With new manager Neil Warnock watching on, Leeds United came from two goals behind to stun Doncaster Rovers and send Neil Redfearn back to the youth team with a win.

Leeds trailed 0-1 at the interval after some absent defending forced Andy Lonergan to come out and try to pluck the ball from a Doncaster Rovers players feet. Unfortunately, the ball ran free to Bogayoko and with Lonergan still down and the defence doing their best traffic cones impression, it was all too easy for Bagayoko to fire home.

It was poor viewing for Neil Warnock. There was very little fight from Leeds and a couple of half chances was the best they could muster. Donny meanwhile were unlucky not to be further ahead after an audacious back-heel attempt rebound off the post earlier in the game.

Whilst not technically in charge until tomorrow, the first half viewing left Neil Warnock so incensed he decided to head for the dressing room and share his half time thoughts.

The reaction wasn’t instantaneous however, and further dismal defending left Andy Lonergan trying to cut out a cross that ultimately beat him leaving Bagayoko an open net into which he fired his second. There was some debate about whether he was onside or not, but in all honesty, it was nothing less than Leeds’ amateurish defending deserved.

But the reaction was swift. Leeds went straight up the other end and Andros Townsend fired in an excellently taken equaliser within two minutes of Donny’s second. 2-1.

Andros Townsend continued to look threatening, striking a long-range effort wide a couple of minutes later before sending a solid cross in for Becchio to force a save. This made it all the more confusing when he was replaced by début-making Robbie Rogers with around 15 minutes remaining, but curiosity reigned and there were few complaints from the Leeds United faithful.

Leeds United’s equaliser soon followed, but it was Robert Snodgrass – the man Robbie Rogers will hope to emulate – that provided the cross for Adam Clayton to fire home superbly with his first touch. 2-2 and Clayton surged towards the crowd signalling for them to raise the atmosphere.

The crowd duly responded, but the game slowed as the referee lost control and a series of stoppages and bookings followed.

During this passage of non-play, Robbie Rogers was given an unenviable welcome to English football, first clotheslined by a Doncaster Rovers player before clashing heads with Tommy Spurr.

Worrying scenes followed as the two players laid barely moving for the best part of five minutes, before the stretchers came on and our new signing was taken to hospital. Reports since say that he has sustained a concussion and has absolutely no recollection of the incident. We wish Rogers a speedy recovery.

By the time play resumed, the match was now into it’s 95-96th minute, with the fourth official having already indicated for an additional five minutes added time – all of which was still to be played.

Doncaster went for broke forcing a late corner but Leeds United have made a habit of extra-time winners so it was no surprise to see Luciano Becchio fire home at the other end in the 99th minute. 3-2 and a great strike it was too.

The Argentinian made clear who he was dedicating the goal to by holding off his teammates and charging towards caretaker boss Neil Redfearn to celebrate – class act.

Ups and downs

So the Neil Redfearn era comes to an end with 6 points from 12, but these were easy fixtures that most fans will have expected a minimum of 9-10 points from. That said, Ken Bates left him in an impossible situation with a hostile crowd on his back, a team totally devoid of fight and a media circus speculating about who our next manager will be. The football was barely an afterthought.

For that reason alone, Neil Redfearn deserves praise. Fans agreed that the search for a new manager should have been more urgent, but Ken Bates tested the cheap option under impossible circumstances and the results were somewhat predictable. Nevertheless, Redfearn carried himself with dignity throughout, providing a composed and professional front to an otherwise circus-like Leeds United Football Club. He returns to the youth team with nothing but my best wishes.

As for the individual players, well, Alex Bruce is no more a right-back than I am a superhero and the rest of the defence, particularly Tom Lees, come out with little credit either. I’m sure some will blame Andy Lonergan for the two goals, but all he did was try to regain control, it was the defence’s failure to protect him that was the real issue here. The midfield must also take some criticism for their failure to support the back-line.

There has been very little to praise about Michael Brown’s performances so far, but he was instrumental in the turnaround today and I’m predicting much more from him under Neil Warnock. It wasn’t so much his contribution in a footballing sense as it was his mere presence on the field. This was a derby fixture with absolutely no fight, and within minutes of Brown coming on he was yelling at his team mates to get stuck in and there seemed to be an immediate reaction.

