Tom Lees headed home from a corner to fire Leeds United into an unlikely lead at Blackpool last night, a lead that The Whites held on to right up until the final 15 minutes when the intense and relentless pressure Ian Hollway’s side were putting on Leeds was finally rewarded.

In truth, Leeds never deserved to take anything from this game. Blackpool were by far the better team, in every area of the pitch for the entire duration of the fixture.

Neil Warnock’s side had somehow escaped wave after wave of Blackpool attack, helped in no small part by Paddy Kenny who made several good saves.

But after chasing shadows for the majority of the match, seemingly unable to take control of the ball and relieve the pressure with any substantial spell of possession the Leeds United side tired and a frustrated Blackpool were finally able to make their chances count.

The equaliser came from a quick one-two that tore straight through Warnock’s defence with brutal efficiency, allowing former Leeds man Stephen Crainey to cut the ball back across the six yard box and gift Nouha Dicko the simplest of finishes at the back post.

Seeing how simple and effective it was to get in behind Leeds United’s defence and cut back across the six yard box, Blackpool repeated the trick five minutes later with exactly the same outcome. This time it was substitute Matt Phillips firing home from close range.

Leeds had frustrated Blackpool for much of the night, but in the end, their superior quality told and the result was entirely deserved.

It’d be all too easy to blame right-back Sam Byram for both of the goals, but the truth is, Blackpool created chance after chance throughout the game and it’s nothing more than coincidence and bad luck the two that counted came from the youngsters area of the pitch. They could just as easily have came from the opposite side or straight through the middle, such was the ease with which Blackpool moved through our defence.

Had it not been for Paddy Kenny’s heroics and a huge amount of luck, this defeat could have been a much heavier one. The problem – as I’ve already mentioned – is that Leeds have no one capable of relieving pressure by retaining possession, so Blackpool found it all too easy to forge attacks and maintain their attacking momentum. It was an absolute onslaught of relentless attacking power which Leeds were incapable of matching, leaving Blackpool with very little to worry about at the opposite end and able to leave more men forward.

From the moment Tom Lees scored Leeds seemed to be trying to hold on to their one goal lead with desperate defensive clearances the order of the day. This served not only to gift possession straight back to Blackpool, but it also meant Leeds were chasing shadows for the entire match. Consequently, Leeds tired quicker than Blackpool did and things only got easier for our opponents.

Taking a one goal lead early and trying to hold on for dear life is not a game plan which is going to work very often. We defended like we were 1-0 up in stoppage time against far superior opposition, only the stoppage time was the entire match and the superior opposition was a side who could – and should – be used as a yardstick to measure how close we are to a team capable of achieving promotion. By every measurement, in every area of the pitch, Leeds United were thoroughly outclassed.

On and on…

Neil Warnock post match

  • Phil

    No one capable of relieving pressure by retaining possession – we might have been able to do that with Max Gradel, Jonny Howson, Adam Clayton and Robert Snodgrass in midfield. Chickens coming home to roost, I think. Damn.

    • RC

      Wrong.. with Snodgrass and Gradel in midfield yes but Clayton and Howson often disappeared in games like last night and Clayton used to regularly concede possession after the first few games of last season am i wrong in thinking Clayton and Snodgrass played against them when we lost 5-0 at home? not sure if Howson had gone by that point but still two of the 4 you named lost 5-0 AT HOME to them. Also i watched the Cardiff Huddersfield game and he was up to his old tricks as for the other ex leeds midfielders well i see Norwich held the ball up brilliantly against the premier league giants that are Fulham.. I would have Snodgrass or Gradel back but other than that id rather get new quality players in but we all know that wont happen. However i also say this i have seen many people say we will be lucky to avoid relegation now, i urge my fellow Leeds fans to stop being so naive. We was solid against wolves so everyone said we will get promoted now we lose arguably one of the toughest fixtures for any team and we will get relegated.. They’re a new squad they will be inconsistent at the start..

