Somma back in the goals

For Scunthorpe fans, Leeds United wouldn’t have been a fixture they were looking forward to with much optimism. Not since 1962 had Scunthorpe beaten Leeds United in the league, and whilst their impressive away form was disguised behind their relegation position in the Championship, Scunthorpe are a team for whom relegation is almost an inevitability.

Still on a high from their impressive display at the Emirates, the Leeds United players had to put the FA Cup replay to the back of their minds and concentrate on the infinitely more important task of staying in the Premier League promotion race.

A down-turn in form had followed the win at Old Trafford last year, which many would suggest was down to the Leeds United players taking their eye off the bigger picture. Learning from the mistakes of 2009-10, Leeds showed no signs of a FA Cup hangover this time round though, casting Scunthorpe aside with almost embarrassing ease and efficiency.

The 4-0 scoreline is perhaps a little misleading however. This wasn’t an epic, fast-paced attacking battle but more of a relaxed stroll to the finish line with very few moments Scunthorpe fans will won’t to remember.

After a slow opening 15, the first goal came from nothing as Sanchez Watt shook off his marker on the edge of the box and fired home his first goal for Leeds United. His goal was quickly followed by a second as Robert Snodgrass picked out Max Gradel, who cheekily dummied the keeper before passing the ball in to an open net. 2-0, and Mad Max’s confidence levels continue to inflate.

The game once again went a little flat, but within 10 minutes Leeds had extended their lead further with Bradley Johnson firing home a shot that would probably have landed on the M621 a couple of months ago. Robert Snodgrass was once again the man causing problems in and around the box, and it was his efforts that created the opening for Johnson who only had one thing in mind. 3-0.

Maybe the word is ‘patience’ from Leeds. It had basically been three chances, and three goals sandwiched between a lot of slow and uninspiring football. Still, half-time and Leeds were already 3-0 up so no one was complaining.

Seeing an opportunity to get him a goal and help lift his confidence, Simon Grayson brought Billy Paynter on at half-time and gave the relatively quiet Luciano Becchio a much needed rest. Paynter quickly started to put himself about and try to create chances, but the points were already in the bag for Leeds and it seemed as though we were just running the clock down at times.

Twenty or so minutes of the second half had passed by when Ross McCormack was introduced and Robert Snodgrass rested. An excellent performance from Snoddy once again who was involved in every goal.

As the Leeds fans and players continued to watch the minutes tick away, Scunthorpe reminded us they were here when substitute Jonathan Forte struck Kasper Schmeichel’s post.

After the wake-up call from Scunthorpe, Simon Grayson made his final substitution bringing on Davide Somma in place of Sanchez Watt.

The game remained a bit flat and effortless, but Leeds did manage to add a fourth with just a minute remaining. Max Gradel played in Davide Somma who showed McCormack and Paynter how it’s done by smashing home another great goal for Leeds. 4-0.

Ups and downs v Scunthorpe

Clean sheet – A rare achievement for Leeds United this season, but Scunthorpe did very little to threaten us.

Paynter – Massively frustrating to watch yesterday. Every fan in Elland Road was hoping he’d get his first, but his desperation to do so made him wasteful. Very unfortunate to see a certain goal cleared off the line by his own player.

Efficient – At half time we were hoping for 5-6, but Leeds never really got out of third gear. What we did do however was control and dominate, limiting Scunthorpe’s chances and ultimately increasing our poor goal difference by four.

Johnson – It’s annoying how consistently brilliant he’s become since being transfer listed by Leeds. My tweet during the game that “Paynter is becoming the Johnson, whilst Johnson has become the new Matteo” pretty much sums things up.

Mad Max – Brimming with confidence at the minute, which was highlighted by the manner in which he scored. Max can be massively frustrating or jaw-droppingly brilliant – luckily, we’re seeing more of his brilliance lately.

The fans – It was nice to see 25,000 fans still turned up for the league game, with the added expense of an FA Cup tie against Arsenal this week – “Thankyou for your fantastic support…”

TSS man of the match

Struggling to pick an individual this week, so I’ve narrowed it down to who I thought were the four stand-out players and opened a poll below.

Should McDermott be fired?

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  • Dje

    Grayson was saying that they brought Becchio off at halftime because he had a back injury, so Paynter’s full second half might have been more lucky opportunity than a response to our total domination and killing off the match in the first half (or more pressure on him, depending on how you read Paynter and time spent in Leeds’ shirt a the moment).

    Or Grayson is just trying out some mind-games with Wenger for size, and Becchio is actually perfectly fine?!

  • Ron

    This game was a genuine banana peel after the FA cup result and I am just glad we tucked away our chances and took the points. Although I’d love to see Paytner score, I ‘d rather McCormack go on a hot streak as we paid a decent whack for him. Looking forward to Wednesday and hopefully a signing or two by the weekend. Thanks for the report.