Scottish duo Snodgrass and McCormack likewise were visibly unhappy and demanding more from their team mates. I suspect the change of management will coincide with a change of captain and if it isn’t one of the three mentioned, I’d be incredibly surprised.

We need to regain that ‘everyone-hates-us-and-we-don’t-care’, ‘us-against-the-world mentality’ that the success of this club was once built upon and players like Michael Brown, Robert Snodgrass and Ross McCormack are key to that. None of them are afraid to stick in a crunching, crowd-lifting tackle and they’re all leaders on the pitch. I mean no disrespect to Andy Lonergan in saying this, but he was never the right choice to replace Jonny Howson.

Finally, in an attacking sense Leeds went from one extreme to the next. You can’t really criticise the effort because our failures were often a result of over-enthusiasm. Robert Snodgrass and Andros Townsend – who both had excellent patches – were both guilty of taking one touch too many as they desperately tried to create something.

Luciano Becchio was absolutely dreadful in the first half, only to return looking like a different player in the second. His lack of consistency lately is a real concern, but like Snodgrass and Townsend you can never really fault his effort.

Alongside Becchio, McCormack was once again tireless. Visibly and understandably frustrated, he spent half the game tracking back to try and create something for himself. Throughout this dodgy patch of fixtures lately, Ross has been a constant shining light. He just looks hungrier than everyone else and has that fighting quality Leeds United fans will always admire. 10/10 for me.

Ultimately, a win is a win. It doesn’t really matter how you win so long as the final score leaves you with three additional points on the board. This squad needs an authoritarian figure who will inject a fighting personality throughout the team and in our new manager, I think we have that.

Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the Neil Warnock era.

Post-match comments from Warnock:

Rate the players v Doncaster Rovers

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28 Responses

  1. number1inyorkshire

    another none performance rescued by the result although the quality of the goals was fantastic .

    i think redfearns tenture as leeds manager has rightly come to an end ,and it was clear as he shuffled his pack again that he was never good enough to be leeds full time manager .

    a clash of the yorkshires but a local derby not for me ..

    nothing against Bruce but if he wasn’t going to play smith he should have played connolly at right back .

    the change for me was the introduction of Brown who i feel will get a run under warnock and maybe even become his captain in the near future .townsend had a decent game ,snodders is trying too hard ,and becchio who scored a fantastic goal will have to up his overall game .my man of the match and in general our best player in the squad was mccormack ,white was quiet odea was ok ..

    robbie rogers looked ok in his chameo hope he is ok ..

    The result was the main thing and what a result as it happened , would have like to have been down that tunnel at the end as cop after cop ran down to sort something out .rumour has it it wasn’t a scrap they all just wanted to have a dig at diouf

  2. TimPM

    I agree. Redfearn had a tough task.

    Also that we need to get a siege mentality again.

    It’s interesting that Warnock reckons some of the lads were over-stressed by the expectations. Clearly he had a big impact, helping Redders out from the stand. Can’t wait to see Snoddy behind the strikers if he follows up on what he said – much harder to double-mark him out of the game if he’s central.

    • number1inyorkshire

      @TimPM snodders is a striker for me tim, in the hole there will be fantastic just another slight criticism for me we should be crossing once or twice earlier not always getting to bi line .differing angles for becchio .

      good result though in the end

  3. mralchemy

    i think I might have smiled slightly tonight………i cant remember what a proper smile is……

    Warnock is the new man, he seems to have spotted our weaknesses straight away,

    Lets hope this is the start of a special relationship….I think he has come at a good time when we are at a low and expectations are not very high. Lets hope he can get them doing the basics and enjoying their football….and get us all smiling again.

  4. TSS

    No need to discredit Grayson. He had a successful time in charge at Leeds, hopefully Warnock will too.

    Thing with football sometimes is that it takes someone new to point out the bleeding-well-obvious and for anyone to take any notice. I think the players got stuck in their ways personally, I don’t doubt Simon Grayson’s tactical ability (it’s ridiculous of anyone to do so, he was a pro footballer and knows more about the game than any of us ever will) but we perhaps reached a stage where the players weren’t responding – that seems to happen to all managers after a few years. Fans start to question them, players pick up on that and their authority is undermined. Players, like fans, start to think they know better.

    • TimPM

      @TSS I don’t think you can blame the fans for players not responding to Grayson (in the hypothetical world that that’s what happened).

