Yorkshire derbies seldom go to plan for The Whites and Bradford City came to Elland Road determined to continue that tradition.

There were starts for Ramon Nunez, Lloyd Sam and Ben Parker as several first team regulars were away on international duty, but it was those that remained which would give Leeds United fans the most cause for concern as the evening’s events unfolded.

The biggest problem area remains the defence which was all over the place when Bradford City took the lead through a Jack Compton goal just after the half hour mark. Through a crowded defence, Compton managed to pull away and find space for a shot that left Andy Lonergan with no chance.

The general reaction within the ground was that Ben Parker was at fault as he allowed Compton to pull away without giving chase. And it’s true that Parker should definitely share the blame, but the defence were so badly organised that our two centre-backs are nowhere near the centre of defence when the shot was fired almost dead centre. The lack of organisation meant both Patrick Kisnorbo and Andy O’Brien had been left clumsily scratching their heads at the left-hand side of goal, whilst Ben Parker – who in my opinion should be covering the far post in this situation – was caught in two minds as the only defender remaining. There’s no escaping the fact he should have chased, but had he done so, it would have been just as easy for Compton to lay the ball off to whoever was coming in at the back post and then we’d have complained he was out-of-position. The fact is, the entire defence was at fault.

After a disappointing first half, Leeds United came out on fire and Ramon Nunez equalised within 30 seconds. Lloyd Sam did incredibly well to somehow work his way through a crowd of Bradford City players to tee Nunez up for the equaliser and his first goal as a Leeds United player. What Lloyd Sam lacks in the skill and trickery department, he more than makes up for with an unrelenting determination.

Lapse defending was to blame once again however as Michael Flynn restored Bradford City’s lead on 57 minutes. Andy O’Brien will once again come in for criticism here, and it seems Simon Grayson agreed as he decided to replace O’Brien with Leigh Bromby just five minutes later. Tom Lees was also brought on to replace Paul Connolly. Two changes in defence when trailing by a goal tells you all you need to know about The Whites’ performance up to this point.

On a more positive note, Ramon Nunez always looked a threat, Lloyd Sam worked tirelessly throughout and Ross McCormack was constantly on the move trying to create space and chances for himself. And it was McCormack who leveled for The Whites on 69 minutes, latching on to an incredible cross from Tom Lees to head home his first goal of the season and restore parity at Elland Road.

Leeds were starting to look more and more threatening going forward with Ross McCormack and Ramon Nunez showing the potential to forge a strong partnership up front. On several occasions, McCormack showed his ability to create space for a shot and was unlucky not to get a second with a couple of well-struck long range efforts. Nunez meanwhile was at times let down by a bit of rustiness in his control, but was always giving Bradford something to think about. Neither can really be classed as an orthodox striker, McCormack for example was still working his way back from defence at one point whilst half The Whites squad were up the other end of the field attacking and he does have a tendency to drift back into central midfield, but between the two of them, we may just be on to something.

Leeds eventually sealed victory when a Lloyd Sam cross was spilled by the Bradford City keeper gifting Ramon Nunez his second Leeds United goal with just 15 minutes remaining. From there on out, Leeds United dominated and retained possession well. City did manage a couple more half chances, most notable of which was a hit-and-hope attempt from the wing that Andy Lonergan had to peddle back and save at full-stretch, but we came through in the end to progress to the second round.

Conclusions

Credit to Bradford City, they came fired up for the battle and gave a very good account of themselves making this a thrilling Yorkshire derby match. What I particularly like about City is that they aren’t a side who spends half the match complaining to the referee when a decision goes against them or he misses something. Case in point, Leigh Bromby shoved their forward to the ground in an off-the-ball situation, but instead of rolling around like most Premier League (and Championship for that matter) players would have done, he got up and went over to the referee playing down the incident with Bromby, shook hands and left it at that. They’re not a team who ruins the game with constant whinging and moaning, they simply get stuck in and get on with it. I admire that it any team.

As for Leeds, the defence is a still a total shambles. The only positives I can take from this is that Ben Parker got 90 minutes under his belt – he needs games to get back to his old self unfortunately – and that Simon Grayson identified Andy O’Brien as a weakness and gave Leigh Bromby and Tom Lees a chance to impress. Both Lees and Bromby looked an improvement to me and should be considered ahead of O’Brien who is clearly lacking fitness this weekend.

