A bore draw was the last thing anybody had in mind ahead of this game, and with other results favouring a Leeds United promotion push, the final scoreline was a frustrating one for The Whites.

Ipswich set up shop in a professional manner that gave Leeds little room to operate and allowed the visitors to control play early doors.

Leeds United did have their chances to take the lead, the most notable of which came from Max Gradel and Billy Paynter but the break never came and for a fanbase that have grown accustomed to several goals per game, this was difficult viewing.

The problem was that Simon Grayson’s unchanged side struggled to overcome a determined Ipswich outfit who dug deep and afforded The Whites few opportunities. Closing down quickly in midfield and retaining possession well, Ipswich were in no mood to roll over and let Leeds charge towards the automatic places.

There were moments of controversy when the referee failed to punish an Ipswich Town back-pass and for some of the soft free-kicks he gave to the visitors, but overall, Leeds struggled to create the amount of chances they usually would and a goalless draw is reflective of the way Ipswich contained a usually rampant and free-scoring Leeds United.

Simon Grayson will likely take heavy criticism for sticking with Billy Paynter over Luciano Becchio and likewise for his decision not to start Barry Bannan. But the performances of those on the pitch wasn’t really the problem, Paul Jewell’s tactics simply didn’t allow us to carve out the sheer quantity of chances we usually would.

On a more positive note, none of our promotion contenders managed to capitalise today and Swansea’s defeat away to Derby means we’ve actually closed the gap further. With Cardiff and Norwich both at home over the next few days however, the gap to the automatic places is likely to be five points by the time we play Sheffield United next week.

Frustrating is the only word to sum up today’s game. Leeds had the opportunity to move level on points with Swansea, but a resilient Ipswich side blocked our path. With nine games to go, the league remains as unpredictable as it was on opening day. Leeds certainly aren’t out of the race, but a win today would have made things a hell of a lot easier.

TSS man of the match

I’m going to say Eric Lichaj in what could have been his final game for the club. I thought he tackled and closed down well throughout and was also one of our main threats going forward. Max Gradel also had a good game, but quietened a little in the second half.

Matchday live

Just want to say thanks to Dan for providing the new Matchday Live updates for us today, and to everyone who joined him here on The Scratching Shed. The statistics show just short of 800 readers for the consoles first outing, which is a very good start for the new service, especially when you consider it was a home game with more in attendance than there will be next week.

It’s early days for the service and we’re working on a trial and error basis so if anyone who joined us today wants to offer any suggestions, please feel free to do so. Dan’s main concern was that it was a little difficult at times to provide all the updates himself, so we’ll be sure to add a second commentator before the Sheffield United game.

Picture courtesy of MAMF. See more from Leeds v Ipswich here.

  • Mike

    I think you are wrong TSS.
    I think today was the day Larry handed second place to Norwich who’s manager will not let the chance slip by.
    Hope I am wrong but cant see it.

  • Henry

    Fantastic new service, Dan gave a very interesting and helpful insight to the game, even managed to let us know what was happening before the commentary on LUTV could!!

    Looking forward to seeing this service develop, certainly could be more useful and interesting than BBC sport live text!

  • derbyshirewhite

    Even accepting the curious decision to rest Becchio again today, the introduction of Banaan rather than Somma after 70 minutes seemed more to do with keeping the new boy happy than a response to the lack of goals with 4-5-1 at home unlikely to open the door every game

    • TSS

      I found it strange he removed Jonny rather than Killa. Thought Bannan would have started.

  • Gryff

    Bannan on for Howson was odd, but I think Grayson likes to differ from the general consensus.

    More important than a missed opportunity for me is that Burnley have dropped 2 points an us. Automatic places would be nice but we’re not quite good enough to make it in my view. If we get into the playoffs, anything could happen!

  • captaincrash

    Certainly a bizarre ref for not punishing the back pass and then ignoring the offside flag. From where I sit I couldn’t see the penalty claim. The booking of O’Brien was clearly crazy.

    Howson and Lichaj had real chances 2nd half but all in all, with other scores today, this was a decent result as to staying in play off picture but a poor one re automatic unless Cardiff/Norwich slip up in the next 2 days……..

  • Tim Campbell

    Theres no doubt that a great opportunity slipped through our fingers today, Certainly all credit has to go to paul jewell today for his suffocating style of play which refused us the usual freedom we have become accustomed to in recent months. I do think that 2 strikers up front may have had more joy unlocking that tight as a drum defence of theirs today – 9 games to go 6 wins and 3 draws could sneak it!!

  • captaincrash

    They certainly put Edwards on Max to try and match his pace and doubled up whenever Snoody got the ball, despite that we still carved out a couple of clear chances and a couple of half chances.

