No one likes a cliché so I’ll get it out of the way early: it was a game of two halves.

After the stumble against Sheffield United and the distraction of the international break, the Whites got their promotion push back on track with a vital 4-1 win over play-off rivals Nottingham Forest.

The game started in the way that’s been typical of Leeds this season. We were panicking all over the pitch, giving up possession easily and inviting Forest to attack us. Whenever we did have the ball we lacked any sort of invention or vision and resorted to long balls up to Becchio who was being outmuscled by both central defenders. We we’re lucky to hold on and last ditch defending saved us on a number of occasions.

The biggest talking point of the half and probably the game came about ten minutes before half time as Forest midfielder Chris Cohen went flying into George McCartney in an effort to get the ball. A mass brawl broke out as players from both sides flew into the melee. There’s been some debate about the dismissal as Cohen seemed to get a foot on the ball but it’s clear to see why he walked. Billy Davies can moan all he wants about Leeds players and staff getting Chris Cohen sent off but it was the Forest player who went flying into the challenge with both feet off the ground. It was one of those that was correct but Forest would say it was harsh.

It was the perfect time to push ahead as we’d seen glimpses of Barry Bannan’s footwork and passing and with a man advantage we should have been spraying the ball about and making them chase it but no, in typical Leeds fashion it was going long up to Becchio and we were desperate to get inside for the break and regroup.

As the score-line suggests, the second half was completely different. Within five minutes we were one up through Jonny Howson who was anonymous in the first half but got better and better as the game went on. Snodgrass and Lichaj combined down the right to play in Howson who coolly took a touch to set himself before smashing past Forest ‘keeper, Lee Camp from six yards.

The goal seemed to give us confidence and it felt like we had another goal in us. Luciano Becchio, who was fighting hard but not getting much joy, was in the right place at the right time to nick a goal after Bromby’s header rebounded off the post. Minutes later we could have made it comfortable as Snodgrass cut inside on his left foot on the edge of the area and hit a fantastic curling effort against the bar.

Leeds looked to be playing with more confidence until Forest got one back. Forest man Garath McCleary scored a good curling effort but what drew most of the attention was Nathan Tyson grabbing hold of Leigh Bromby who began pushing and grabbing back as they ran a good twenty yards into the area and we’re practically squared up by the time McCleary hit his shot. Nerves were shaken inside Elland Road and the game could have potentially tipped either way as the game became a very scrappy affair with numerous physical battles and scuffles all over the pitch.

Luckily we managed to tip the balance our way when Max Gradel took one touch to set himself up before firing a brilliant volley into the bottom corner from the edge of the area. The man advantage was beginning to pay as Forest started to look tired. Simon Grayson brought on new man Jake Livermore for the impressive Barry Bannan and the Spurs loanee made an impact with some good passing and then a fantastic turn in the box before firing at the Forest ‘keeper. Becchio followed up but forced an impressive reaction save only for the ball to bounce out to Gradel to finish emphatically.

The exciting, free-flowing second half more than made up for dire first. The fact that Forest boss, Billy Davies, seemed so upset after the game and demonstrated one of his most ungracious post-match interviews probably suggests we were good for the win. However, there’s no doubt the sending off did affect the game though probably not as much as Billy Davies would like to think. Forest can feel as robbed as they just weren’t that good, neither we were but we managed to score four goals.

As far as a man-of-the-match is concerned, there are strong arguments for a few players and in truth it’s hard to decide. Barry Bannan looked classy in midfield, demonstrating an excellent first touch, great passing, good pace and strength in the tackle. Max Gradel would be an obvious choice for two well-taken goals but he also showed glimpses of the most frustrating Max we know, delaying passes and trying to take on one too many players. Jonny Howson imposed himself more on the game as it went on and Leigh Bromby was fantastic throughout, showing desire and defending well, and gave one of his best performances in a Leeds shirt.

  • Mojoluafc

    Im glad we won, not just for the 3 pts against a play off rival but the fact that i despise that little shit billy `job done` davis, he really has got little man syndrome and is a top of the range pillock.

  • Mightywhite83

    Good win yesterday wish I hadn’t of given my ticket away now :( bannon looked class with howson alongside him problem was in the 1st half

  • Mightywhite83

    Good win yesterday wish I hadn’t of given my ticket away now bannon looked class with howson alongside him problem was in the 1st half we didn’t get them on the ball enough and the service to becchio was dreadful. On the sending off it was very similar to jonny Evans the other week yes he got the ball but it was wrecklass lunging in from that far away with both feet of the ground he could of quite easily snapped mcartneys leg in 2 so should of been sent off. I was also very impressed with Livermore when he came on the lad is built like a brick shit house and was very imposing on the forest midfield and I for one would like to see him start the next game in that holding role instead of bj with bannon and howson infront of him. I’m also pleased that broomy is back in the side as I’ve always liked him and thought he was very good yesterday.

