It’s been more than 28 years since Leeds United last won in Cardiff, and despite a performance that scored top marks for effort, a depleted Whites side couldn’t bring that run to an end.

A midfield of Sam Byram, Rodolph Austin, Aidy White and new arrival Michael Tonge highlighted Leeds United’s injury crisis and lack of quality depth, but the makeshift midfield quartet performed well in difficult circumstances.

The first half was an evenly matched exchange with few clear cut chances. Leeds had been dealt a severe blow in the first 5 minutes when Ross McCormack was taken off with an ankle injury that looks like it’ll keep him sidelined for the next few weeks.

With McCormack off injured and Luke Varney on as his replacement, Leeds had lost their most creative influence and our only hope was to battle hard, keep Cardiff from scoring and hope for a good enough chance to get on the scoresheet ourselves.

A half-time score of 0-0 stands testament to Leeds United’s resolve. The Whites had in no way dominated the first half, but neither had Cardiff City who struggled to create any clear-cut chances.

In an effort to address Leeds’ distinct lack of creativity, Neil Warnock brought El Hadji Diouf on at the interval in place of Adam Drury, but Cardiff started the second half on the front foot with several good chances cleared by Leeds’ back-line.

The biggest difference between Cardiff and Leeds is the quality in depth our Welsh counterparts can boast, this was highlighted by the game-changing substitution of Craig Noone for the formidable Craig Bellamy just after the hour mark.

Only minutes after he entered the pitch, Craig Bellamy was standing over a controversially awarded free-kick in a dangerous position. However questionable the decision to award the free-kick was, there was no doubt about the strike itself, one of pure quality from Cardiff’s prodigal son leaving Paddy Kenny with no chance. 1-0.

Minutes later, Cardiff doubled their advantage from the penalty spot after Tom Lees fouled in the box. This time it was Peter Whittingham who did the honours, putting the game out of reach for an unfortunate Leeds United. 2-0.

But The Whites didn’t let their heads drop and managed to get themselves on the scoresheet thanks to a powerfully struck 30 yard free-kick from Rodolph Austin making it 2-1.

Leeds had a couple of half chances to level the game thereafter, but overall, the narrow Cardiff victory was a fair reflection of the game. For all Leeds United’s hard work and determination, Cardiff City have a strong squad with plenty of depth, and it was their depth that ultimately determined the result.

Meanwhile, injuries forced Leeds United in to playing two youth players (Byram and Poleon), a recently acquired loanee (Michael Tonge) and where Cardiff City had Craig Bellamy as back-up to replace one of their most important players (Noone), we had Luke Varney. No disrespect to any of them, but the contrast is alarming.

The quality of our first choice XI is probably good enough to make the play-offs, but injuries are inevitable and without the strength in depth to overcome the kind of crisis we’re currently experiencing, it’s unrealistic to expect anything better than mid-table – no matter how hard Neil Warnock and his side work to defy the odds.

  • djedjedje

    I thought it a bit strange that Varney got the nod over Diouf as sub for McCormack. Admittedly neither did much in the game on the field, but considering we rely so heavily for set plays for our best chances to score, with McCormack not around to take corners and freekicks, surely Diouf was the next in line?

  • jimbo

    Didn’t really rate it as a performance if i’m going to be honest. The amount of times our back 4 just hoofed it out of defence, or into touch indicates a lack of composure and invited the pressure straight back onto us – made it much easier for Cardiff to keep on the front foot.

    Great strike from Rodolph, but even he was culpable of just giving it a good whack from defense straight down the throat of a Cardiff player. Front 2 didn’t get a sniff, although Varney did get away down the right into a promising position towards the end of the first half, but completely fluffed it – sure there’s a lot more to come from him…

    Despite this, once again showed 11/10 for effort – cant fault them there at all, just wish we could show a little more composure on the ball rather than trying to “put some snow on it” all the time.

    MOT
    Bates out!

  • Tare

    Watched the game with some notes in my mind; Cardiff’s home shirt reminded me something; yep sewer pipe cleaner bottle colour. But to the business here; it was a feisty battle and it could have been other way round. What was the difference here was that in 2nd half they came to us with better attitude that was the real reason for defeat. So maybe team talk was not appropriate in that sense? Tare

    • Oxford White

      You do talk rubbish sometimes Tare! Yes the 2nd half was the difference, but not down to a team talk, our players were motivated and gave 100% but our squad did not allow us to bring on current full internationals…. Cardiff are a better side, with more quality players and options.

      • Tare

        I agree in some sense but still.. Bellamy was the decider and winning goal just the icing of the occasion. But i won’t change this team 1 year ago at any cost. These men (not boys) are fighting for their lives that is a recipe for eventual success on the pitch.

        • Snowjoke

          Tare. I genuinely warm to Warnock as a bloke, but you really do need to look at the hard facts since he replaced Grayson. Clarkeonenil recently did just that. Not entirely unbiased, in line with their apparent disapproval of t’ current Gaffer. But a forensically-thorough and thought-provoking analysis of the team’s decline, nevertheless. Read it and weep, Mate. I did.