    By doubling up on Snoody it meant Lichaj had the opportunities to overlap more than we have seen before. This he did well but seemed to ‘bottle’ a clear shooting chance when thru’ at an angle.

  • Colin

    I’m just confused from the tactics in the last game. Under no way from anything we’ve ever seen at Leeds or from performances by players at other teams is Paynter higher than Becchio, Somma or McCormack.

    If Howson isn’t fit then don’t play him. If he’s fit enough to be your captain, then don’t sub him.

    Bannan isn’t a replacement for Howson.
    Paynter is a piss poor striker compared to Becchio or Somma.

    I still can’t work out what Grayson was trying to do? It certainly didn’t rest any of the players as they were either used or subbed.

    Ipswich were good for 30 minutes and that’s fine. But the remaining 60 minutes we were on top, but had Paynter on, then Howson off, then Becchio on, then Bannan on and Somma on the bench.

    I couldn’t care less about giving match time to Bannan just because he’s ‘rated’. You don’t take off your captain for a loan player.

    The only thing Grayson has got from this game is 2 dropped points and pissed off Howson, Becchio and Somma.

    1ST RULE IN MANAGEMENT – NEVER EVER DROP YOUR CAPTAIN. Grayson’s message is loud and clear – Bannan is better than Howson. If you’re Howson and this replacement by a Villa player who can’t make the Villa first team, keeps continuing, what would you do? Would you stay on your 1 year contract at Leeds or ask your agent to start looking for other clubs?

    • TSS

      To be fair Colin, the only time we’ve been able to compare Becchio and Paynter in like-for-like situations (league and time of pitch) was last season, when BP massively out-scored your hero. I’m not saying the argument for Becchio starting isn’t a valid one, but his form has dropped off in recent weeks.

  • Colin

    Grayson has his pals and his preferred players. Paynter is one of them. Howson is definitely not. Somma is definitely not.

    I guarantee you this. We’re rich pickings for managers that actually rate our players. And they won’t be CCC managers, they’ll be PL managers.

    Grayson has to stop fucking about (and that is exactly what he is doing) and forget about his mates and put Paynter back on the bench and play Becchio instead and use Somma as required.

    Paynter is not and will never be a top striker. I’d have McCormack over Payter any day of the week. But the simple fact is, at this point in time, they just aren’t as good as Becchio and Somma.

    • Irving08

      Entirely agree. SG’s need (?) to justify bad buys (Paynter, MaCormack) is costing us dearly – Portsmouth definitely, yesterday probably, and others that escape my mind. His after match comments also dismayed me – playing up Ipswich to cover his own errors of selection and substitution. At this level, the quality of managers is at a premium, which is why with a first X1 that is a tad inferior to ours, I think Norwich will finish higher than us. Come on Simon – don’t keep making the same mistakes just to have to learn from tehm again.

    • TSS

      The same Howson who has started every game and captains the side?

      Wake me up when you’ve finished talking nonsense mate.

    • The Reaper 08

      Howson has made 41 appearances and is Captian, how on Gods green earth have you manged to conclude that Grayson doesn’t like him.

      Is it on the basis of one substition ? No player is immune from being subbed, not even your dream boy.

      • Colin

        TSS, Reaper, Let me try and explain myself. I think Irving08 got where I was coming from.

        Different managers have different styles. Grayson’s is all about him being the boss. He likes to be the figurehead. He never accepts that he makes mistakes. He always tries to pass off a bad result as a good result. This is similar to DOL. His vitriol that he publically poured on Bessone earlier in the season, reminded me of some of the shit that Danny mills got from DOL.

        Grayson has one saving grace in his locker. I believe he genuinely loves the club.

        Compare this to other managers who show their quality through consistently bigging up their players (even if they’ve played badly) – Ferguson, Wenger, Sven (with England), and for Leeds – Gary Mac and Dennis Wise most recently.

        Wise was always talking about how great his players were – Prutts, Hughes, Casper, Becks, Kandol etc.
        Gary Mac gave more praise to Howson, than SG ever has.

        SG’s public love-in with Paynter is irksome and not very clever in my book. “He just needs a goal” etc. etc.

        SG ‘respects’ players like Howson and Johnson, who I would call the grafters/the workers.

        SG ‘likes’ players like Paynter & Naylor. But he overuses them, until it becomes obvious that he’s made a mistake and has to replace them, despite his hate in doing so.

        Naylor played shit game after shit game. He shouldn’t have stuck with him for so long with his inept performances. But he did because he liked him. If a player that he respected had put in similar performances, they would have been dropped a lot earlier.

