Hull City headed back east on the M62 with three points in the bag following a deserved 3-2 victory against a Leeds side full of effort but low on ability. Leeds’ first home defeat of the season came as a disappointment, but not an unexpected one considering the current injury crisis which has left Neil Warnock with severely depleted options.

Without Ross McCormack and Adam Drury at his disposal, Warnock made two changes to the side which lost at Cardiff on Saturday. Luke Varney replaced McCormack in attack, with El Hadji Diouf taking up the left wing position as Aidan White retreated into Drury’s left-back vacancy. The starting line-up still looked reasonably respectable and capable of a gaining of positive result, but the squad’s weakness was very evident by the seven kids and has-beens who adorned the substitutes’ bench (though, to be fair, Dominic Poleon and Andy Gray would step off the bench to good effect).

Leeds began the match very well, producing quick passing moves, lots of energy and speedy attacking play. El Hadji Diouf in particular was keen to push the home side forward early on, and it was he who earned the 6th minute penalty from which Leeds took an early lead. With McCormack unavailable, penalty duties fell to Luciano Becchio who confidently fired home.

Sustained pressure on the Hull goal continued for the opening 15 minutes, and perhaps if Leeds had grabbed a second goal early on the match may have taken on a different complexion. Rodolph Austin had a low shot well saved, but Hull then began to pass the ball well and inched their way into the match.

The equaliser arrived on 23 minutes. A defensive mix up sent the ball to the feet of Ahmed Elmohmady who, with plenty of space inside the area, fired past Paddy Kenny.

Just 6 minutes later, the Tigers roared into the lead. A looping right wing cross found the head of Abdoulaye Faye, who was all-too-easily able to take his time and nod the ball into the back of the net. All of the initial composure was gone from Leeds’ attacking play, though effort and vigour still hinted that the game was within reach as half-time approached.

The second half was a drab affair until the introduction of Dominic Poleon in the 61st minute. Replacing Luciano Becchio (who worryingly looked to pick up a knock), Poleon injected a youthful brashness and vivacity into Leeds’ dwindling forays forwards. Warnock manoeuvred the troops into a front three of Poleon, Varney and Diouf in an attempt to snatch a share of the spoils.

However, despite some promising shots from Poleon and a glut of corners from Diouf, Leeds were unable to force the ball home and were ultimately punished with 15 minutes to go. Hull swept forwards on a quick counter attack and the ball found Robert Koren who had the easy task of clipping the ball home to give the away side a commanding 3-1 lead.

Andy Gray headed late a consolation from a Diouf cross and the fourth official announced 5 minutes of injury time for Leeds to force an unlikely draw, but it was not to be. The final attack of the evening ended in a wild long-range effort from Captain Lee Peltier, which flew well wide of the target.

Leeds showed a lot of effort tonight, and it is a credit to Warnock and his team that the match was in the balance right up until the final whistle. In previous seasons, this is precisely the kind of match which could have ended in a humiliating 7-3 thrashing. Leeds are made of stronger stuff this season and will be difficult to beat at home. Unfortunately, the manager simply doesn’t have a big enough squad to cope with the demands of the Championship schedule at present.

Coming home from the match, one particular caller to Yorkshire Radio caught my attention. The caller argued that all the protesting and chanting against Ken Bates detracted completely from the support of the team. Arguments proliferate that supporters should support the team inside the stadium and protest outside the stadium.

But isn’t there a bigger picture here? What kind of support will really make a difference right now? Putting all of our efforts into supporting the team for 90 minutes is admirable, but it’s also an instance of short-termism. In the long-term, this season is going absolutely nowhere until a greater amount of financial backing is given to the manager and (in my opinion) that is where the supporters focus and attention should rightly lie.

There’s a happy medium somewhere here. Of course the players need and deserve support, but that doesn’t mean that fans shouldn’t protest in equal measure. This is potentially a big tipping point in the future of the club, and we as supporters need to focus on that and make our voice heard. Shoot me down…

Many thanks to those of you who entered my ‘predict the score’ competition on Twitter. The closest guesses came from Wilson Scruff (@WilsonScruff – seemingly a dog) and Jamie Baldwin (@_JamieBaldwin) who both predicted a 2-1 Hull win and a goal from Koren. Send your predictions (including goalscorers) for the next home match to me @Matt_K_Burton for the chance to be mentioned in the match report.

  • TSS

    Simply not good enough. I’ve said all along that we don’t have the quality and depth to do well this season, and tonight highlighted that perfectly.