  5. RickHx

    What a pleasure to hear a manager talk sense, identifying where things are going wrong instead of just blaming the players, who are just playing to the managers instructions. I’m really looking forward to seeing how Warnock changes things. Almost wish I had re-newed now.

  6. TSS

    Paynter played 23 games, mostly as sub. This has been twisted so much now people consider him our first choice striker of last season. And let’s not forget, the fans were fully behind him for the most part – he went agonising close more times per game than anyone I’ve ever seen, there was always a sense that once he scored, the floodgates would open. People also ignore the fact he was praised initially and considered a hard-working target man. Fans only remember what suits their argument in the moment.

    But this is just another example of fan criticism in hindsight. Anyone can point out the obvious after the fact, it’s not difficult. But no one ever says it at the time. And that’s what Grayson’s alleged tactical weakness has been based on – fans picking faults in hindsight. Look back at any game, any player and any manager and I could find fault with them – it’s easy when you’re looking so damn hard for them. The reality is, all that matters is the end result and more often than not, Grayson got that.

    My point is, undermining Grayson is a nonsense. The man did well for this club and will do well again elsewhere. He should be remembered for the successes he achieved and an incredible win ratio, despite absolutely no funding and a series of signings that allegedly failed. Under those circumstances, he’s either a fucking magician or an extremely good manager.

  7. Speedythewhite

    When I heard the interview with Neil Warnock I realised that I had sat and watched all his changes and not reallly understood them – with the exception of Brown replacing Pugh which I thought was excellent (then again at the time I thought this was Redfearn not wanting Pugh sent off) – Brown ran midfield and spread the play bringing White and Bruce into the game. Next area to address on Monday is the defence!!!!

  8. Tyler75

    Best post-match analysis and common sense I’ve heard from a Leeds Utd Manager in a very long time and he was only appointed this morning ! The fact that he went down to the dressing room at half-time to try and sort the situation out speaks volumes – he’s won me over already. Sgt Warnock’s Barmy Army !

    • TimPM

      @JPeel05 Unconfirmed, but apparently Diouf spat at Rosco who, being a Glaswegian, answered with a well-placed headbut.

      Then it kicked off. lol.

    • number1inyorkshire

      @JPeel05 according to the guardian it was ALEX BRUCE AND DIOUF who had a spat when Rogers was knocked out in the kop end .

      • number1inyorkshire

        @JPeel05 why didnt i finish that .

        bruce and diouf then continued it in the tunnel after the whistle

      • jimmyoneeye

        @number1inyorkshire @JPeel05

        Warnock called Diouf a sewer rat last season, pretty much spot on

  9. TSS

    That’s as maybe, but you say that with hindsight. No one was saying it at the time – that’s the point.

    Also, since Grayson wanted Sharp or Lambert and ended up with another freebie, I’d say that’s more an indictment of our transfer policy than his eye for a player.

    Regardless, fact remains that Grayson’s record was solid and for all your observations made in hindsight, he got us out of League One and left with one of the best records a Leeds manager has ever managed, bringing an end to years of failure. The character assassination people are attempting now, and indeed while he was here, is ridiculous.

  10. TSS

    Non-achiever? Behave yourself. He got us out of L1, restored pride with some big cup performances and provided the most enjoyable three years in the last decade for fans. Counts for a lot. When Warnock leaves Elland Road, the best he’ll have is a promotion – will he be a “non-achiever” too? Because he can’t correct things with the benefit of hindsight either I’m afraid.

    Most over-critical fans I’ve ever come across are Leeds’, they really are. Grayson will be back in employment in no time, and he’ll be successful again.

  11. TSS

    Oh behave yourself Colin.

    Grayson’s transfers are poor, but when he signs a player who “gets us out of League One” he gets no credit for that? Had nothing to do with Snodgrass, Howson, Killa, Johnson and the rest of that team either I suppose? What about the fact we had the strongest defence in the division, was that a fluke too?

    Don’t worry mate, I’ve figured out your system – anything good LUFC do is to the players credit, anything bad is the managers fault. Well, no fucker stands a chance do they? I’m sure Warnock will get a couple of month honeymoon period before you start tearing into him for his clueless tactics too.

    Get a grip mate and give credit where due. Grayson was a success at Leeds, no two ways about it. He was also a success at Blackpool, and will be again elsewhere. You’re either incredibly bitter for some reason, totally clueless or on one hell of a wind-up mission.