  • Howard Bartle

    A Good report of the game any one of the 4 players named in the pole could get man of the match Mad Max took his goal really well as did Somma, but I am going for Johnson seeing as I have slagged him off plenty in the past, yesterday he played really well.

  • paulg

    Just as I thought some of the early season criticism of Johnson was OTT, I think you have to give Paynter a break. He got injured in pre-season, came back just as a settled side was starting a 12 game unbeaten run, and as a result he’s only started 2 games. He would have scored yesterday if Somma hadn’t got in his way! Please, let’s not write him off before he’s at least had a fair crack of the whip ……

  • Paul South Wales

    Totally agree with the Paynter comments, I think he’ll come good, after all, Beckford is only now starting to get some goals. I think when he (and mcCormack) break their ducks they’ll be a different proposition. After all Paynter scored as many goals as Becks in league one and knows where the back of the net is. MOT

  • trueyorxman

    ‘nice to see 25’000 with the added expense of the FA Cup tie’…excuse me but what added expense for the 10-12’000 who weren’t there yesterday, f**king glory hunting part-timers who’ll be back next season IF we go up (I say IF because just look how tight the league is…other teams with games in hand, Watford/Forest & others starting to show some form, Reading/Hull).

  • Jim Barnett

    I didn’t go yesterday but from all accounts, Paynter’s hold-up play was excellent? If Becchio is unfit for Wednesday, I would start with Paynter because it appears that his game suits the 4-5-1 formation better. This is not taking anything away from Somma – his goalscoring record this year has been phenomenal considering the amount of minutes he’s played…I just think his game is more about hitting the channels and getting on the end of through balls, which would be more suited to a 4-4-2.

  • Colin

    @trueyorxman ” f**king glory hunting part-timers who’ll be back next season IF we go up”

    So you expect fans to spend good money in this financial climate to watch the likes of Scunthorpe?

    Entertainment is where it’s at. If George Michael or Elton John turn up at my local theatre, I’ll buy a ticket. But if Joe McEldrey is charging the same for a ticket, then I shouldn’t be expected to turn up just because it’s my local theatre.

    Try this scenario out – I’ve got limited income, I’m low on cash. Do I buy a ticket for Scunthorpe or Arsenal? Hmmm, let me think about that. No actually, don’t. Arsenal every time.

    • TheReaper08

      @colin I am 170 miles away and have a 8 month old son. I used to work Saturdays which prevented me from going as much as I like and now I have my boy to look after. I totally echo your comments.

      I still go when I can (at least twice a season) and this is usually led by my availabilty NOT who we are playing. That said if the opportunity presented itself to go to a glamour game I would pull out the stops as it’s my treat to go.

      Last game I went to I drove by myself there and back (350 miles), rounding the corner coming home I drove my 3 day old company BMW into the back of my partners VW, I was knackered and she was not amused. The point is it’s not easy for some people and I resent this class system based on attendance.

  • saltburnwhite

    well said colin! i have 3 kids , a wife , a business to keep me and my time and wallet busy , i love leeds united to the core , just ask the missus who is driven mad by my constant obsession with leeds……..im proud to say i think about leeds more than sex!…well its close ! so i get to the odd match here and there with my kid and missus . im leeds and proud and i dont need to be at every game to know I love my club!

  • Tim Campbell

    I read reports that Sanchez Watt had not ruled out the possibility of wanting to join us on a permanent basis. Again I don’t know if this is just good PR from sanchez or whether or not it would be financially viable

    • stotty

      If we go up Sanchez won’t be going back to Arsenal, I am sure of that!

  • trueyorxman

    @Colin. Since when do you got to a game to watch the opposition. I was at Elland Road Saturady supporting Leeds, I couldn’t give a flying f**k about Scunny. You’ve shown your true colours there son

  • trueyorxman

    & if you’re so low on cash Scunny cost £22 to get in, the ‘glory hunters’ game is £30+. Why do think Bates bangs the prices up, cos he knows people like you (who want to watch Arsenal!) will pay it

  • Matt BB

    @trueyorxman Bit stiff that isnt it? money only goes so far and some simple maths £22 and £30 makes £52, so still cheaper to just go to the arsenal game than both. And getting to a midweek game is arguably a sign of true dedication, leaving work at 5ish from Brum (where I am) gets you into leeds at 7 and then home again around 11-12pm.

    I wouldnt consider myself a `fairweather’ fan, but as I dont live in Leeds anymore the bottomless pit of money that bates would like us all to dip into just isnt there.

    Positively, looks like we’re in for a rare old treat on Wednesday night, and not wishing to wind anyone up, glad to see it on TV…! fiar play, a nice old chunk of cash for some squad building.