      • http://www.thescratchingshed.com/ TSS

        Firstly, we lost 5-0 at home due to Rachubka’s 3 blunders which also resulted in the red card of Tom Lees leaving us a man down at half time with young Alex Cairns in goal. That result had absolutely nothing to do with the midfield.

        As for Howson and Clayton (and Kilkenny before him), those two were excellent together at retaining possession, their only real fault was defensively which is why we were crying out for someone like Rodolph Austin all season.

        That teams strength (and they were strong, people forget that) was they had the ability to forge the kind of attacks Blackpool did last night, which in turn, keeps pressure off your defence – the best way to defend is to attack as the old cliche goes. Without a strong enough defence (which was the sides biggest weakness) however, you’re going to get caught all too often on the counter and that’s what kept happening.

        Finally, I’ve not heard anyone say we’d be lucky to avoid relegation, although I don’t doubt there’s the reactionary few who went to extremes. I think the majority recognise we’re an average side who are severely lacking in attacking quality.

        • http://twitter.com/jaucourt Phil Benson

          I’d love to see us

  • djedjedje

    ‘Football’ won last night. And rightfully so.

    I think we are going to have another of these seasons of ‘great game, bad game’, ‘big win, big loss’ – and not the only team in the Championship to do so either. Therefore it is important not to let our heads drop after the lows … we fight to live another game … and next up, Peterborough for the taking!

    • http://www.thescratchingshed.com/ TSS

      For me, this outlined the overwhelming gulf in quality between the best teams and ourselves.

      That’s not to say we should totally give up and lose hope, but we needed the reality check and the perspective this fixture provided. We simply aren’t good enough as things stand and we desperately need players who can do something on the ball.

      • djedjedje

        I agree we need(ed) a reality check, but only the foolhardy reckoned we’d play and get the result against every team that we did against Wolves. Our style of play will pay dividends against a good spread of teams, but always come up short against teams that play like Blackpool. Fortunately there aren’t many Blackpools in this division.

        I agree about the depth of our squad too, which Warnock, to be fair, does want to address. I’m hoping that in nine days time and the transfer window shuts then at least we’ll try and make use of Rogers and Nunez because aside from Diouf (who should be starting as he holds a ball far better than Varney does) we have no real attacking quality on the bench.

        As I’ve been saying for about a year now, the slightly depressing thing is that we are building a team of Championship quality that might just wing-it to the Premiership via the playoffs. That’d be lovely and all but we haven’t been building a squad to compete at a Premiership level. You look at Blackpool and you realize a team there is being built with a mid- to long-term goal in mind. We are all a bit too much ‘smash and grab’, sort of Wimbledon of the late 1980s; but football’s moved on…

        • Jumblatts

          But its hard to build a team good enough for the prem when your manager
          has his best assets sold from under him and isnt given the money to
          replace them. Hopefully that will all change over the next couple of
          weeks (months, years, who knows…) and if we can hold out until January
          we might be able to dib into the market and make a push towards the
          back end of the season

          • djedjedje

            I entirely agree. I am not blaming Warnock and for the limited resources he’s been given most of his signings are decent, I’m blaming the board which has never had a long term strategy for the development of the squad. Buy them cheap, on a free, or develop them from youth – keep them on cheap wages and when they want a decent footballing wage for the reward of decent loyalty to the club and performance, ship ‘em out for a £1m and a few add-ons – that seems to have been the Bates model.

          • http://www.thescratchingshed.com/ TSS

            Also agree. Even if we somehow pull off promotion, the prospects for this team in the Prem are bleak. That means a total rebuild and it never works because you need time to gel and by the time that happens, half the season has gone and you’re almost relegated.

            Swansea and Norwich defied the odds because they were a team that already knew how to play together. Instead of them trying to adapt to life in the Prem, it was almost like the Prem had to adapt to them – they already knew what they were going to do, they had capable enough players and they stuck to a game-plan developed years previous.