Micheal Brown looked a lot better than he did against Southampton and seemed to time his tackling a lot better too. Adam Clayton is an absolute warrior who I’m quickly falling in love with (he hasn’t got a bad shot on him either) and Lloyd Sam was an example every player should follow – absolutely tireless.

Other positives were Ramon Nunez and Ross McCormack, but I think I rattled on about them enough above?

Overall, we’re still not the finished article but in the second half we performed much better than we did last week against The Saints. Conceding two goals against a League Two side is a concern and one which needs to be addressed quickly, but at least we have some positives to take from this game unlike last week. On and on…


   
Leeds United 3 2 Bradford City
Ramon Nunez Jack Compton
Ross McCormack Michael Flynn
Ramon Nunez
Elland Road (Att. TBC)
League Cup 2011-12, August 9th 2011

  • JordyP1993

    Awesome article as always, noticed you put Lees as the crosser for the McCormack goal, it was Connolly before he was subbed that put the cross in :) apart from that awesome analysis as always come on you whites!

    P.S rather annoyed that Graysons deal with ‘another club’ fell through sounds a bit manurey if you ask me of the general Bull kind…

    • TSS

      I'm almost certain it was Lees.

      Connolly went off with O'Brien before that goal.

      • Andy Flynn

        Correct TSS. it was 100% Lees. A blinding cross!
        Listening to Grayson of Yorkshire radio he may well have played his way into the team against boro. Let’s hope so!

        Thought Sam and Clayton were immense. We having the makings of a good squad, but what happens when we lose centre midfielders to injury….we have no cover. Much as we have no cover up front

  • JordyP1993

    They both got double subbed but I’m sure it was after we had scored the 2nd equaliser, just remember saying to my dad that he’d got it spot on in terms of height as McCormacks a small guy, I then remember saying Lees was impressive even though Connolly had done ok and created the assist before him… Could be wrong but it is infront of where I sit, tbh don’t really care so long as it went in! :D

  • Lees put the cross in

  • JordyP1993

    Yeah I’m starting to think I may be going mad :L your right guys sorry :L please forgive me :’) my glasses need strengthening…

  • Side Before Self

    It was definitely lees who crossed for McCormacks goal

  • jay

    It was lees who crossed the ball. Clayton was the best player on the pitch by far. We are missing becchio’s presence upfront

    • TSS

      Totally agree on Clayton. Who knew we had a box-to-box midfield warrior all along!?

      • mikelufc

        Not larry that's for sure.

        • mattbb1

          come on Mike he did sign him in fairness, and perhaps the loans gave him that room to develop – these things dont always happen by accident.

          • TonyYeboah21

            I agree – Surely better he makes his mistakes and gets his confidence at another club. Their problems not ours and now he comes back into the side a finished (ish) article rather than an inexperienced kid. Especially when you bear in mind we had Howson, Killa, Johnson in there last year so he wouldnt have got much game time anyway. Same applies to Nunez.

  • jay

    Clayton was mint tonight. MOT

  • kev

    ,clayton was excellent never stopped working,sam looked good,tom lees looks to be a realy good prospect,calm on the ball,gets forward when he can ,gets a tackle in,Leeds were better when o'brien went off, £4 for a programme thats full of advertisements well done bates !!

  • peacock

    “Lapse defending”? Think you meant lax defending, or maybe a defensive lapse?

    • TSS

      Think I was more pissed than I realised, made loads of lttle writing errors above.

  • Bubionwhite

    Five goals conceded in two games … defence just has to be changed. Perhaps he SG should try Lees – Kisnorbo – O'Dea and Bessone /White … Ben Parker still off the pace and we can't afford to wait and before anyone berates the thought of Bessone, he can't do any worse than what's in place at the moment. First name on the team sheet has to be Adam Clayton … two impressive performances so far, needs and deserves a proper run in the side.

  • EYLEEDS

    Clayton for England based on last night’s performance! Nunez looks just like Gradel when he first got a chance in the team, ie dangerous but a little headless chicken, but obviously has the ability at this level.

    Disagree about Bromby doing well. He has no composure and just hits it long every time straight back to the opposition. Lees deserves a start but I’d play him at CB because Connolly is doing ok.

    Hate to say it but Parker looked very poor again.

