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.

Conclusions

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.

  • Henry V L

    Spot on TSS.
    That result may have saved Simon’s job.
    Another shambles with a happy ending.
    Simon said on thursday that he might have 2 players in for today!!
    What the hell is going on?
    Our midfield was dreadful but we did not have the option to re-inforce it at half time.
    It is wonderful that Lucciano has returned.
    I would play Keogh out left for the next game, with Forrsall and McCormack up front. Lucciano must be eased back gradually!
    Keogh will work back and support the midfield and defence.
    Ramon will not.

  • TSS poor poor poor report

    Christ almighty, why do I bother to waste my eyesight reading such crap from a supposed Leeds fan… ffs

    • Tez

      Not sure what your problem is I was at the game and the report is totally accurate

      • neil1964

        Strange really coz I thought despite a lack of quality the players gave everything they could. Taylor can be proud of himself but Lees will want to forget this game, both goals coming from his side of the pitch.For me, the players are defo playing for Grayson. Looks like we`re gonna have to outscore teams to win.

        • Anonymous

          a lot of it will be confidence……..they need a couple of wins –  Unlucky results, Gradel leaves and the fans are angry……..all this will effect the team.  Lees is quality but yes i think he would be best at centre back

      • neil1964

        Strange really coz I thought despite a lack of quality the players gave everything they could. Taylor can be proud of himself but Lees will want to forget this game, both goals coming from his side of the pitch.For me, the players are defo playing for Grayson. Looks like we`re gonna have to outscore teams to win.

    • Duval77

      FFS mate which game were you at? TSS report spot on, worst performance I’ve seen for a long time, 2 centre midfielders needed asap, at least we won tho! MOT

    • madhead

      theres no way that you can disagree with this report. wasting your eyesight? you’ve clearly got severe problems with your eyesight if you thought leeds played well today!

      • Disgruntled fan

        Are you wrong in the head

    • He_mase

      This is the best report of the game I have seen. Spot on.

  • Ok6ag

    Brown’s 34, but yeah

    • TSS

      Had already edited mate, it had just cached.

  • Matt

    Fits with my understanding of the match. My big concern is that nobody knows what is wrong with the defence. Is it, as you say, the midfield? Is it Paddy? O’Dea? Lees at RB? I don’t know what the issue is.

    Is White good enough? I thought he excelled against West Ham. Why is Connolly out of the side? Lees better than O’Dea in the middle?

    Lonergan, McCormack, Clayton and Becchio are the only guaranteed starters for me. The remaining 7 shirts are up for grabs, but we don’t have enough depth in the squad to grab them.

    • Bubionwhite

      Question is Matt, is Lees better than Kisnorbo in the middle … O’Dea was probably the best defender. Once again a missing midfield, including Jonny Howson when we play a 4-4-2 

  • loveleeds

    when will johnny Howson lovers wake up, he is good going forward and terrible coming back this was exposed during this match as he was partnered by Brown who is also bad.If you play central midfield you have to be good going forward and back.

    • Shakamoto Airways

      loveleeds – Did you go to the match or listen to the commentary? Jonny Howson was physically sick on the pitch. He was actually sick.

      Either he ran so much that he made himself sick, or, he wasn’t fit to start and did so anyway because he’s the captain and forced himself to play?

      Either way, he deserves some sympathy and credit for putting himself through that.

    • David Grayson

      tit

  • Mattk

    Lessons for the day, I would suggest:

    – Brown is unlikely to prove good enough to warrant a starting spot;
    – We need to pray that Clayton stays fit over the season, without him our midfield is not combative and imposing enough;
    – Howson is too lightweight for a central ‘balanced’ midfielder- as stated elsewhere he’s better as an attacking mid- arguably gets away with it when Clayton does all the rough stuff for him;
    – Nunez- still love him but may be best used as a super sub unless space is found for him in an AMC role- problem being that’s also Howson’s best position!
    -McCormack is going to be very important for us in terms of bagging goals this season- him plus Becchio as the first choice pairing? If we need to bring Forssell etc on Mac can also work on the left wing;
    – Becchio is Spanish for ‘Talisman’
    – Very pleased with progress of Lees and to a lesser extent White, also high hopes for Taylor and Thompson- thank christ these guys, plujs of course Clayton, have come thru or we’d be totally screwed!
    – Lonergan is also going to be important for us as we will always give the opposition chances and he will help keep the goals against down
    – I sense another season where we will need to score at least 2 if not 3 to win games and counterbalance the goals conceded- clean sheets will be few and far between AGAIN- this is the biggest problem the team faces- soft goals all over the shop.
    – Any more for any more?

    • Craig R

      I agree that the emergence of Lees as been a plus this season but today you could see he is a centre half filling in at right back. He was awful today. His confidence was shot early on. His distribution was poor. I would bring back Connelly at right back and move Lees to centre half for Kisnorbo. He is going to be a liability through the season. He has no pace at all. It was like having Butler and Gregan at the back again today!!!

  • Mattk

    Lessons for the day, I would suggest:

    – Brown is unlikely to prove good enough to warrant a starting spot;
    – We need to pray that Clayton stays fit over the season, without him our midfield is not combative and imposing enough;
    – Howson is too lightweight for a central ‘balanced’ midfielder- as stated elsewhere he’s better as an attacking mid- arguably gets away with it when Clayton does all the rough stuff for him;
    – Nunez- still love him but may be best used as a super sub unless space is found for him in an AMC role- problem being that’s also Howson’s best position!
    -McCormack is going to be very important for us in terms of bagging goals this season- him plus Becchio as the first choice pairing? If we need to bring Forssell etc on Mac can also work on the left wing;
    – Becchio is Spanish for ‘Talisman’
    – Very pleased with progress of Lees and to a lesser extent White, also high hopes for Taylor and Thompson- thank christ these guys, plujs of course Clayton, have come thru or we’d be totally screwed!
    – Lonergan is also going to be important for us as we will always give the opposition chances and he will help keep the goals against down
    – I sense another season where we will need to score at least 2 if not 3 to win games and counterbalance the goals conceded- clean sheets will be few and far between AGAIN- this is the biggest problem the team faces- soft goals all over the shop.
    – Any more for any more?

  • Mattk

    Oh yeah:

    – we really are short of decent cover in the midfield, and there’s still a damn good argument to bring in a left back and a new CB- loans for now, good money spent in Jan FFS
    – many of these points are not news but worth listing!! ;-)

    • Shakamoto Airways

      Matt, by January, it’ll be too late. Keep playing like that and we’ll lose more than we win and Grayson will be gone.

      • Mattk

        I’m not going to argue with you there. Huge FAIL in Summer transfers wise. Nevertheless we can but hope that in Jan we’re in or around the play offs thanks largely to Lonergan and our strike force, and we can strengthen and go from there. REALLY hope we don’t fade again as we have last two seasons. That’s a helluva lot of ifs and buts I know!  

  • Shakamoto Airways

    There was a robbery in Leeds today as 11 men in white shirts stole 3 points from a bunch of Londoners.

    • David Grayson

      after all the shit with been thru this bit of luck was well deserved

  • Shakamoto Airways

    Interestingly, at the post match interview between Grayson and Eddie Gray, Grayson was about to be cut off but he asked to stay on because he just wanted to say something – a thank you to the fans and he was sincere. Unusual and quite interesting. He almost seemed apologetic. He knows he’s up against it and under pressure. To say he’d just grabbed 3 points, he wasn’t happy. I got the impression that he knew that he/Leeds had ballsed up in the transfer market and that this season isn’t panning out as he’d hoped.

  • trueyorxman

    Your conclusion is absolutely spot on, nothing else needs to be said

  • Colin

    Crystal Palace are not the pushover they once were. To get three points from this tie was excellent,whether ,poor,indifferent,or reasonable display, The Peacocks did well.There won’t be many teams that will turn Palace over during the course of the season.