    • andy

      i despise bates as much as the next man, i wasnt at the game (i live in spain)& i have confidence in warnock BUT – after watching the goals on sky and reading nw comments online i have one question: how can you blame lack of depth when your handpicked first choice back line defended like that??
      also, is anyone else as worried as i am regarding nw comments after cardiff describing the loss of mcormack as losing the only playmaker at the club??

      • RC

        It isn’t his hand picked first choice back line.. Drury was injured and his replacement is what cost us the goals. The only criticism i would have of his judgement is why the hell Varney started when Poleon came on he looked far far far far far better (mind you i would like far better than Varney and so would many other sunday league players)

  • Matthew

    Enough to make you die a little inside. Total and undenyable proof that Ken Bates is destroying Leeds United. Even the most hardened Bates fan can’t defend this fact, we can’t even beat Dull City for fucks sake.

  • attain22

    Pretty perfect summation of the game and the current situation, though I did feel a bit more hopeless at half time. It was more the knowledge that we had nothing else to change the game, although Poleon at least injected a bit of energy into things when he came on. Other than Austin and Diouf, there wasn’t a deal to shout about going forwards, Diouf put in countless crosses with no one really looking to attack them and to be fair put a lot of effort in throughout.
    As regards to the Bates chants, there can’t be anything other than a universal acceptance that he is nothing other than an utter cretin, but Ken Bates will do whatever he wants to do regardless. I think he is long past the point of caring what anyone thinks and no amount of sporadic chanting during a few minutes of his week is going to change that, as frustrating as it may be.

  • kalich

    and now we’re proper foocked!!!!

  • henrymouni

    Full sympathy for the Leeds fans who turned up.
    The top five teams all won, and a few more results like this, and no takeover, and the season is done.
    As soon as I heard that Ady was left back, I feared the worst.
    If we ever get money to spend on the team, NW will bring in another centreback, and two fullbacks, along with midfield and upfront.
    Pearce has been a rock, but the rest of the back line is poor..
    I have argued many times on here that you DO need to spend money to give yourself a good chance of success.
    More and more fans are starting to see Bates as he really is, and our dire situation for what it is.
    You do still get the filtered tweeters and e-mailers on Yorkshire radio apparently saying we are doing pretty good!!
    But their filtered callers are starting to show anger and frustration = less callers and more Tweets!
    It is not OUR club anymore!

  • NottsWhite

    IMHO I felt the scoreline flattered us as Hull were by far the better team, particularly for the last 30 mins in the first half, with the second half being a more scrappy affair. A number of players just did not play to their ability with White and Varney stinking the place out. However what can NW do with the lack of depth in the squad, players look tired or unfit in Tonge’s case.
    My concern is that with the current depth we will struggle to remain in this division and therefore I don’t get Bates logic of holding onto a club that will lose value if we get relegated. However when has Bates operated with any sane logic ? It just tells me that selling the club is not crucial to his retirement plan and will continue to use the club as his toy.

    • RC

      How did it flatter us i think apart from a freekick they shot from Kenny didnt make a save. It was that young lad that everyone was so desperate to keep hold of that cost us 2 goals and the game. Hull’s Man of The Match was none other than a Mr. Aidy White. We will miss Drury more than Mccormack we showed we can still score without Mccormack and yes he is a hell of a player and cant wait for him back but on last nights showing i’m looking forward to Drury coming back more White is not good enough at full back or as a winger just cause he has come through our academy it seems like he is untouchable he was as bad if not worse than Varney last night AND THAT’S SAYING SOMETHING!

      • NottsWhite

        Ok, take the point that they had few shots (apart from the three goals) however I still feel that they had better ball retention, moved the ball quicker, looked fresher and therefore posed more of a threat than we did. Totally agree White is a liability

        • NottsWhite

          Actually I will stand by the comment “the scoreline flattered us” as anyone who did not see the game might think that 2-3 represented a tight game. The game was over at 1-3, we just managed to get a consilation goal. I also don’t remember us having many more shooting chances than them apart from the 2 goals, the blocked chance at 1-0 and the screamer from Austin that went over the bar.

  • Yorkshirian

    What does it say when Alex Bruce beats you in a win masterminded by Steve Bruce ? Maybe the relegation battle will put bums back on seats ?

  • henrymouni

    We are Yorkshire men and women – stern stuff!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhKYfMMk4v8

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