him, remonstrating that Howson should pass it all the way back to half way, our communication seemed appalling.

    Some work to be done but I thought when we got our first goal we did turn the screw well on Swansea and they just collapsed, we need to do that from the start. The icing on the cake being bringing on Somma, MccCormack and Sam, and Sawnsea folding.

  • richard

    A good gritty performance and 3pts but we cant keep doing it, room for improvement methinks.

  • trueyorxman

    craig, fair enough pal. Let’s hope we get another 3pts wherever you’re watching! MOT

  • Paul South Wales

    We were lucky Swansea didn’t have any real clinical finishers or it could have been all over at half time. If we play like that against Cardiff we’ll get twated. We made the big mistake of stopping at the same services on the way home as the Jacks and it started to get a bit edgey although we live only 40 mins from the daft twats. We need to come out of the blocks so much faster like we can do or we’ll be on the end of a few bollockings soon enough. Anyway on a brighter note Paynter and Snods are close to a come back, so onwards and upwards. Becchio to Celtic and Beckford back on loan here we go.

  • les irwin

    i know its early in the season for leeds and beckford but god how we miss his pace although at the minuite not his goals .i think as someone has already said i think our 2 in the long term will be paynter and mccormack .i honestly sadly don’t think becchio will sign again and if not will be gone in jan to avoid him going for nowt which is fair enough. ehh we are doing alright .im off to put some dosh on strachan and (job done) davies getting some gardening leave

    • Colin

      @number1inyorkshire

      I agree. The other thing with Beckford is that he had the habit of getting the winning goal in scrappy games when all the goals from other players dried up.

      Maybe SG could make a call to David Moyes in January and enquire about the availability of one of his subs benchwarmers as a loan signing for Leeds – I’ve got a funny feeling Jermaine Beckford could do a job for Leeds :) and you know what, as each Everton game goes on and Beckford stays on that bench, the chances of a JB return increases.

      I admit the chances are slim but if he isn’t getting played then maybe?????