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.

  • Craig

    If he judges that 4-4-2 would work against the Hammers I really hope Grayson rewards last night's team and gives them another run-out on Sunday. However poor the ref was on Saturday Gradel was stupid and needs to eat some humble pie – the bench would be a good place to consume his slice. I always felt that in a perfect world Kis would have been the best choice as team captain, although I can see why Howson was chosen, being a team stalwart, regular fixture and local boy.

  • Duval

    Finally 4 4 2 and defenders playing in there proper positions, what a difference! Grayson only persists with 4 5 1 because it’s the only way to keep howson in the starting 11. Really hope he doesn’t revert back but won’t hold my breath.

  • Matt

    Excellent report, and good to have something to be positive about (especially on TSS…)

    BUT – West Ham will be a big test. I have my doubts about White's defensive capabilities, but agree that O'Dea / Paddy in the middle could be the answer.

    Big question for Grayson will be what to do in the centre of the park. Gradel for Nunez seems an obvious swap (although harsh on Nunez who has 3 to his name this season already), but Howson poses more of a challenge.

    Howson is not a straight swap for Brown, and there is no way Adam Clayton is going to be dropped. Does this mean a reversion to 4-5-1 at the weekend? That doesn't work with Ross McCormack, but you can't drop him after his recent efforts, you get the feeling he is just about to get started and get the goals we all know he is capable of.

    My prediction is that we will start with Howson in for Brown, and be ready to change it around if we're getting mauled at the back.

    • Craig

      I'd switch O'Dea and Paddy around just so we could play a 4-legged Irishman called Paddy O'Dea.

      • Craig

        Sorry – it was the inclusion of the Homer J Simpson quote that made me think I could be clever too.

  • Twice Nightly

    A good Account, think we actually looked tons better 442 (Although hands were forced) Be intersting to see what we go to Fred West Ham playing… Personally i reckon we can get at em, Parker doesnt want to get injured before the window shuts so cant be relishing Brown & Clayton snapping at him…..

    Lets go have a gud ole knees up

    MOT

  • Bubionwhite

    Wow TSS … congratulations, a perfect and accurate report without one mention on the horizon to spoil it, (him), impressive, and it's good to see a man eat some humble pie at times. Outstanding performances from Lonergan, again and he can't even swear in Danish, O'Dea in his natural position, Snodgrass and the daddy of them all, Adam Clayton. Add to that further good performances from Ramon Nunez and Andy Keogh. Well done SG, hope you don't revert to type at the week-end … I expect changes but it should only be Howson and only then if he can fit into a 4-4-2 formation.

    • TSS

      Contrary to popular belief, I am cheerful sometimes. It's just hard when you support Leeds

      • Bubionwhite

        Could be much, much worse TSS … you could be a supporter of one of the two teams from Scum Shitteh or one of the two from just down the M1 … just the thought's enough to make you slit your wrists.

      • Irving08

        Is it ? Personally I can recall only two periods in all my years of watching United when I found it hard to remain cheerful: the first was when Mrs Currie ordered hubby back to London; the second was when we had Blackwell. Seriously. Don't you feel just chuffed to be part of it all ? I do.

    • John P

      Dont get carried away!

      Yes Leeds won 4-1 but Hull city had 25 goal attempts to Leeds 24

      Hull City had 15 Corners to Leeds 4

      50-50 possession

      Hull City's 20 year old Goalkeeper was to blame for 3 Goals and very nervous. Your goalkeeper was excellent and full of confidence.

      Lessons to be learned and I'm certain that the result will bring the changes needed for us to progress in the coming games.

      look forward to the return match.

  • So many of us have wanted Nunez, White and lees to play, it a shame that only when Grayson has no choice that he has to play certain players many thought should be allowed a 1st team chance. It just shows that we do have the players in our squad that can do the job. Keogh also played well which must have disappointed some of the self harmers among us (those so called fans who seem to criticize anything that happens at LUFC even though we seem to be in reasonable shape compared to other football teams). The loss against Middlesborough had nothing to do with how LUFC is run and everything to do with the crap referee.

  • trueyorxman

    Who's having the Santa Cruz rumour?!! His agent/dad mentions Leeds in an interview and suddenly we are expected to sign him! Leicester it is for him then, as it doesn't look like Beckfords going anywhere

    • TSS

      It's not really a rumour – he only mentions Leeds as an example of big Championship clubs. He doesn't say we've spoken to him, or that we're interested. Won't happen, can you imagine his wage demands?

      • @OlMaGough

        £5 and a packet of cheese & onion walkers. Bates would laugh his agent out of Yorkshire with such 'high' demands.