  • Ron

    Is anyone else struggling to watch our games without thinking WTF is happening with our takeover talks? We keep hearing rumours of a resolution (or dissolution) and if it is affecting us, imagine what it’s doing to Warnock and the dressing room. It’s so obvious we are in huge trouble without 3-4 new faces and even then, it’s only a band-aid until Xmas. Take nothing away from the effort, but this is like watching a car crash (again).

    • Tare

      A bitter medicine has to swallow sometime even you do not look for it. FM 12 boys and girls wants it right now but a reality check here… We will be there but the time and space decide and then this a forum to debate of it. Tare

      • Confused

        What???

  • Matthew

    Well said TSS. Pretty much said the same on a Cardiff City forum recently. Made up an email address to avoid using my main one and pretty much gave a fair and unbiased opinion and praised the performance of Cardiff said quite clearly I expect them to be in the playoffs and have a good shot at auto.
    Pretty much everyone agreed with me and were quite pleasant in response, and some asking me to stick around as I’m apparently a decent person lol. Not sure if I will as I’m not a forum person.

    • TSS

      You were praising their side and telling them what they wanted to hear – of course they wanted you to stick around!

  • Blue Redbird

    er…dubious free kick? Tonge was booked for the deliberate trip, and didn’t protest at that decision. You have been listening to Colin too much – he always has a whinge about something….dodgy free kick, the amount of money Cardiff have spent etc. Unpleasant character. Having said that – a gutsy performance from Leeds

    • TSS

      I’d not heard what “Colin” had said at the time of writing. The freekick looked soft from where I was standing.

      • Jumblatts

        As did the penalty. Maynard leaned into Lees, who moved out of the way and then maynard fell on the floor. Cheating bastard

  • NottsWhite

    Didn’t see the game therefore had to rely on highlights from football league show. The programme seemed to omit the challenge that caused Ross to go off – should Mutch have been booked ? and then sent off after the late challenge on Peltier went unpunished ?

    • TimPM

      IMO the tackle on Ross was cynical. He tackled from behind which a few years ago wsa a straight red (stupid rule) and then you could tell he threw his other leg forward halfways through cynically which I think is what caused the injury.

      Rodi made a tough tackle by the touchline that was nevertheless 100pc fair, before he picked up his yellow, and Mutch then didn’t actually get a yellow did he? (Can’t remember)

      Thought the foul on Peltier was another cynical one I’ve seen silly reds given for less than either his or Mutch’s.

      Ref was shit, utterly shit, especially the so-called penno where it is pretty clearly a foul by Lees outside the box then the ref gives a penno when he shoulders well with his strength. Makes you wonder when shoulder-barging’s a foul nowadays, maybe outfield players should be banned from the box like indoor football!

      /end rant.

      With Ross this is what Scum did for years especially with lads like Neville and Wes Brown; they’d get a nice biting foul in in the first 5 mins and refs never seem to punish the first couple if you’ve just kicked off.

  • Yorkshirian

    If the club makes an announcement to the effect that the ‘investment’ is off, it will cause a bit of a hoo-harr won’t it..
    So why would they announce anything ? Better they just leave the morons to lose interest so there isn’t uproar, but ripples of ignorant disappointment.
    Hopefully LUST can coordinate the ripples, as waves are needed.

  • TimPM

    Matched them till half-time then it was a matter of time… We just lack any creative nous… We get the ball in defence and hoof it, or pick it up in midfield and take an eternity to shift it to someone else, or else go longball again.

    I feel sorry for Varney, he’s shown he’s got potential playing for Blackpool, but if we have to use him as backup for Ross I think a few fans are going to slaughter him?

    • Woody

      Diouf to play just behind Becchio with Varney and White playing wide and Austin and Tonge in the centre. Switch Byram for White if Drury is still injured. It’s not a complete nightmare or a calamity yet but the bench looks very sparse.

  • igiveup

    Spot the difference:

    2011/12
    Lonergan
    Connolly
    White
    Brown
    O’Dea
    Lees
    Clayton
    Howson
    Becchio
    McCormack
    Snodgrass

    2012/13
    Kenny
    Peltier
    Drury
    Austin
    Pearce
    Lees
    Tonge
    Byram
    McCormack
    Becchio
    White

    only one: different seasons, same shit

  • Irving08

    Tomorrow night promises/threatens to be grim. LUST encouraging (?coordinating) protest inside the ground, as Takeover apparently moves into its hostile phase (but who are these people who want us ?); snarling Tigers and Macca-less Leeds: thus praying for an early goal. Stay detached.

    • TimPM

      You don’t rate McCormack anyway Irving, you said so in the summer!

      ——————

      • Irving08

        Then Snoddy was the yardstick. And we still had a fit Ramon !

        • TSS

          McCormack was our best player last season by an absolute mile. How some people didn’t see that is beyond me.

          • Irving08

            Hmm that covers a lot of managers, some of whom at least have eyes…..

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