          • Chareose

            Agree, we still have too many players that would be on the bench at best in a prem side………. Realisticly most sides who stay up on merit go up with a couple of stand out players who can make the step up and excel at a higher level. Kenny could do a job in the Prem, maybe Austin and Peace could at a stretch…… but i cant see any excelling

      • Tyler75

        Holloway said that was one of the best performances he has ever seen from one of his Blackpool sides – I will be very surprised if they don’t fill one of the auutomatic promo slots this season. Its worth remembering our players are still very,very new to each other and will get better. I don’t think we are a million miles away and whether its via the loan market or new investment, NW knows what he needs to add to the squad.

        • Eunuchs Nemesis

          He could try adding some FOOTBALL as opposed to his beloved hoofball.

          • Jumblatts

            The very same hoofball that has won him 7 promotions so far. Do you really want him to change his tactics and start learning a new style of play instead of getting us back up there? I’d wager 99% of leeds fans would ‘grin and bear’ hoofball if it were to see us back in the prem. Dont know if you were at the wolves game but i was and there wasnt a dull moment. real end to end stuff. open your eyes.

    • RC

      I agree just look at the table already only one team have managed to win both games (Blackpool) if we held on and won we would have been the only team and a draw would have meant no one would have had more than 4 points. Anyone can literally beat anyone this year and Blackpool will be right up there. Still disappointing though but lets keep marching on together.

  • grayw

    No disrespect to youg Sam Byram but i thought we bought Peltier for a first choice right back? Not pointing the finger bute surely it is time to play the first choice defence of peltier/pearce/lees/drury? Push White to left side of mid where he can be more effective and will give us some pace
    Graham W

    • djedjedje

      Peltier did well at centre back with Pearce against Wolves, so I could see a case for keeping him there and see how Byram gets on against other less dynamic attacking teams as Blackpool (as TSS says, Byram did no worse than the rest of our team last night, just unlucky).

      Mind, I bet Drury is wondering what he has to do to get a game at left-back!

    • RC

      White is not a winger i have been saying this for a very long time and last night proved my point everytime you saw White touch the ball you knew it would be about 1-5 seconds before he conceded possession. He might be a decent impact winger purely because he is fast but his end product is rubbish and he isnt very good at beating a man if he has to turn before running at them, at full back he has everything infront of him. As for the Byram comment i can see your point however i wouldnt have changed the defence at all last night as they were obviously working well together on Saturday changing the CB partnership when the players hardly know each other as it is doesnt help at all.

      • Yorkshirian

        People say Aidy is Winger-potential because he’s made a couple of runs that look like Gareth Bale and he’s not that good in defence. Only reason.

  • Yorkshirian

    I think we remember all the way back to before the Wolves game.. that we’re not going to do all that well this year but at least we have a solid base to build-on. I disagree with the comment that ‘fortunately there arent too many Blackpools..’ I count 13 teams who will think they are in with a sniff of the play-offs this year – not including the three new who all think they have a shot.

  • markman

    easy to read to much into things after just 2 games.we were beaten by a better team last night.however,i am sure that as they have hardly had time to introduce themselves to each other they will only improve as they gel under nw’s knowhow. also,as qpr seem to be acquiring several new additions there could be some loan deals in the offing.

  • Bluesman

    Chickens came home to roost a long time ago. Same old, same old, the players are fine but the real quality and depth is not there. The only people who you can hold responsible are the board. They are never in this world building a side that will be good enough for the Premier league. It looks like mid tabe again this year, but we may make the play offs. Time will tell. I don’t expect anything to happen between now and the endo of the transfer window. We have been taken in again. Hope that Warnock speaks out!!!!

  • PaulG

    Two games gone, and it’s the end of the world again …..

    Blackpool were the best team I saw at ER last season, by some distance – how they didn’t get promoted (and West Ham did!) is beyond me.

    I wasn’t there last night, but on the basis of what I saw on Saturday this team and Grayson’s team are chalk and cheese. We all KNOW that our squad isn’t the most talented in the division …. but I’d take this lot over last season’s lot any time.

    For God’s sake, we’ve played two games …. lets at least wait until 10 or 12 in before we write off the season …..!