  • Mightywhite83

    Sorry broomy not bloomy bloody iPhones !!

    • mightywhite83

      jesus 3rd time lucky…bromby :)))

    • Tim Wilsom

      Is Broomy playin sweeper

  • Bill

    My immediate reaction when I saw that tackle was “He’s off.” Gobshite Davies is to appeal. I wish him luck with that. On second thoughts no I don’t. God how I hate that little twat. Whiney little ********************. Insert your own expletive.

  • Mike

    @Mightywhite83
    You can turn the auto correction off in Settings/General/Keyboard/auto correction

    • Mightywhite83

      Thanks mike :)

  • Jailhouse John

    It’s always exciting going to ER these days – no boring 0-0 draws or 1-0 grind out wins.

    Yes we were a bit lucky with the red but getting right up Davies’s nose is always a big result for me.

  • Max.

    Generally agree on the assessments, but until he scored I was shouting for Gradel to be taken off and replaced by McCormack – his general greediness could have cost us the game.

    Liked Bannan and Lichaj, and Livermore was immediately impressive. Kilkenny might be rusty from having just travelled with Australia but I thought when he came on near the end for Johnson we dropped a gear.

    I hope we can hang on to one or two of these loan players; Villa are going to have to rebuild next season and the Spurs chairman also says their squad is too big.

  • saltburnwhite

    Your right about kilkenney , we have two other players who are much more posotive and much better passers in bannan and livermore , kilkenney should now be last pick . no enthusiasm , overated , slows the play too much , cannot pass forward , and is just a complete negative effect on the team…………AND GIVE BRADLEY JOHNSON HIS CONTRACT !!! He is underated!!!!!

  • Svein-Magne Forsgren

    I am happy about 3 points, but I feel we were a bit lucky and I think if our confidence gets higher after this victory we might not look behind the result. We were loosing all over the pitch up to the red card was given. The midfield were pityful, and I truly believe we would have lost the game if not the red card had been given.

    If we appear like this away against Millwall,(who will give us 120% against us) we will get thrashed. I hope Grayson would use experienced Connolly instead of young Lihaj and find a room for Livermoore in the starting line up.

  • Colin

    Brief highlights of the game:

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xhxq0j_leeds-4-v-1-nottingham-forest-02-04-2011_sport

    The lunge by Cohen really does look bad in full speed.

  • Irving08

    Thank goodness the ref. was on our side: until then we were being outplayed by a stronger and more cohesive unit whose only obvious weakness was the lack of a decent striker. Opinions will differ on that ‘tackle': as I saw it, it was no more than a yellow card offence. After that it was only a matter of time (and a good half-time talk by SG)before we exploited our strength down the flanks – mind a cracking goal – not just a ‘good effort’ – from their sub. got the lot near me very nervous (me too). I take back what I said about Livermore – he looked strong, skilful and confident.

  • reiver

    Disappointed with our first half performance (lack of). We played better second half, against 10 men, but the result was flattering. I think we’re going to have to perform better than that.

    “The Cohen tackle” was a straight red (IMHO). He flew in like a lunatic and could have crippled our player! I’m not sure what that little Scots git of a manager is whingeing on about!

  • Colin

    Tim – it seemed that Forest tried to ‘rough up’ Leeds and force us into losing our heads and possibly getting one of ours sent off.

    That didn’t work.

    Tim – were Leeds getting roughed up? If so then I think we held on well and fought back.

    I reckon if we play like we did at the weekend then we can do Millwall. And then that will really put the cat among the pigeons.

    And BTW, is it just me or is Leigh Bromby starting to look like a new player? It’s like he’s a new signing. Not much mention of Alex Bruce or Neil Collins anymore??? He’s had some sort of Bradley Johnson-esque transformation.

    • TSS

      Forest’s rough and ready approach did more to get them the red card than anything else. They’d put in some extremely dodgy tackles leading up to that and it was only a matter of time before someone was made an example of.

      In real time, the challenge looked horrendous, but even seeing it again replayed in slow motion, it was still a dangerous lunge that could have injured our player. If the ref allowed such challenges to continue, he’d have lost control of the game.

      Totally deserved red card in my opinion. No question about it.

  • Shaun

    Straight red woz same sort tackle as evan’s other weeke and gerrard against man ushited in fa cup. But intersting I read forest page yesterday they woz moaning about 2nd and 3rd goals fouls on camp for second where just fell over and expect a free kick. Our third they moaned foul on wes morgan whn woz 50/50 battle but hey Tht sour grapes I do think we are start games slow which off cut out but we are taking are chances cant ask for more just keep clean sheet

  • captaincrash

    Have said this on one of the forum threads but I thought Becchio had a fantastic game.

