Leeds United 3-2 Crystal Palace

Suspended Aidy White and injured Adam Clayton were replaced by 17-year-old Charlie Taylor and 34-year-old Michael Brown for Leeds. Those were the first indications that The Whites may have trouble against an in-form Palace side who started the game sixth in the Championship.

Our fears looked to be misplaced however when the young Charlie Taylor put a superb cross in for Ross McCormack to fire Leeds United into the lead with only 8 minutes on the clock.

From there however, Leeds crumbled. Within five minutes Palace had leveled things and by the 20th minute of the game Leeds were 2-1 behind.

The problem wasn’t so much the makeshift defence which consisted of two youngsters on the wings with Paddy and on-loan O’Dea in the centre, but the total absence of a Leeds United midfield.

Michael Brown’s biggest contribution to the match was a bit of shouting here and there, Jonny Howson had clearly decided to join Adam Clayton and take the day off and Robert Snodgrass hadn’t played this badly in a long time.

Then there was Ramon Nunez who was played on the wing to fill the position Max Gradel left behind. Within the first twenty minutes it had become evident that he had no defensive ability whatsoever and Palace were exposing this weakness time and again.

Quite how The Whites made it to half time only a goal down was a mystery for the ages, but it did give us an undeserved lifeline. The problem was that the Elland Road crowd were now on the players backs and the only outcome seemed to be a Leeds United defeat.

But 15 minutes into the second half Simon Grayson made the changes necessary to get Leeds back into the game. Luciano Becchio returned and instantly lifted the crowd coming on alongside Mikael Forssell for Ramon Nunez and Andy Keogh. Nunez was about as impressed with his own performance as the rest of us were, throwing a Max Gradel-esque hissy fit as he left the field – this was the first time all day he’d resembled the Ivorian.

A little over ten minutes after coming on Luciano Becchio made the kind of return we’d all been hoping for. Left totally unmarked in the box, he headed home to level the scores before heading off to the bench to celebrate with our coaching staff.

Palace looked deflated and Leeds looked to capitalise but chances went begging and Palace started to get their noses back in front.

It seemed for the first time all season however that Lady Luck was smiling down on Leeds. With a little over five minutes remaining, Mikael Forssell found Ross McCormack who managed to net a totally undeserved winner.


Overall, this was one of the worst displays I’ve seen in the past few seasons.

Some will point to the defence as reason for our poor showing, but it’s hard to escape the fact our midfield did nothing to support them. Every single one of them should be heading home tonight to look themselves in the mirror and ask if they think their performance was worthy of wearing the white shirt.

Our lack of depth is well documented, and that was exposed today by Clayton’s absence – we looked a totally different team without him. But it wasn’t so much the quality of the players fielded, as the effort they put in which was most concerning for me.

Palace will feel they should have won this one, and I can’t argue with that. Leeds were extremely lucky to come away with three points, but it’s all swings and roundabouts I guess. We dropped undeserved points to Boro, Ipswich and arguably West Ham so something had to go for us sooner or later. I just hope the win isn’t used to disguise the glaringly obvious problems we have.