    • http://www.thescratchingshed.com/ TSS

      I don’t think anyone was writing off the season, were they? Blackpool are a yardstick by which we need to be measuring ourselves, and we’re not good enough. If they are indeed the best side in this division then that’s what we should be aspiring to, or we may as well give up now. As things stand, we’re an awfully long way off and desperately need to improve. No point ignoring that.

      To get promoted you need a team capable of beating anyone. You can’t just write off a few of them and decide we still might scrape 6th, no team is successful that way.

      Why do people keep referring to game at Elland Road last year by the way? That was the day of Rachubka’s horrorshow and Tom Lees was sent off, Accrington Stanley could have outclassed us with ease.

  • damian

    Excellent review of the game and very gracious in defeat. Good luck for the season and thanks for being so generous in your praise of the Seasiders. UTP.

  • Chareose

    We are a couple of creative players short of being an automatic promotion team. At the moment we are at best playoffs. Weve replaced a good attack with an excellent back line. I dont think Varney is good enough, Diouf is unfit and neither White and Byram offer the experience and ball control we need going forwards though both have potential. So in effect two wide players are needed. Norris and Austin are fine in the centre but we also need competition for Mcormack and Becchio……….so three players ?? It wont happen now, as its too late. Ken will make sure the takeover isnt done till after transfer deadline

    • mrbigwheels

      Good analysis Chareose but… why will Ken make sure the takeover isn’t done till after the transfer deadline?… I just don’t get the benefit of that to him.

      • TimPM

        To get one over on his detractors. So far at Leeds (or indeed Chelsea, etc.) I’m not alone in thinking he’s done absolutely nothing to show any care for the actual club.

        He clung on by his nails at Chelsea for a long time, even with a sinister Russian oligarch on the other side. What chance do we have at Leeds of a quick and dignified sale?

        • djedjedje

          The question is though, will the consortium lose interest if they do not have ownership before the transfer deadline? At the very least they could argue for a discounted price considering their inability to add to a skinny squad until January would more than likely keep Leeds in the Championship for another year and gate receipts low. Or will they just walk away? Heck, they must be wondering why they’re wasting so much time on us already!!

          • mrbigwheels

            Bates has to sell… Cash flow dictates that, surely. Is the ‘tip point’ for them to walk away very close, one could ask?.

          • Chareose

            The reason he is likely being spiteful is because I dont think he wants to sell Leeds United…. As TSS has suggested on many occaisions, Bates has always given the impression that he likes being King Dong at a football club so that he can patronise and insult his customers from his lofty pedastal….In essance the best we can hope for is that Bates will sell once all his selfish criteria have laboriously been met……..He wont speed up or “Try his best” or take one for the fans……..

          • TimPM

            I’d imagine Pompey will be cheap – big crowd there to fund his plans, plenty of bad memories to conjure when anybody criticises him. He’d love it there for a few years (until they catch onto him like everyone else invariably does)

          • Chareose

            Already suggested that but pompey fans are very aware of our clubs politics due to them selling half their squad to us…..
            What gets me is I actually caught myself thinking “Well this is Blackpool, they are strong and Holloway is class” ………..Hang on we are LEEDS U – FUCKING – NITED not Rochdale Town !!! You have to remind yourself that sometimes pointless mediocrity shouldnt be acceptable and I think if this take over doesnt happen so, the battle drums need to start getting beaten !! Just the same way as the British public shouldnt tolerate (but do !) a useless government full of tallentless politicians and useless government adminstrators that have presided over horrificly run infrastructure and a collossal national debt………… Leeds fans shouldnt get brain washed into beleiving that second best is ok for Leeds United…….

          • http://www.thescratchingshed.com/ TSS

            Not just time they’re wasting, the due diligence must be costing a fortune! Must be costing Leeds a fair bit too as they’ll need their own team of lawyers, so Bates must be serious about selling?

        • mrbigwheels

          Sad, bad, mean and mad…. Bates defies logic!.

  • TimPM

    For me it’s difficult to know where we are until later. We’ve played Wolves & Blackpool. Next we’ll play a bottom-feeder, a lower-league team, and then we get Blackburn who should be another near the top.