    He scored, held up play superbly, hardly ever lost a ball even when they had 3 on him and… he cleared just about every one of thier corners.

    Fully agree re Bromby – playing at the very top of his game.

    Bannan, great, great game.

  • Shrubs came to kick and spoil hoping we’d loose our rag and discipline, I think we both teams negated each other in the 1st half, there 1st shot was in the 32nd minute and was the deflection off our defender. After that they had two chances the far post cross that had Tudgay stretching and shot wide then the block from Tudgay in the box which when cleared initiated the two footed lunge on McCartney. Regarding the straight red the rues may be wrong but they are clear, feet off the ground, no control and studs up is a straight red in 2011 irrespective of touching the ball 1st or never touching the player hence the word INTENT , in 1971 it wouldn’t have warranted a card. As for job done this odious subhuman takes hypocrisy to a new level as I’m sure he’s have seen it the same way if it was a Leeds player on a shrub, also the whinging coming from the shrub fans is ludicrous they had 5 yellows and a straight red, our only Yellow was harsh at best, another point how Cunter stayed on the field never mind didn’t see a card is beyond me, constant fouling, verbal attacks on the officials and a blatant dive attempting to win a penalty! TSS summary of the 2nd half is pretty accurate my only comments are about MOM for me it was between Lichaj, Bromby & Bradders as the only players that played well both halves, also think AOB was very solid though McCartney scares me when he’s defending.

  • Tim Wilsom

    Knew we’d have a good day with the officials when shaking hands at the start the ref reaches out and hugs O’Brien. :)

  • tim campbell

    One worrying observation I picked up on was kaspers kicking the ball up field after a pass back. It was woeful to say the least and on numerous occasions Forest were right back at us and threatening after these ‘clearances’. If I sound mean after a 4-1 win I’m sorry, but the next 7 games will make or break us and we could get punished if he keeps doing this

  • Altrinchamandrew

    Agree about Bromby: waited for his chance and grabbed it! Great result; Bannan looks better and better, has a football brain and distributed well. Livermore looked imposing.
    Need a battling performance at millwall: have to win there looking at the teams behind us waiting to pounce.

  • tim campbell

    Millwall look good at this point in time and I feel if we are to get a result down there we will have to grind it out. Of course there has been a bit of history between our two sides over recent years and in some ways this could work in our favour, especially if we can win the midfield battle early on

  • tim campbell

    I checked out norwich’s next 4 games last night and all of them look like potential banana skiners – we have tough games too, but ever there was a time to hit top form and go on a run; now is that time!

  • tim campbell

    Norwich next 4 games Swansea(a) Watford(a) Notts Forest(h) Ipswich(local rivals away) – all tough games

  • Matt BB

    Am so fed up reading match reports telling me how unlucky forest were in this game. My dad and I (admittedly from the other side of the pitch), saw a tackle with excessive force employed on Mccartney, and for me it marked an example of the utter gamesmanship of Forest, who nagged and nipped at the Leeds players, doubtless trying to get one of ours sent off. I thought for me the instance where Boyd tried to prise the ball out of Schmeicels arms was shocking, and there were plenty more incidents where i guess the forest players thought the referee wasnt paying attention, really really bad from a team that is all about good football.

    Other than that it’s an outrageous claim to make that forest should have won the game (as the Mirror and BBC appear to be claiming) based on a decent opening 20 minutes from Forest. They didnt score then, and we had our chances too. You’d expect 10 men to defend wouldnt you? but their organisation was terrible as soon as we went forward.

    I thought our play was slightly better than theirs, and for me Howson stood out, but only for his second half performance. Gradel I thought and many around me, had a pretty awful game other than his two goals! and I thought Snodgrass must have been scratching his head a few times when he tried to play gradel in and he totally missed it.

    Most disappointing to see Somma not brought on earlier or Mccormanck.

    I hope lastly that Grayson realises that you dont have to be a man advantaged to begin playing football, as when we settled dwon and started passing the ball forest couldn’t cope – the same was true in rare points in the first half as well.

  • tim campbell

    Agree totally matt – billy davies sent them out to rough house us and unsettle us and his plan magnificently backfired on him. Next weeks game against millwall could be feisty too

  • Mightywhite83

    Don’t know if anyone else agrees with me on this but milwall on Saturday is going to be a very physical game and at 1st thought Livermore should come in for Johnson but the more I think about he may be better replacing howson or bannon and give us a bit of bulk in mf otherwise I think they may overpower us in the middle.