        Howson got his chance under Gary Mac. He trusted him. eg. Jonny puts in an abysmal performance in leg 1 of Carlisle playoff. GM keeps him for leg 2 and Jonny scores 2. SG wouldn’t have done that.
        Beckford (in his leaving interview) spoke highly of only one manager, Wise.

        I could go on for hours (Sorry!) but to put it in perspective, I think Grayson should take a look at his players and think hard.

        Grayson would have been sacked by Bates had Leeds not been promoted last season. Who saved him? Howson and Beckford – 2 players he respected but I don’t believe he liked.

  • Gryff

    1ST RULE IN MANAGEMENT – NEVER EVER DROP YOUR CAPTAIN.

    ^That would be Richard Naylor, unless I missed the news story saying how he’d been stripped of it.

    Howson and Bannan play quite a similar game. The reason why people were saying Kilkenny would give way is that Kilkenny is a waste of space. Bannan for Howson is an easy way to add some fresh legs without upsetting Leeds’ playing style. Howson is an important part of how Leeds play but purely being vice-captain shouldn’t make him immune from tactical or fatigue-related substitutions IMO.

  • TSS

    but purely being vice-captain shouldn’t make him immune from tactical or fatigue-related substitutions IMO.

    Nor should being captain for that matter. Teams do it all the time. It’s called rotation.

    Howson had played well and was a surprise change, but I guess SG felt Bannan may have had more influence in an attacking role, so opted to add him in support of Becchio with a like-for-like change. Killa will be a lot fresher than Jonny too who hasn’t had a break all season, so probably not a bad call. (Just can’t see the use of Kilkenny)

  • Mike

    TSS You cant see the use of Kilkenny but do not have problems with Paynter who has constantly shown he is useless (tell me he didn’t waste endles chances yesterday)
    How you can mindlessly keep supporting Larry in his decisions on selection formtion and tactics is a total bafflement, are you related? “Our Simon can do no wrong”

    • TSS

      OK, he didn’t waste endless chances.

      He barely had any. Our midfield didn’t manage to produce what they usually would, but the one chance that stands out came off a defender and out for a corner.

      How many chances does Luci have most weeks? Never seen a player get away with missing as many six yarders as Becchio does without criticism.

  • EYLEEDS

    The negativity of some fans amazes me. We can’t win every game and Ipswich have shown that they can get some good results recently (Arsenal, Cardiff).
    It would be arrogant to assume we should be walking away with the league this season because our squad is still being developed, so to be calling for SG to be sacked every time we don’t win is ridiculous.
    I dare any of these people wanting him out, to stand up at the next match and try to get a ‘Grayson sacked’ chant going at SG and see how many people agree.
    Larry ain’t perfect but he is 100% Leeds and I’ll keep backing him.
    MOT

    • Irving08

      I didn’t hear anyone call for SG to be sacked, so please, no straw men. What disitngusiheds the best from the merely good in this unpredicable game of ours is the ability to capitalise on good luck, and we didn’t yesterday. When I hear managers and fans say, ‘if you’d asked me at the start of…I’d’/we’d have settled for it, I hear just one word – ‘rationalisation’. I don’t recall the Great Don ever talking that way (nor Gorgeous George, come to think of it), and these are our standards at Leeds.

  • Mark R

    A disappointing result and two points dropped.After a season of scoring and shiping goals, a nil nil result defies belief.

    We have to take risks at home and I think tactically Jewell out thought SG.
    Just when you think we’ve turned the corner another opportunity missed.

    2 strikers up front would have been my selection, and Bannon would have got a whole 2nd half if the score was at 0-0.

    Let’s just hope the inconsistency continues to affect our rivals and we get a winning run until the end of the season.

    MOT

  • Tom

    Playing Paynter was a balls up, but hopefully Larry has learned that Becchio and Somma have to be the main two up top. He can still play one up front and just alternate those two starting if he wants, there’s not really any need for Paynter. He’s had his chance now.

    As for calling for Larry’s head, grow up. Sure he’s not perfect, and Gary Mac may have had a better eye for a transfer, but GM couldn’t get the team to gel (Histon?), Dennis Wise was a cock, Blackwell was shite, etc etc etc… Larry has taken us to genuine promotion candidates. Yeah its frustrating at times, but we never make things easy, and no one in this league is invincible. And yeah, he’s 100% Leeds. Who would be preferable? Some Premiership cast off who doesn’t give two shits about us and who would clear off as soon as any ‘bigger’ club came along? Nah.

    MOT

  • Mike

    Where is somebody calling for larry to be sacked?
    I certainly am not, all I want is for larry to stop playing favourites and start learning some tactics.
    No one in their right min can claim that larry got things right yesterday and as usual it is the ref to blame.
    Paul Jewell rightfully says “I thought the referee was good. You know what Leeds are like, they want a penalty every time the ball goes in the box.”