    But for me it’s difficult to judge how bad a bad performance is against a top team, similarly you expect to slaughter Shrewsbury, Oxford etc. For me the matches that’ll really show where we are, are the last ones in September: Hull at home, Forest at home, Bristol City away.

    But I still think we’re already seeing our weaknesses. Green did well v Wolves but all of a sudden we need to take Pugh off the transfer list because of Green’s injury. Our subs bench just doesn’t have the quality others do. I’m not saying we need the depth of star players 3-4 of the other clubs do, but with our exceptionally thin squad we’ll get into October with a weaker bench, not a stronger one. And that for me is when we’ll start to really struggle.

    Warnock’s done a fabulous job on next to no money. Yet again, Bates is to blame for not finding the money from the massive income of this club to support the manager. We’ve the foundations, but unless this takeover is signed soon we’re a mid-table team with aspirations again. And that’s simply not good enough to the majority.

    • Matthew

      Well said Tim.
      Speaking of which, I can’t wait for our 3rd round draw, we’l cruise the 2nd round easily. I just want to be proven right when they draw us against Arsenal again or Scum. Someone out there wants us to beat these teams which is why we keep getting them lol

    • http://www.thescratchingshed.com/ TSS

      Totally agree mate. The loss of Green has already highlighted problems with depth, he was one of stand-out players v Wolves before injury.

    • Paul South Wales

      If Pugh was transfer listed (deemed not up to it) and now retracted from said list, NW is playing a player he sees as below standard, says it all really. This is what he’s forced to do by that scumbag! Our squad is frighteningly thin, as will show when multiple injuries occur simultaneously. Something has to give, I bet he’s pulling what little hair he has left out!

      • Jumblatts

        as far as im aware pugh was only listed to free up funds, not because nw didnt want him

    • http://www.facebook.com/david.lockwood.397948 David Lockwood

      Hi Tim, Same as last year I am afraid, it just keeps going round eahc year. Warnock gave us hope but we have now seen him undone by Bates, once again. He has spent next to nothing this summer when all transfers are taken into account. Bates seems to have conjured up his usual tricks and practiced a deception on the fans in once again. I just hope that NW doesn’t do a SG and stay long enought to be blamed for the situation and then sacked. People believe what they want to believe and Bates knows that. NW stand up for Leeds United and publicly attack the board if you need to and then resign. At least you won’t be deciving the fans!!

  • tim campbell

    Can someone please tell me why bates is stringing this take over out so long. If the reason was to get a cut of the profits promotion wud bring, then hes even more of a greedy b*****d than i first thought

  • Matthew

    I guess all we gotta do is pick ourselves up and try again. If we dwell on the negatives we may as well just pack up shop and go home.
    Still believe we can hit the playoffs

  • trueyorxman

    2 games in and only 1 club in the division has a 100% record which goes to show you how tight this league is. Yet again there is no clear favourite so to put into perspective where Leeds stand in all this I’d say we’ve as good, but no better, a chance of getting promoted than anyone else in this division especially with the current squad of players we have. Apart from Blackpool every other message board for every other club with all be saying exactly the same things we are

  • henrymouni

    We could easily have lost 6 -1 last night.
    NW blamed the 4 front men for not holding onto the ball?
    What ball?
    Big hoofs in the general direction of Becchio, when he was marked by 3 or more defenders, is a bad plan.
    Aidy is not a winger or a fullback. Not yet anyway.
    Young Byram has done well but he needs a rest.
    We had our backs to the wall from the off.
    That is a recipe for defeat!

  • Tim campbell

    Nunez and poleon scored in the development game against derby. These 2 should be on the bench at the very least. The bench would look a little more threatening than it has done.

  • Matthew

    Anyone deep down wanting Grayson back?

    Be honest. I am. Respond below.

    • henrymouni

      NO!

      • Matthew

        He wasn’t a bad manager, defense aside, I would put that down to his backroom staff if anything.
        I started this season optimistic, I think everyone here saw that, now I don’t know anymore. I still think we have a good chance at the playoffs but with yesterdays performance..

