Two stunning saves from Kasper Schmeichel were all that saved Leeds United from a humiliating half-time scoreline at the KC Stadium as Leeds’ defence showed little sign of improvement.

The first half started evenly enough, but Hull gradually started to dominate and when Matt Fryatt was put through in the box, the outcome was inevitable, leaving everyone in the away end pointing fingers at the defence. The ease with which Fryatt shook off his marker and fired in must be giving Simon Grayson nightmares.

Things went from bad to worse for Leeds United, and once again they had no one but themselves to blame. With the defence busy doing their best statue impressions, Jamie Chester had a leisurely stroll through the box to head in from a corner. 2-0.

“Who the f**k are Leeds United?” they asked.

The answer to what I suspect was a rhetorical question came four minutes later when Robert Snodgrass struck an unstoppable free-kick beyond Hull City’s keeper. 2-1

The half-time break was one of mixed emotions for the travelling fans who were grateful Snoddy’s free-kick had reduced the deficit to just one goal, but depressed at the shoddy defending that had led to the two goals we conceded.

In fairness to Hull, the lead was nothing less than they deserved. However, their failure to capitalise on Leeds’ woeful defending and an array of first half chances that should have seen them home and dry by the interval would ultimately cost them.

Ten minutes into the second half and a long throw into the box bounced free to Davide Somma, whose shot came off the bar and bounced over the line before the Hull defence tried to pretend they didn’t see it and Robert Snodgrass made the net bulge for good measure. Snoddy did his best to claim the goal but it was quite rightly awarded to Davide Somma which brings his total for the season into double figures.

“Two nil, and you f**ked it up…”

Both teams will feel they had opportunities to win the game in the second half, but the tie remained deadlocked at 2-2 meaning Leeds have now drawn 8 of their last 14 Championship games.

Our generosity in insisting other teams have a head start before we start knocking goals in is starting to drive me mental. 8 draws from the last 14 games, whilst not technically a blip, is also a bit of a concern as we head towards the most crucial stage of the season.

It’s easy to bore everyone with the tired ‘lack of ambition’ comments that the close of the transfer window has brought in abundance, but individuals aren’t going to make a difference to Leeds United’s defensive frailties. On paper, we have one of the best defences in the Championship, but they’re struggling to cope with the style of play we’ve adopted this season.

We can state the obvious and repeat the cries for a defensive midfielder too, but they’re hardly growing on trees around Elland Road and the one Simon Grayson did have lined up (Michael Johnson) was denied a loan move on the final day as Manchester City decided it was too risky letting him kick a ball around a field.

To look at things more positively, derby games are always a potential banana skin for any team so it’s probably a little harsh to judge our current situation on this particular result. We’re still proving very difficult to beat, and the never-say-die attitude keeps clawing us back points from situations where most teams would have thrown in the towel.

On and on…

  • tim campbell

    Wasn’t at the game but it sounded like great entertainment. By all reports we had our fair share of chances – but a draw away at an improving Hull side is not a bad result. The only downside from last night was all our main promotion rivals won!

  • Christopher Gee

    Disappointing performance but expected the worst when Fryatt scored and a point away from home is probably a fair return. Its as much as QPR got on Saturday in the same fixture.

  • Gryff

    No comment on Lloyd Sam and the 10 minutes of stoppage time?

    I do wonder sometimes with Larry.

    One day it’s “I don’t want to unsettle my current squad”
    The next it’s “I did have a few LOAN signings lined up, honest!”

    Funny, I would have thought that the temporary signing of a third (and maybe fourth) player would result in a much less settled squad as the lad is not going to be here come August. Speaking of which, if we don’t get a defensive midfielder, or indeed midfielder of any kind who can play centrally, our 3 natural central midfielders (4 if you count the winger, BJ) will become 1 (2) natural central midfielder in the Summer unless Grayson pulls his finger out. Such a large-scale change in personel in the centre would unsettle the team massively.

    • TSS

      Just realised what you meant by Lloyd Sam. Can’t believe he’s being accused of anything by Pearson, you see much worse tackles every week.

  • TSS

    @gryff

    Bit of a rushed job mate to be honest with you. Had about two hours sleep and my energy levels were at an all-time low writing the above.

    Sam was excellent. Sounds daft considering Gradel’s current form, but I’m starting to think Sam may be the better option solely because he gets back down the line to help the defence. Gradel does too to be fair, but he’s a little ineffective.

    As for the 10 mins of stoppage time, it pales in comparison to Pompey. Their player looked in a bad way though.

  • Dje

    I’m curious to know if he changed the formation at all during the game, @TSS. He started with a now unorthodox (for us) 4-4-2; and whilst a treat for Somma who duly returned the favour in the second half with a goal, we quickly threw two goals away prior to that. Did we change the formation in the second half?

    As we have been playing a cagey 4-2-3-1 recently, I just wondered whether Grayson felt he got his fingers burnt by going for the 4-4-2 (I think we did the same down at Southampton, and that backfired too).

    It was a brave move, in one regard, but away at an in-form local rival might not have been the best place to re-employ that formation as, say, at home.

    • TSS

      @djedjedje

      There was some debate over whether it was actually a 4-4-2 or not. Somma played a lot deeper than Becchio for the most part, getting himself stuck in and grafting away and was also out wide a fair bit too.

      It may have been a 4-4-2, but if it was, Somma was given license to roam as the only player playing the orthodox striker position was Luci (who, incidentally was fairly quiet).

  • Gryff

    Against Arsenal Somma seemed to drop off Gradel’s shoulder quite naturally. It didn’t really work as Max is the size of a munchkin. Perhaps Grayson’s holding his hands up to Davide’s natural tendencies and telling him to always stay a little deeper?

    I agree on Sam. Though Gradel on his day can be excellent. He (Sam) was knocking them in for fun earlier, and definitely seems more physical than Gradel.

  • Ron

    I’m happy Somma started and can’t be left out the way he is scoring. Our defence is ordinary and once again we have lost points in the race. I sincerely hope Grayson has at least one defender lined up to bring in on loan. I’m not holding my breath in midfield as we have Killa and Nunez returning, and we didn’t lose Johnson.

    @gryff completely agree on Sam and I thought he should have come on for Gradel yesterday (despite a good showing) and McCormack on for Somma. We’ve paid good money for McCormack and he only gets 4 minutes? Grayson has to roll the dice with this guy and start giving him a chance.

    I’m doing my best to stay positive, but draws don’t get you promoted. Granted at halfway Leeds have pleasantly surprised us all by our position, but this counts for nothing come May. We are in the hunt and must push on. Roll on the loan window.

  • Bill

    Yep, draws don’t get you promoted. The trouble is in their own right some of the draws have been decent results but add them altogether and the picture is’t bright enough. But like many, I am delighted at where we are and as I have said before, cannot remember many better seasons to have been watching than this one.

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