    Stop whining larry and take up the responsibility.

  • Colin

    Howson is the captain.

    At the beginning of the season, you have an official captain and vice captain. And yes that was Naylor and Howson. But when Howson walks on the pitch with the captain’s armband, he is the captain for the day. And he’s the one with the (c) next to him in all the match reports and team lineups.

    Either way, we all seem to shouting at each other, because we all know one thing – it was 2 points dropped.

    All I can say now is COME ON BARNSLEY. Do us a favour against Cardiff.

  • Rish

    I don’t think Paynter is ideal as a lone striker. He definitely is a target man, but he did so well last year because he formed a great partnership with a speedy poacher with great finishing in Charlie Austin. I’d like to see how well he’d do partnering Somma for 60/70 minutes, I don’t think that’s happened this year has it? And I really I didn’t like people on here condemning him after the Arsenal game, because it wasn’t fair at all. Leeds practically played with 9 men defending and Paynter alone up front against a terrific defence, he got very little support and his one chance was that drilled cross he missed. He’s not the type of player to come on with 15 minutes to go and expect a goal from, that’s for a Somma type player.

    The same goes for McCormack. He’s arguably only had one real chance this year when he’s been played in his proper position – as a striker! That was against Donny when he partnered Somma, where he admittedly wasn’t fully fit and picked up an injury during the game. But he put in a solid effort against a resilient and organised Doncaster. All other times he’s seemed to play off Becchio in an attacking midfield position, or go onto the wing and swap with Watt as they did over Christmas/New Year. You’re not going to get the best out of him there, and even if so then it’s not right to judge him on his goalscoring because there’s much more to his game than scoring goals in those positions.

    I get what Colin is saying on Howson, but I don’t think you can just give complete immunity to your captain. If he’s been playing subpar and not making a desired impact on the game (because of the oppositions unexpected style that you’re unprepared for) and you think than somebody on the bench would do a better job with some fresher legs, then I think it’s satisfactory in those circumstances as long as you explain to Howson. If your captain is having an awful game, you can’t just let him continue to have an awful game because he’s your captain. He deserves to be substituted and know that his performance needs to pick up. OF COURSE, that is all hypothetical and I have no idea how good Howson’s performance was yesterday…

    I think teams are starting to figure us out though as we’ve become quite predictable. 4-5-1 worked tremendously in Autumn because it was new and teams had no idea what to do with it. But after playing the exact same team over and over with the same tactics, it’s going to get easier to negate players in games. That’s what they did today, and definitely what Swansea did. Would Sam in for Snodgrass and Bannan in for Kilkenny give the team a different feel and make it harder for opposition to prepare for? It probably would, and I don’t think it was drastically alter the gelling of the team. Sam’s been here all season and did very well in pre-season and before Snoddy came back from injury.

  • Colin

    Here’s what I feel should be team for Sheff United away on Saturday.

    4-5-1

    Schmeichel
    Connolly, O Brien, Bromby, McCartney
    Kilkenny, Johnson,
    Snodgrass, Howson, Gradel
    Becchio

    Yes it works and yes it’s dependable and the best team to get 3 points against Sheff United.

    If things don’t go your way then you swap Kilkenny for Somma, Howson drops back and Somma behind Becchio and we go 4-4-2 and go for goals.

    Now, that isn’t rocket science. That will get you 3 points.

    No messing about.

    If Johnson/Kilkenny get injured, then use Bannan.
    If O’Brien or Bromby get injured, use Bruce.
    If Becchio gets injured then use Paynter.

    It’s that easy. 3 points claimed. Get in the bus and go home.

    • The Reaper 08

      I agree almost entirely apart from I would start Bannan in place of Kilkenny.

      • Colin

        Reaper, the only reason I’d start Kilkenny is not because of Kilkenny’s skills but because Johnson knows his game and his weaknesses. Johnson does his job well and I don’t want him getting confused by Bannan who I think might encroach on Johnson’s job of tackling and stopping opponent attacks.

        In addition, I’m pretty convinced that Johnson will pick up his 10th yellow card against SU and that means that Bannan will get Johnson’s place when he’s suspended for 2 games.

        Which I think will happen. Johnson suspension would mean he misses Forest and Millwall, where I think he would also get carded, and would then leave him suspension free for ‘easier’ games against Derby and Forest and the rest of the run in.

        • The Reaper 08

          I don’t disagree with your logic but for me Bannan is a better player and I would like him to get some game time. I wouldn’t be unhappy with either selection.

          He is a different player to Johnson so I think there is little chance of interference.

    • Irving08

      No argument – unless Bannan in training completely outshines Kilkenny.

  • Colin

    should have said Derby and Watford at the end, not Forest. :(