Tigers Tamed By Defiant Whites TSS August 17, 2011 Match reviews 35 Comments The 4-1 demolition of a side beaten only once in their previous nineteen away games was made all the more impressive considering the amount of first team regulars Leeds United were missing. The Whites overcame their early season jitters to record a resounding victory over Hull City despite big name absentees Max Gradel, Luciano Becchio, Davide Somma and captain Jonny Howson. The absence of so many players meant new loan signing Andrew Keogh went straight in alongside Ross McCormack in a 4-4-2 formation, whilst Ramon Nunez was given a starting place on the wing. There was no sign of Andy O’Brien once again in the centre of Leeds United’s defence whilst Paul Connolly remained on the bench and Ben Parker was absent through injury (as usual). That left Simon Grayson with a makeshift defence of Tom Lees on the right, Patrick Kisnorbo and Darren O’Dea central and Aidan White on the left. It was the series of changes that really told for Leeds United. The stats will show that Hull City were equal in possession and also carved out more chances than Leeds United. They will also show an astonishing 15 corners to Leeds’ 4. But to quote the great philosopher Homer J. Simpson “People can come up with statistics to prove anything. 14% of people know that.” The truth is, for all Hull City’s chances and never-ending supply of corners, they failed to create as many clear-cut chances as The Whites. That shouldn’t take anything away from Andy Lonergan who made a couple of excellent saves to prevent Hull City from scoring, but overall, Leeds’ defence did well in narrowing the angles and forcing the visitors to shoot from difficult positions. It wasn’t the “complete performance” by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a giant leap in the right direction. The goals coming from four different scorers was another positive for The Whites. McCormack’s header which opened the scoring after 17 minutes was cancelled out by a Tom Lees own-goal just minutes later. Lees had started well enough, looking solid at the back and proving to be a threat going forward but his inexperience showed with the own goal. Lees did everything right as the Hull City cross came in. He was in front of his man, stopping him from getting to the ball first, but his attempt to smash the ball behind went straight into the back of the net. Lees made amends just before half-time latching on to a ball just inside the box and powering it into the top of the net, leaving the Hull City keeper with absolutely no chance. As Hull City’s defence clambered towards him, Lees kept remarkably composed and unleashed a shot top strikers would be proud of. Truly sensational finish for a defender. In front at half-time, Leeds came back out with their tails up and just two minutes in extended their lead further with a 25-yard curling Robert Snodgrass free-kick. Snoddy, who will also claim an assist for McCormack’s goal was at his absolute best for the first time in some months. The game was wrapped up by Ramon Nunez who seemed to have all the time in the world inside Hull City’s box as he smashed home to record his first league goal for the club and third of the season in total. No more heroes any more? As Elland Road basked in the glow of new homegrown hero Tom Lees last night, it struck me that this team has more talent in it than we’d perhaps realised. I’ve just managed to write an entire match report without mentioning Adam Clayton, but make no mistake, that lad is an absolute sensation and performed brilliantly once again. Ramon Nunez is the kind of player that no defender will want to be responsible for marking, Robert Snodgrass looks like he’s back to his best and I’ll also hold my hands up and admit I underestimated Andy Keogh – he was like the Alan Smith of old. He won’t score many, of that I’m sure, but he will created chances for others, chase every lost cause and pressure the opposition defence to the point of irritation. Then there’s the makeshift defence we bodged together for this match. I honestly wouldn’t change a thing. Aidy White and Tom Lees are not the finished article, and they will make mistakes. But they have the pace to track-back, are both dangerous going forward and were faultless in their effort. The central partnership of O’Dea and Kisnorbo looks stronger than other combinations too. O’Dea has that little bit of extra pace Kisnorbo sometimes lacks, whilst Kisnorbo is the fearless leader we need marshalling the two youngsters on the wings. I noticed that when Tom Lees scored the own goal, Kis ran straight up to him and gave him the reassuring “chin-up” pat on the back. “We’ve all been their son, don’t worry… keep fighting!” Just the kind of positive influence youngsters need, and let’s face it, it worked! Then there’s “Oh Andy, Andy… Andy, Andy, Andy, Andy Lonergan…” When the defence couldn’t deal with it, Lonergan was there with a couple of fine saves. Also a lot better from corners than a certain Danish keeper we recently sold. Another thing to note is the difference in reaction when conceeding. Rather than throw a tantrum like Kasper did, which would have undoubtedly upset Lees, he was noticeably dejected but didn’t take it out on the youngster. That has to be more productive? Overall, a massive improvement from The Whites. I dread to think what the atmosphere would have been like had we gone into the West Ham game without any points on the board. Early season pressure relieved, we just might snatch something after all from that one.