An injury time fumble from Paul Rachubka cost The Whites victory at Elland Road last night as Darren O’Dea’s first goal for the club was cancelled out by Coventry City defender Richard Wood – a childhood Leeds United fan.

It was the old tale of two halves stuff for Leeds, dominating in the first half and in front thanks to an excellent strike from Darren O’Dea. It should have been more, with Ross McCormack heading over early doors and missing a six yard sitter just before half time.

But whilst Leeds remained dominant in terms of possession, the second half was a poor one with few chances created to kill the game off. Simon Grayson brought Luciano Becchio, Mikael Forssell and Mika Varynynen on midway through the period but the changes did nothing to improve a slow and uninspiring second half display.

And as the game slowly neared it’s conclusion, Coventry City sensed an opportunity to snatch an unlikely point from Elland Road and began committing additional players forward. Leeds’ previously high-line of defence was pegged back, and with it went every other player in a white shirt who frantically tried to regain control and see the game out.

It wasn’t pretty, but Leeds did seem to be riding out the late storm until Paul Rachubka spilled in the box with Richard Wood on hand to turn home. A real sickener for the home fans who will have felt they’d done enough to take all three points, despite an under par performance.

Ups and downs 

Andy Lonergan – who was apparently “touch and go” for the Coventry City game – will now be out for six weeks according to the club which is another worrying example of the Thorp Arch medical staff misjudging the extent of a players injury. But that’s beside the point, because Lonergan’s injury means Rachubka will be in goal for a congested run of fixtures so needs to put last night’s blunder behind him quickly and concentrate on the task ahead.

Aside from the injury time error Rachubka was pretty solid so we shouldn’t have too much of a problem. It is however a little worrying that the improved Leeds United defence – of which Andy Lonergan has been an invaluable part – has been split up already, but we need to be able to adapt to the loss of key players if we’re to challenge this season, so this will be an interesting test of our squad depth if nothing else.

Last night was the first time since the new rules came in that I was cursing the change to a five man bench. Shortly before the substitutions took place I was looking at the options we had available and didn’t feel they’d do much to change the game. We needed a little pace, a couple of creative players that would have run at Coventry City and put them under pressure and with a seven man bench I suspect Ramon Nunez and Lloyd Sam would have been sat there ready to deliver.

Perhaps a little complacency crept in after two clean sheets and the lads felt the points were already in the bag, or maybe our Tuesday night curse has returned to haunt us? Whatever the explanation, Leeds United didn’t perform well enough last night, and whilst we were certainly unlucky not to take all three points, we shouldn’t have been in a situation where we were clinging onto a one goal lead in the first place.

  • irving08

    Agree with the review. Three items concerned me last night: (a) we are heavily dependent on just one player (Snoddy) for creativity: our midfield pairing, hardworking though it is (especially Clayton), lacks a creative spark, or anyone (such as Killa last season) who can put their foot on the ball; (b) Becchio and Forsell are not a viable pairing (it made no sense to take both Mack and Keogh off – Simon tried planning for the next game last season and it never came off (eg Pompey at home); (c) like the Editor I think we needed pace off the bench – to stretch their defence, which must have been delighted to only have to deal with two big, slow men (the classy Forsell sadly seems to have lost his legs – while Becchio needs a whole match to get his moving properly). Finally, though I don’t like to say it, I think we need a new leader on the field: Howson is a tad too narcissistic (elegant?) for the role. Having said that the match should have been well out of their reach by half-time. The Bates out stuff was depressing: 21,500 for Coventry on an unpleasant night was an acceptable gate, in my view.

  • kev

    I blame Grayson for last nights draw realy,took off the best 3 players on the pitch in Snodders,mcCormack and keogh and replaced with 2 unfit strikers in my eyes, Becchio looked knackered after 10 minutes and it is quite obvious that Becchio and Forssell cant play together and were standing on each others toes,defo Nunez coming on with abit of pace would have been a better substitution,defence looked alot better though !

  • MikeM

    “which is
    another worrying example of the Thorp Arch medical staff misjudging the
    extent of a players injury”
    Did it every occur to you that they simply withheld the information as a competitive advantage?  Why just tell the world you are without your #1 keeper immediately when your opponent 4 days on will have to guess who to prepare for? 

    • TSS

      Same competitive advantage they had when they totally misjudged the extent of Becchio’s injury? 

      If it was a one off, fair enough, but this is a regular occurrence nowadays. I can’t remember the last time a player returned in the time frame our medical staff predicted.  

      I don’t wish to come across harsh on the fitness staff, they do a difficult and important job. I just the communication out of Elland Road is making them look a little ridiculous. 

      • Anonymous

        the whole of the backroom lot including snodin should be reviewed ,you only have to look some of them to see if we could do better

  • Matthew

    Easy to blame the goalkeeper when the general performance and finish was just poor for the whole team, we should of had at least 3 – 4 more goals in this game, just we obviously didn’t turn up, had we turned up Rachubkas mistake would of just been a minor annoyance and nothing more.

    I don’t think we deserved 3 points with last nights performance, and a draw would of been generous at best, we got what we deserved out of this game and I personally would of accepted a loss too, we just wern’t good enough to put the game away, and Graysons subtitutions fked the game up majorly and made a worse situation worse lol.

    As I said on the other blog post you made TSS if we play like that in our next 3 games we’l get nothing from them, and we’l plummet down the table like a stone, hell we’l be playing musical chairs with Nottingham forest.

  • Anonymous

    Lonegan had an op so they knew he would be out !!!..
    Its hard on keepers a mistake so near to the goal often ends in tragedy .we were shocking as has been said in the second half ..

    A draw is a draw unless its a 93+min equaliser then its a loss???
    we are 2-3 points from 3rd with a game in hand its better than i thought it would be a few weeks ago .
    Alright it was a mistake but the back four were ok again

    • Matthew

      I think the universal opinion is that 3 points would of came in handy as we have some awfully difficult games to come, having 21 points when facing teams like Peterborough, Cardiff, Birmingham, and soon teams like Leicester, Burnley would be great, especially as said teams will make us work for a result and are harder than pretty much every team we’ve had a win over thus far this season.

  • Matthew Brown-Bolton

    well i sadi ti would be 1-1 with a last minute equaliser. It wouldnt be us if we didnt snatch a draw from the jaws of victory.

  • Pingback: The Monday Profile: Tom Lees | The Two Unfortunates()