  • Tyler75

    How about the positives ?
    – McCormack is back to his best and the prospect of him and Becchio  together upfront should scare the pants off any defence in this league
    – Aside from the above Forsell looks an inspired signing and in what looks likely to be a tight league again this season and like last season, the teams with the better firepower will be the ones that get themselves into the top 6.    
    – Finally, with few options SG is finally trusting in youth; which has got to be positive for the future. When was the last time we gave a 17 yr old  a league debut. Delph ? Milner ?
    – Palace are a decent side; we didn’t play well yet we still got 3 points and as a team showed a lot of resilience to come from behind.
    – Andy Lonegran is a top class ‘keeper.  

    • eastcoaster

      Aidy White in 2008 was only 16

  • Ray

    Any one having a problem with the page loading correctly on their I phone. The story loads but then as the comments loads the story part goes blank. Forget the performance we got the 3 points we desperately needed. MOT

    • Mike

      Yep, same problem here in my iPad

      • Scorah

        same on my ipad too…and on the Mrs one. Seems like a TSS problem rather than our hardware. Any ideas folks?

  • Anonymous

    Has everyone forgotten the last three games?  Good performance against Hull, good performance against West Ham – could have picked up the win; and dominated Ipswich until a dodgy refereeing decision cost us the game.  Today we were poor until Becchio and Forssell came on; but the team deserves some credit for finding a way to win when we really didn’t deserve it.

    We all know our defending is poor; but defending in the Champ is generally poor in my opinion.  Our first two goals were both as much due to poor marking as to anything else …..

    Three points we probably didn’t deserve – but I’ll take ‘em in compensation for Ipswich ……..

  • Anonymous

    So…..”Nunez will replace Gradel”……my ass will he :o)

    To me Snodgrass is already thinking about a big premiership pay day at the end of the season rather than playing for ambitionless Leeds United.

    The backline is ok, but long term I see Lees replacing Kisnorbo in central defence if we can find a decent right back.

    AS for the wing I dont think Pugh is the “knight” in shining armour…..better than nunez there perhaps but hes no Gradel replacement. Id be tempted to try a striker there……

    As for Grayson being sacked, to me that would be a travesty considering how little financial support hes had in transfers. The guy is Leeds through and through and hes not negiating transfers, Bates lacky is.

    23k attendance, if we can get below 17k it might raise some eyebrows

  • Tim campbell

    I have harped on and on about us signing nick montgomery for over a year now – he would have been ideal in the centre of midfield. Why more of an effort to sign him up was’nt made i’ll never know. This game showed how much we will rely on adam clayton this year. As for the game today I prefer to think that we deserve a huge slice of luck after previous games, and today was the day we got it!!

  • lar.

    as i live in the usa,tn..its hard to get info on how leeds actually play,listening to gray and lorimer is hard to take.im beginning to think that simon grayson is way out of his league.since he came to elland road he still has not a starting 11,the back four always leaking goals,his trial and error with on loans,freebees and other players is beyond belief.the excuses from the club by manager and chairman is the same week in week out. the ground seems to be still under some sort of building that all the incoming cash is going,thorp arch falling down.
    then leeds display at elland road today makes one wonder what is happening to leeds united.
    im not even going into the history of bates but it could repeat its self and leeds and its fans will be left hanging from a tree.
    as i look further down the road,years,it very hard to see leeds play in europe again under present fathers and coaches.thanks for the info tss as i will always keep the faith….leeeeeeeedddddsss.

  • ludlowleeds

    Our performances this season merited this win. But the cracks can’t be papered over. Grayson is aware of, and sympethetic to, our concerns; he is one of us after all.

    Phil Hay got it spot-on this week. Either Grayson’s sights are set too high or the wage structure is too low. We all know it’s the latter, and Larry is just as frustrated as we are.

  • Shakamoto Airways

    TSS – you saw the match – was Jonny sick before the start of the game or did he just get sick because he ran too much or is he just sick of Leeds?