  12. TimPM

    @TSS I sympathise with your point. And Colin you’re getting a bit out of order for some unknown reason?! But then those figures from Swiss Ramble do show he was on a budget higher than 5-6 Championship teams when he got promoted. Since then he went to a *ahem* tight budget and lost some of his best players – and he didn’t do so well.

    Nobody can doubt Grayson is a good manager, but you’re being as unrealistic as Colin, trying to write his hagiography for some reason?

    Let’s just leave it at fact: Grayson was a good manager who failed to excel with a tight budget and lost some of the dressing room because while Bates is keen to take the plaudits for signings via Williams and Harvey, he’s not willing to take the stick of responsibility in not getting rid of the players Simon says he no longer wants.

  13. dh lufc

    Coming back home yesterday and wondering how we managed to pull that one out of the bag, I listened to Neil Warnock on the radio and I was having exactly the same thoughts as you have highlighted above, I have hated Warnock for years, but I am now thinking I have misunderstood him.

    The crowd didn’t go wild for him yesterday it was a cool reception when he was announced, but when he said he went down at half time and had a word with the players you start to realise why we got the victory, we were awful in the first half.

    But the one thing that lifted me the most was when he said “believe me Bechio WILL win those headers”


  14. WIll23

    Well, at last….some sense and recognition that Grayson was really a piss poor manager (man-manager and tactician) as I’ve been saying for the past two years. Thank you. I feel vindicated, but I am sure TSS will still blindly say Grayson’s dismissal was wrong.

    I also thought the sun shone out of Simon’s arse until the second half of our promotion season when he earned the “clueless” moniker.

    At last we have a real manager.

    Well done to Bates for Colin’s appointment.

  15. number1inyorkshire

    lets get 1 thing straight Warnock went out yesterday to say how good the fans were to win us over alright it worked but it was orchestrated ,what he said was fantastic

    grayson has gone now we move on whether or not he was successful at leeds is another story he got us out of L1 with a cup run ohh and we beat Manu ..

    would i prefer him to warnock NO .

    would the Blackpool fans prefer him to holloway NO

    will the huddersfield fans prefer him if he get that job to clarke maybe if he gets them up >>

    I wish grayson all the very best but we have a better manager now, one which i have more confidence in and 1 that will not put up with Bates not spending money ,bates in my opinion was a little reluctant to give the money to Grayson ,because he ran out of confidence in him ..

    lets move on

    • TSS

      @number1inyorkshire Let’s not pretend Bates didn’t give him cash because of confidence. Bates didn’t give Grayson cash because he’d done well enough without it, and Grayson didn’t have any cards to play – he couldn’t strongarm Bates, he never stood a chance.

      Warnock on the other hand is a different story entirely.

      Grayson will do well in his career, and I hope he returns one day under a better chairman who will support him and not leave him with Brown instead of Andrews and Paynter instead Sharp. Until that day, you’re right, we all need to move on.

      • number1inyorkshire

        @TSS @number1inyorkshire

        you know my comments on Bates i am no apologist for him .but he kept him til the transfer window shut so the new man got nothing either to spend ..

        i am sorry but 33 loans is too many Grayson chose the players everyone has said that including grayson ,alright the money was down to others ,

        i think for the most part the same squad will be involved,but he will call in some older heads ,bromby ,brown, o,brien ..

        the writing was on the wall for Grayson who by the way will never manage leeds again ,i wish him well ,we all do but you must feel more confidence in Warnock than you did with grayson ..


        thats my line under it i move on

      • WIll23

        @TSS @number1inyorkshire A test of Grayson’s mettle and ability will come at Huddersfield…he is immediately under pressure there and so let’s see how the rest of the season pans out for the Terriers who are in a strong position for the play-offs, but will struggle to catch an automatic place.

        We do need to move in, but Grayson is not as good a manager as you have made out time and time again.

        In contrast, I have been asking for a taxi for Grayson for two years – no hindsight from there as you well know. ;-) I am sorry Grayson did not live up to expectations but he should really have been sacked last summer.

  16. Captaincrash

    At last in the second half we saw ‘The return of Becchio’…. some finish on 99 mins but before that and all thru’ the 2nd half, he went looking for the ball, the ball stuck to him and he laid it off and made a run, just like he used to!

    Brown made a difference too…..that was a real surprise.


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