  • mojoluafc

    Well the less said about the first half the better, much improved in the second which was needed against a league 2 team. AOB was woeful, Sam did well on the wing to create things but we spent a lot of time going side to side. At least we`re thru, was worth going to watch it in the end. Still not happy about paying £4 for a program tho but the constant "bates out" chants were good in the kop.

  • Gareth

    It was definatley lees that crossed the ball in. Only got to watch the second half but the defence looked incredibly shakey, kisnorbo has to be singled out on this one as well as o’brien. Kisnorbo and Parker look like they’re lacking match practice and O’Brien doesn’t look fit. The team as a whole looked far more solid with Lees and Bromby on the field IMO.

  • Arniemar

    Why on earth did Grayson pick 5 defenders on the bench? Baffled. We couldn’t even fill all the subs’ spots. Just goes to show how paper thin our squad actually is despite Lorimer’s ludicrous claims otherwise.
    As for the match,AOB (as the club website likes to call him) was rubbish last night. Fit or not he’ past his best. The fans can see through him so not sure why Grayson can’t especially after some of his performances last year.
    AOB should now read OAO (Over And Out) IMO!
    I am rapidly losing faith in Ben Parker too. Again fit or not I don’t think he is up to it.
    Plus points – Clayton is looking more and more like a decent mid for us. I was also impressed with Sam’s workrate and Nunez and McCormack had decent games.
    I’d consider resting Snoddy on Sat and let either ,Nunez or Sam start. Changes needed at the back too. Lees looks solid and should be given his chance.

  • mattbb1

    so were Tom Lees and Bromby a settling influence?

  • Irving08

    Good fightback – we showed spirit. On players, I am afraid Parker just isn't going to make it at this level, while Lees most certainly is. White should now be given his chance. Snoddy must must play on Saturday: he thrives on games. O' Brien – oh dear: Brown too was not a clever signing. Generally experience is overrated. Talent allied to zest trumps it every time. There is the makings of an exciting, young side in our squad. SG needs now to show some of the courage of O'Blimey.

  • adriantag

    Good to see us coming back from behind which seems to be our trait! 5 Conceded in two games is a real worry though.

  • stevekinsey11

    I think we should maybe try a 4-3-3 with Nunez in just behind McCormack with Howson and Clayton in at the expense of Brown (not too impressed with him so far tbh, all bite no brians IMO). This might encourage us to play the ball on the deck a bit more and stop lumping up long high balls like we've got Peter Crouch or someone up front, on the deck to the feet of Nunez / MCCormack or slipped into the channels that McCormack will run all day and night to open up. Clayton is capable of good creative midfield play from what I've seen so far and can only grow with more starts, looks VERY good indeed, so maybe himself slightly more advanced than Howson in a more defensive midfield role, Clayton dropping in to cover when Howson goes on a barn-stormer – maybe that might solidify us a little at the back too and give Howson more of a chance to get more vocal in his captaincy role and marshalling / steadying our shaky back four a bit. With MG and RS as the wide players this just leaves the back four to sort out ;-) I think / hope that Kisnorbo will get back to being the lion we all know he can be with more games, but O'Brien just can't cut it, gotta go I'm afraid. Jury's still out on O'Dea / Connolly (hmmm) / Parker / Bruce (double hmmm) for me though, but I do agree with many that Bessone should be given another crack, Lees should also be given a try and the young local lad Parker is normally a left back too isn't he? What about Monty Gimpel anyway? And getting Lihaj back, either on long term loan or (ideally) signed? There are options left to try in that back four, but the first thing to do is to stop writing O'Brien's name on the fekkin' starting XI team sheet every game!

    Anyway, despite the frustrating lack of quality signings over the summer, with the likes of Clayton in particular and also Nunez coming through, McCormack looking more and more like he might have something, retaining RS and MG and some young players possibly coming through, it's starting to get a bit interesting again I reckon. That leaky defence seriously needs plugging though! MOT

  • TonyYeboah21

    Yet again defence lets us down. Surely the fans are not the only ones who realise that. Surely Larry will be looking to strengthen there. No issues with Kisnrobo or Connolly they look solid and will do a job so that just leaves another centre back and a left back.

