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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