  • Anonymous

    you know what they say about playing badly and winning !!!!!!
    3 points is the only thing that mattered today

  • Ellisno9

    can someone tell sg to stop playing mick brown, he’s shit.

    • Anonymous

      There are times when I love our fans so much ……..

      So who would you have played in place of Brown, Ellisno9?

      And what about Howson, who was completely anonymous in the first half?  (And who’s most memorable contribution to the game was to vomit on the pitch??)

      …. but then he’s a Leeds lad, so can do no wrong.

      Doubtless you’re one of those who wrote off Shaun Derry as being “shit” as well ……..

      Yes, I do love our fans …………

      • Shakamoto Airways

        “So who would you have played in place of Brown, Ellisno9?”
        Maybe Bradley Johnson or Kilkenny, but we couldn’t because we let them walk for free.

        “And what about Howson, who was completely anonymous in the first half?  (And who’s most memorable contribution to the game was to vomit on the pitch??)”

        Who would you have played in place of Howson, Yorkshrman?

        • Anonymous

          You’re missing the point, Shakamoto …… Brown and Howson were both equally ineffective, but Brown gets all the stick while Howson goes unmentioned.  Some half-wit who sits near me was yelling “Get off the pitch, Brown” within the first 5 minutes.  It must be great for the guy to hear support like that …..

          As for Johnson and Kilkenny, do you really think either of them would have done a great deal yesterday?

          • Jimmy one eye

            Certainly not Kilkenny, who i would have quite happily drove to Bristol myself. A few fans sat near me who need to look up what the word supporter means, just something you have to put up with at Elland Rd im afraid.

  • Shakamoto Airways

    Last season against Crystal Palace: 25,476 attendanceToday: 23,916

    Where’s the other 1500 ticket holders Ken?

    At £30 a ticket, that’s £45,000 less that you’ve made today and add onto that the sales of beers, burgers, chips, and car air fresheners etc.

    Where’s the business acumen?

    By the way, if you fancied taking your children today to West Ham, it was kids for a quid. 

    West Ham’s attendance today was 33,465. Enough said.

  • Anonymous

    just watched highlights Ross mccormack gets more confident as games go by .well done to him for sticking by it getting his head down and taking it on the chin when not playing alright it seems he was injured quite a bit last season too but 20 goals looks on the cards this time .feel a bit sorry for Keogh who has been fantastic with no goals becchio comes on and bags one ….
    howson in my opinion needs some time out of the team it was also in my opinion the wrong choice as captain .we have to remember he is still only young ,but even when he is ill ?? or even just rubbish he plays every week he is fantastic player but i do not think he is one of the few we have who could play in prem at the mo ,time will tell .

    as for the captain i would have said paddy ,is he now struggling because he feels he needs to look after the kids ,lees,white ,Taylor it looks like we haven’t sorted that out yet should Pugh come left back will be sorted .

    LASTLY i do agree with shakomoto on kids prices ,they are the future £1,£5 is enough for a kid with a paying adult especially if they have paid the membership , and it is them that buy the burgers ,and stuff in the shop its a real missed opportunity .

    we all know of missed opportunities down at elland road

  • Supergray

    I didn’t go to the game but did listen to the commentary. There is no doubt that we were fotunate to take 3 points.

    Rose tinted positives:
    * The spirit seems to be there. We have won a game that seemed to me to be all over at half time.
    * Yes the central midfield was awful but it did include a player who has been out for a month having only played 3 games in the last year and who only trained once or twice last week. Is there any surprise he was not up to it? Then the other player was clearly unwell and vomited on the field of play!
    * Becchio is back