  • trueyorxman

    I understand the money isn’t there, I’m on the same (sinking) ship as everyone else, but Colins pretty much said he’s off to the Cup game as we are playing Arsenal!! I went Sat & paid £32 for myself & the bairn, Wed would cost me in excess of £60, you do the maths but I think I’m the one using my brain. We saw 4 goals, should have been 10, whereas we could be 2 down after 15mins v Arsenal & all the part timers will be wondering why they paid all that money to see Leeds get beat. Oh no sorry….they’ll be to busy creaming themselves watching the Gooners!

  • Matt BB

    @trueyorxman I do agree with your sentiments around watching leeds first then the oppo second, but i hope you agree that we’re all leeds fans at the end of the day?

    I think you might be as surprised as Arsene Wenger on Wednesday, I think we might give the gunners a shock. And for my part i have to confess I have missed watching leeds playing at their true level, namely versus the top teams, this is simply a case of wistfully looking upon the promised land – do I want Leeds to go up? Yes – Do I want to see Elland Road graced with opposition worthy of our club? Yes – Was i embarassed to see us turning up at places like Yeovil, Hartlepool, Brentford, yes i was – guilty as charged.

    I’m a realist, when we earn the right to play the Spurs, Liverpools, Man Citys and so on of this world then thats reality, but I will keep praying and hoping for the day when we can leave the lower leagues behind us – and putting my hand in my pocket when I can!

  • Bill

    I’m lucky and through decent job with some flex (and very understanding ‘Mrs Crash’!!) myself and son go to all homes and a few aways from Durham area (round trip to ER approx 160) BUT… heaven knows what the pricing will be whenever IT (the p word) happens in the PL!! Almost feel press ganged by that fear to renew early and take the ‘discount’ which is a feeling I don’t like.

    All a little rough in current climate to be yelling at each other on the ‘game count’ anyway in my view. We are (all) LEEDS surely.

  • Colin

    @trueyorxman I’m not going to the Arsenal game but if I had a choice over that and Scunthorpe, I’d choose Arsenal. I live 220miles from Leeds so the only chance I get to see Leeds is at Xmas, when I’m with my family, who are still based in West Yorks and when they play nearby.
    My point is that I don’t think fans should be classed as fickle or glory hunters if they previously didn’t turn up and then start turning up when Leeds are playing top flight football against good teams. If Man Utd or Newcastle or whoever, were in the Champ or League 1, then they wouldn’t get the same number of fans either.

    I think it’s just that some fans want to see the best teams and they have a choice to make on what they spend their money on. I think it’s great you go to all the games and I think it’s because you get value and entertainment out of it. But I think a lot of fans will wait until Leeds reach the promised land before they can argue the case for shelling out a season ticket.

    I do my bit – I listen to LUTV and I go down the pub to see the televised games – that’s the best I can do at the moment.

    And you’ll be pleased to hear that as someone who now lives down south, that when I do go the pub with my mates and I’m watching a game with my Leeds shirt on, I do get a few funny looks at first, but I get nothing but respect. And I’m not alone, there’s not many, but there’s other Leeds fans in there too.

    And before you know it, you can hear the locals in the background, predominantly West Ham or Chelsea saying “Go on Leeds”. And every time the conversation with the locals is the same, they say “it’s a bloody disgrace, Leeds should be in the Premier League, they don’t belong in this league.”

    • TheReaper08

      @colin Where abouts are you based ?

      • Colin

        Chelmsford, Essex.

  • trueyorxman

    @Colin. I think its fair to say I’m certainly not having a dig at fans who live hundreds of miles from Leeds. Its just that ever since the game at the Emirates I’ve had people coming upto me telling me they are going to the replay when I know for a fact that haven’t mentioned Leeds to me all season. It just bugs me a bit (can you tell?!). Anyway gripe over…MOT.

  • TheReaper08

    @trueyorxman I understand what you are saying. I was only talking yesterday to friends who are moving back to Leeds from Swindon (where I live), I said if I lived in Leeds I would be at every home game and probably a lot of away games. The problem I have is not only with time and money but actually having someone to go with.

    Whislt I love the club it’s kind of depressing doing a round trip of 350 miles by yourself.

  • Bill

    @colin

    A few years back I watched the odd game in a pub near the train station in Chelmsford when work took me down there from time to time (The Station?). Entered pub up a few steps and 2/3 big screens, used to show a lot of rugby too. Good nights.

  • Tim Campbell

    Its worse again when you live in northern ireland and attending ANY game of the mighty leeds is a real treat. They were over here on pre-season last year and me and the lads from the hospital I work in went along to see them beat Glentoran. As the vast majority of those who work in the hospital are manc supporters it was particularily satisfying slaying them at Old Trafford lol