    I personally would like to see Aidy White given a proper run in the side. He cannot be worse than Parker and Bessone. I'm discounting O'Dear as I know nothing about him and I dislike the way we throw a new signing in the side regardless of whether or not they are good enough (Bessone, Bannan, Livermore spring to mind) Parker looks like he needs a loan spell elsewhere to regain confidence as he looked terrified last night.

    Going forward looks good even if a little threadbare. Put Snoddy n Maxi in that side with Nunez and Sam on the bench and it looks promising.

    All in all I feel mildly confident for the coming season – maybe I'm the only one

    MOT

  • stevekinsey11

    @ TonyYeboah21 – not sure if Aidy is more of a wide man than a left back tbh, but nice to hear he did well making his debut for the Republic's Under 21 side last night, that'll do his confidence the world of good. no reason not to give him a try at left back though, surely we have to try a few different things with the back four because at the minute it just aint working, and if we concede anywhere near as many as last season we'll be in real trouble becuase the Championship is far stronger this season and I'd be surprised if our goals for column will make quite such high numbers come May 2011!

    As for being the only one to feel 'mildly confident' I'm only half in that camp at the minute. I'm excited at the prospects of Clayton and Nunez in particular, hopeful that Sam can stay injury free and have more of an input and influence than last season, thankful that we did the right thing and kept hold of MG and RS, and looking forward to the likes of Lees, White, Gimpel, Taylor and one or two other hungry young whippersnappers being given a shot…so it's not all doom and gloom, but if we can maybe sign Vidic and Nasri or Fabergas before the window closes then that wouldn't be bad at all ;-)

  • _dje

    As others have mentioned, highlights were Clayton, Sam and Nunez, with MacCormack, Brown and Lees doing OK too.

    I can't work out if Connolly was brought off for being meh or because Grayson wanted to give Lees time on the field. Connolly was better than Parker and O'Brien and arguably Kisnorbo too. Should have been brave and started with Lees, but we aren't good at being brave these days. It is unforgivable not to have addressed bringing in a tried and tested (AND FIT!) central defender after how many goals we shipped last season. Is Grayson eager for the sacking payoff or something?

    Surely we should have put our vindictiveness aside and had Grella on the bench. Ok, he might have got cup tied and made him a bit less of an attractive prospect for Carlisle or the like, but it seems idiotic to go with five defenders on the bench (especially when the five on the bench probably would have done better starting than the four we chose).

    Still nervous about a mauling by Middlesborough

  • lufcboy

    We won yes but still the same old problems. Defending was woeful again. Maybe it's me but we don't seem to have any pace either. Only six subs named – surely there was some else Larry could have named on the bench, Grella for example. Still much more improvement needed.
    Who was the mystery striker we missed out on because of " a greedy agent" sounds familiar that one LOL.

    • _dje

      I'm sure the mystery striker, even when named, could only have been identified through recourse of Wikipedia. We don't name names because we don't do Names.

  • number1inyorkshire

    Parker was poor as was o,brien .we should be playing bromby he is better than O B , think Parker needs fitness but i don,t think he will get a new deal .

    Man of the match would have been a city player ,leeds man of the match was Clayton ,Sam , Nunez mccormack ,Clayton taking it but mccormack was fantastic too .

    we still have a problem with defence and formation but the win was most important last night i feel a defeat would have had serious implications for Grayson .

    middlesbrough will be a different beast ,but we need to get it sorted

  • Mark__R

    DEFENSIVELY poor again : Parker , AOB & Paddy all returning from injury and it shows. We lack speed & organisation. With Connolly they appear unfamiliar in playing as a unit . We need to play Lees & a new younger left back or White.As SG & Coaches have been unable to organise the team to stem the flow of goals, it is now time to bring in a specialist defensive coach.
    MIDFIELD : Clayton has been a revelation – a lot of energy & focus. Howson – going forward ok & creative. Brown – the jury's out. Sam – very creative at times.
    ATTACK: Nunez – lacked composure on occasion – however a 2 goal return is good and he'll grow in confidence .McCormack is not a lone striker and needs to play off a big man.It is glaringly obvious that we need a big bloke up front to be on the end of crosses & make space & time for others.

    Five goals conceded in 2 games , against a a newly promoted team and a league 2 team – is extremely poor.We are now going to come up against some established Championship teams so it's only going to get harder. I know the squad is very patchy but I still think that the match strategy, tactics and player motivation is not quite right.
    MOT

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