    Reality:
    * The midfield fielded today highlights the epic failure of the transfer window. With all due respect to Adam Clayton (he has been immense) does anybody believe that grayson really planned him to be playing such a pivotal role this season? We failed to get any kind of adequate replacements for this position in the summer and claytons emergence in my opinion is highly fortunate. Imagine where we’d be if he’d turned out to be Michael brown mk 2!!
    * Youngsters. I am over the moon that we appear to have some decent young players coming through. However, same point as with Clayton – grayson had no idea that lees would come back and be a revelation at right back (yesterday aside). In fact it was only Connolly’s continued pathetic performances that even gave him his chance, not grayson spotting that we didn’t need strengthening here (shown by the fact that we pursued lichaj for so long). Furthermore, aidy white, cha4lie taylor, sac Thompson – are they getting games because they have proved to grayson they are good enough or because of our epic failure in the transfer market? Simon hardly has a strong record for blooding youngsters. * Nunez. He is a luxury player whose only positon is in the hole behind the striker – not out left. Unfortunately this is also howsons best position – so if we play the 4 5 1 I can’t help but think that jonny will play there now often than not. To exacerbate the issue we couldn’t play 4 5 1 even if we wanted to because we have a completely imbalanced squad. Ie, 6 first team strikers (incl Somma) and a severe lack of proper central midfielders – to the extent that mccormack even dropped in there yesterday.

    But then again what do I know about football eh :-)

    MOT

    • Nickolas

      Your right you dont know much about football

      • killinghall247

        Bit cheap that Nickolas, critique an opinion by all means, but bitchy comments are a bit low.

  • trueyorxman

    Everyone knows Howson hasn’t a clue when asked to play in a 4-4-2 formation, he’s a professional footballer paid £1000s each week but he can’t adapt to different formations, gobsmacking, but he’s a Leeds lad so we must stick by him or play 4-5-1 just to suit him. As much as I despise them we need at least 3 loan signings (Danny Pugh plus whoever, anyone any ideas?)

    • Duval77

      Andros townend to replace gradel, Dawson from WBA at the back and Pugh for his versatility?

  • Supergray

    One other thing:
    * Replacing Gradel. A virtually impossible task without spending decent money. Gradel was a top, top player for this level. Players like that don’t play at this level for very long, very often. 18 goals from midfield is a big hole to fill. Generally clubs don’t have ready made, equal quality replacements waiting in the wings already within their squad. We don’t. I’d love Sam or Nunez to be the answer but for all of their respective qualities they are no max Gradel. Personally I see grayson moving mccormack in there but he is scoring goals and playing well right now so not ideal. Either way losing Gradel is a massive loss and one that won’t be easy to solve.

  • Banditsteve123

    Not great yesterday but its a win,if we can get pugh in id play him at LB and play white LM his pace would be best used there.Anyone else very worried by man u game  they could really destroy us

  • Tyler75

    Worth reading the BBC review of the game as they seem to have a more favourable view of  yesterday’s performance. With the scoreline summed up as:
    ‘It was no less than Leeds deserved from an open encounter.’

    • TSS

      We were talking about that earlier on twitter, I’ve yet to find anyone at the game that agrees with it. Leeds were woeful and extremely lucky. 

  • Rozo

    first half was really bad and second half not much better. We ere certainly lucky to win. Nunez was rubbish. Agree about Snoddy he did not look happy either with his own performance or that of the team. If we don’t sign some quality soon you can expect him to get on his bike and leave. He is another who soon throws his dummy out though. Snoddy is O.K when the team play well but if not he is a mardy arsed chuff. Nunez was rubbish (have I said that) and yes we badly missed Gradel and Clayton. At the moment we are a much weaker team than last year. Promotion? No chance this year.

  • Anonymous

    The problem is, with no promotion this season a sure bet, we will likely lose Snodgrass and Clayton in the Summer.  And if you think they would be replaced with better players you really need to wake up to the cold hard reality that is Leeds United.  When the construction work ends Ken will look to sell (I hope), if anyone wants to spend ridiculous amounts of money buying a football club during a recession then our future will start there………

  • Beene

    Brown just doesn’t cut it…fortunate win which goes part way to balancing unfortunate losses against Ipswich & Boro.