  • @OlMaGough

    I was expecting "TIGERS TAMED BY LEEDS' LEES". Good write up as usual, I'm actually excited about Sunday now.

  • Nottswhite

    No chance we could afford Santa Cruz' wages! He'll be off to join Svens Thai Army at the Kung Pow Stadium.

  • Mark__R

    Good to see the Mighty Whites get up and running. Hopefully SG will only tinker in a minor way with the team – if at all. The 4-4-2 clearly suits the group of players we have so I would hope we stick to that and look to impose our game on the opposition. 4-5-1 has delivered inconsistent results for us in the past.
    Come on SG – keep your nerve.

    MOT

  • Leon

    Agree with all the positive comments. Always knew that we had the players, just needed to give youth a chance.

  • Tim Campbell

    Just loved the back heel nunez gave to snodgrass; I feel there could be the development of a good understanding between the midfield duo – exciting times ahead whilst both are on the park

  • Never understood why we reverted to 4-5-1 at home, would always play 4-4-2 at home and look to play it a little tighter away from home. Horses for courses in my eyes, would pick the team/formation according to the opposition and venue. Makes sense in my eyes. No point playing 4-5-1 at bottom of the league but also no point going gung ho at a promotion rivals.

    • TSS

      Started working away and somehow produced more goals, so we ended using it as default.

  • mikelufc

    I think Larry just said " I am fresh out of tactics just go out and play football and enjoy it"
    I have said a number of times that I dont think there is much wrong with the squad, the problem is….was?

  • Paul South Wales

    I'm just glad Keogh the "cast-o"ff had a good game huh

    • ross mccaramac

      yeh one win and suddenly were a good side! west ham will be a much harder test, disapointed with some of the negative comments regarding gradel and howson. following on from yesterday's about keogh.

  • Chris S

    Love the website and reports, well done. I Just wanted to raise expectations beyond the Santa Cruz rumour… I’ve heard were about to turn the tables on the Spuds by signing two of their youngsters – Burnabin and Grabatelly – Both good with their feet. You read it here first..

  • John P

    Food for thought!

    Yes Leeds won 4-1 but Hull city had 25 goal attempts to Leeds 24

    Hull City had 15 Corners to Leeds 4

    50-50 possession

    Hull City's 20 year old Goalkeeper was to blame for 3 Goals and very nervous. Your goalkeeper was excellent and full of confidence.

    Lessons to be learned and I'm certain that the result will bring the changes needed for us to progress in the coming games.

    look forward to the return match.

    • number1inyorkshire

      john p they hit the post 27 times and bought more burgers but less programs too another stat opta is the most useless thing in football there is only one stat and you can mention any you want but the only one that counts is we scored 4 goals you scored none but we scored one for you .4-1 END OF we look forward to the rematch too in fact right now we wish we could play you every week

      • John P

        I was simply saying don't get carried away. the period after we equalised until you scored your second goal we were dominant. Fact. Yes you need to put the ball in the net but if we swapped keepers for example the score could have been reversed. The kids only 20 and I feel for him but he cost us dearly. You lot get too carried away with one freak result. look after 10 games in and I will be back!

        • number1inyorkshire

          look forward to it JP i thought it was a good match which hull had an equal part to play trust me i have been to many a game when we have dominated and come away loosing .
          it can be rough old job been a footy fan ,
          best of luck for rest of season hull will be there or there a bouts i am sure come may

          • Matthew

            I dont get why John is speaking like all those shots and attempts are a GOOD thing, if you cant score from those, you pretty much suck. We as a team always put at least 1 goal in with those number of chances.

            He seems to think Hull were good enough as a team to win, they wern't.

    • Matthew

      All those chances on goal yet Hull couldn't put the ball in the back of the net.

      I think that says it all

      Hull Citys dodgy goalkeeper + laughable defense + Billy Paynter esq strikers = SUPER LEEDS VICTORY!

      Good day Sir!

  • number1inyorkshire

    think he will tinker on Sunday but 4-4-2 is the way we should play fantastic last night , all of em, as i have said elsewhere i thought Keogh was my man of the match his running was awesome but great football from both teams a good match .
    i would stick to 4-4-2 but swap brown with howson leave the rest as it is
    odea was fantastic with paddy

  • don_weston

    Echoing other comments above, a great report and a good looking site.

    What a difference a few days make in football. Would like to see Howson for Brown also.

    Who says we don't have any luck.

  • Matthew Brown-Bolton

    never a big fan of hull to be honest, brilliant to put them back in their place LLL