    • tim campbell

      You’re rite mate its the middle of the park where the match will be won and lost on saturday. Livermore has more of a physical presence about him than the likes of bannan so it may be wise to start with him – my other concern would be if they targeted max gradel and if so whether his temper holds out

      • Old Billy White

        Agree, I thought Livermore looked like he’d do a good job, seemed calm and not easy to knock off the ball. Bannon might get muscled out of it at Millwall. Maxi great effort as always but we could have paid for the times he didn’t get his head up when in good positions. Hopefully a word in his ear will get him back on track.
        We can’t afford to start games as we did on Saturday, i.e. all over the place.
        However all that said 7 to go and you never know.

  • Joey

    I had work yesterday so I couldn’t get to ER :( but lucky enough I work in a tv shop so guess what was on :D

    I belive with our second half performance we would have got a result even without the sending off, which WAS a sending off, if it wasnt for mills and claridge arguing against it there wouldnt be a word said about it. You cannot lunge in with two feet 4ft in the air regardless of getting the ball haha. If it was a Leeds player we’d have been “dirty Leeds” the lads did well and were very disaplined.
    “going up going up Leeds are going up, nanananananaa Leeds are going up” ;)

  • Tyler 75

    The proverbial game of two halves. First half we were (not for the first, nor I suspect,last time this season) shocking defensively and had Forest had a decent striker on the pitch we would have been in trouble. The sending off, was in hindsight, a yellow card at best but the Ref doesn’t have hindsight and has to give what he sees i.e. a two-footed, off the floor challenge. That said we stepped up second half and feel we would have won anyway (albeit less comfortably) with or without the sending off because of our superior fire power. Bannan looks a proper player but is lightweight and gets knocked off the ball too easily. Impressed with Livermore, who looks a talented player and big strong lad, a real plus at this level – I’d definitely start him at Millwall alongside Bradders with Howson in front. I’d also go for Connolly ahead of Lichaj. I thought Howson was the difference in the second half and I’d give him the man of the match. Didn’t Davies defend Gunter’s stamp in the first match ? Pot, kettle, black – job done !

  • Joey

    Well I guess you always do get what you deserve, they deserved a sending off in the game at the city ground. Theres been too many inccidents this season that hav gone against us (Becchio’s black eye being one of them), its a nice change to get a decision :)

  • Timmuz

    What’s with all the Lichaj bashing? I think he was man of the match against forest and has been solid since arriving also much better going forward than connelly.

  • Matt BB

    I also thought Lichaj had an excellent game, and definitely someone we need to utilise as much as possible in the next 7 games, and although i might need my head testing I thought Mccartney had a decent second half too. I agree that the Millwall game will be feisty, but not as much as this one, Nottingham forest were on a mission to rough us up as I guess Billy Davies sees us as lightweight.

  • Tyler 75

    No doubt Lichaj is a decent player, has got pace and gets forward well. But Connolly links better with Snods and is stronger defensively.

  • tim campbell

    Two pieces of skill which typified snoddy on saturday – firstly the beautiful pass he played which almost had backspin on it and secondly his curled effort which struck the bar – two words? PURE CLASS!

  • Will23

    I thought Bannan was lightweight.

    He only stood out when he was misplacing every pass. Maybe I need to see the TV game. A couple of times I admit he moved well and with ease with the ball, but Livermore looks promising & stronger for me for next weekend’s trip to Millwall.

    But knowing Grayson as we all do – never one to give a player a needed rest – eg, Snodgrass looks off his feet once more – then I expect an unchanged starting XI.

    But I see no reason to change my mind after this performance to expect more of the same dysfunctional performances until the end of the season….unless Grayson does start to give players a rest and give others a chance to shine.

  • Irving08

    Re: the sending off: consider the following facts: the ball was in the air; both players had a right to go for the ball; neither could get to it without taking at least one foot, the elading one, off the ground; the Forest player go to the ball before our player who, because he was going for the ball too, got clattered. But did the Forest player go in with two feet ? A moot point, in my view: certainly his other leg had left the ground at the moment his leading leg made contact with the ball (it only touched our player in virtue of his falling over it at speed) BUT that leg was trailing and it had only JUST left the ground at the time the other leg had won the ball. In my view, it was a strong but legitimate and successful attempt to win a ball that was there to be won. And it was the only way the ball could have been won from that position. It could be construed as potentially dangerous play, but then managers would have to instruct their players never to go for a free ball in such a position. This is plainly unrealistic and, I think, undesirable; the game is biased enough in favour of offensive play as it is. Of course SG’s reaction was understandable and, in its way, commendable; but he was not in a position to judge whether or not the interception was fair or not. He could see clearly only the dramatic aftermath. For what it’s worth, Eddie Gray, commenting on Radio Yorkshire, is of the same view as me, and told Simon so in the post-match interview.

  • Joey

    Irving08 thats the most boring thing I’ve ever read, it was a sending off, it hasn’t being recinded, we WON, Happy days :)