        • djedjedje

          1. Never resolving our defence for two seasons
          2. Three seasons of post-Christmas slumps
          3. Suspect ability to consistently judge a transfer target/bargain

          I know there’s some Grayson apologist around, and I’m not having a go here, but there’s no way Grayson would have put together the strength and balance (albeit minus the icing) of our team that Warnock has done on the cheap in about five weeks.

          If Rhodes goes and Grayson is handed, say, £4m to spend on new Huddersfield recruits, I’d put money on them still being in the Championship in three season time (although I can see Grayson being gone before the end of the season if they don’t get start collecting points soon).

          • mrbigwheels

            I’m pleased djedjedje you’ve had the g’s to put the case in ‘black and white’, with such simplification.

    • djedjedje

      Categorically no.

    • mrbigwheels

      No Matthew!.

    • ian

      NO! NW can get us back to the top. But I think we’ll need a hitman to get rid of “Killjoy Ken”, the prat seems hell bent on destroying LUFC as football club.

    • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.keogh.35 Andrew Keogh

      If the answer’s Grayson, it’s a slightly strange question ….

    • Eunuchs Nemesis

      Not at all but getting rid of Warnock cant be too bad, there is an equal chance of somebody being better as worse and I am happy to take those odds.

  • http://twitter.com/mojoluafc Garforth White

    We did well to just get beat 2-1.

  • Chareose

    A number of fans on the Yorkshire Post forum have been asking why Boycotting Leeds games would force Ken out when he has 150 million in the bank………..let me explain as its not rocket science……..that 150 million (assuming its true) is Kens money……the day he starts having to spend his own money (with no likely repayment) on Leeds United is the day he will try to sell Leeds United and do a runner……so unfortunately If ken is currently reluctant to sell the worst thing you can do is pack out Elland road, pay his extortionate season ticket prices and fill Leeds coffers again BECAUSE HE WILL STAY
    That said no one should be protesting once they are inside elland road because we go there for a reason….to support the team

    • mrbigwheels

      A catch 22. Bates has survived the summer, cash is coming in and he’s playing God.
      He’s strung everyone out and I mean everyone! to announce shortly.. ‘no takeover and the same old’… playmates. Warnock told us all as such last week and I see no other stance from Warnock other than… ‘what will be, will be’… this season
      If the only threat to Bates is diving attendance numbers and the resultant loss of cash flow then will this be enough?. Would he counter that with his most awful will?. What type of new war with Bates does the supporter want?.
      The question is… who is good enough to lead and manage a… Boycott Home Games proposal…, to take him on?.

      • henrymouni

        Bates likes wars.
        Don’t go to war with him.
        Better to ignore him! He cannot stand that.

        • Chareose

          yes lets stick our heads in the sand like we have done for the last 8 years, good idea…… :o)

          • henrymouni

            There are lots of better places you could stick your head.
            Bates laughs at people like you.
            What is your plan?
            Booing?
            Marching?
            If you ignore him and deprive him of your cash and attention, that may do the trick.
            Let us all pray a takeover happens soon though!

          • Chareose

            If you read my comments its clear i dont advocate booing or protests in the stadium, but i wont be spending money or attending matches until Ken Bates is gone… I dont see how Bates laughs at people like me in particular ?? there are thousands of fans like me boycotting the club so please explain how Bates is laughing at this lost income as its likely to be the reason he is even discussing a takeover ???

          • henrymouni

            I must apologise.
            We are both saying the same thing.
            By ignoring him I meant, don’t line his pockets.
            Don’t go and boo him, ’cause he still gets the money.

  • mrbigwheels

    If Warnock is now ready to ”muck on”, in the light that no new faces will be arriving before the closure of the transfer window, then surely a more balanced bench will be seen. Blackpool bench was defensive and short of options, (imo). ”Work with what we’ve got”, he says….. (Sounds like a quote KB gave Neil earlier!). Nunez, Rogers, Poleon anybody?. This is where we’re at!…