Leeds United – The Points That Got Away Guest April 30, 2013 Leeds United 20 Comments Following another disappointing season for Leeds United, The Scratching Shed welcomes Tom Stevens whose guest post delves back through our 45 fixtures (to date) to see where the 2012/13 campaign went so horribly wrong. Blackpool 2 – Leeds United 1 Tuesday 21st August Blackpool under Ian Holloway were still one of the favourites for promotion at http://bwinbetting.com/ in the early weeks of the season so this was always going to be a tough test for Neil Warnock’s team. Tom Lees gave Leeds an early lead, which they held onto until 15 minutes from time when Blackpool scored two inside five minutes. Nouha Dicko and Matt Phillips settled the contest in Blackpool’s favour, but naïve defending cost Leeds at least one of the goals conceded, with Sam Byram and Luke Varney, as well as the entire forward line, being singled out by Warnock as the main culprits. Lost points: 1 Leeds United 3 – Blackburn Rovers 3 Saturday 1st September A horrendous start to this game saw Leeds down 2-0 inside half an hour. Diouf got us back into the game just before half time, and superb strikes from McCormack and Becchio seemed to have been enough to complete a magnificent turnaround. But a Ruben Rochina back heeled effort six minutes from time led to the spoils being shared. The goal was easily avoidable as Leeds failed to clear their lines defensively, costing us a second league win of the season. Lost points: 2 Bolton Wanderers 2 – Leeds United 2 Tuesday 2nd October A tricky away tie on paper but Leeds very nearly claimed all three points at the Reebok Stadium this season. Newly relegated Bolton, still under Owen Coyle, were struggling to find their feet back in the second tier, and having again come from behind courtesy of goals from Byram and Becchio, Kevin Davies was again left unchallenged in the penalty box to level the game again ten minutes from time. Warnock blamed himself for the lost points, well partly at least. Rodolph Austin was in charge of marking Kevin Davies, which is something Warnock made perfectly clear in the post-match interview. Lost points: 2 Leeds United 1 – Charlton Athletic 1 Tuesday 23rd October Probably one of the poorest home displays of the season, but having taken the lead shortly before the interval through a David Norris strike, there was every opportunity to push on against a Charlton side who were not in the greatest shape in the early stages of the season. Instead Dorian Dervite equalized early in the second half, and Leeds were lucky to hold onto the solitary point in the end. Lost points: 2 Leeds United 0 – Birmingham City 1 Saturday 27th October The home performances were not improving, and days after the tepid performance served up against Charlton, Leeds came unstuck at home again. Birmingham City were on a poor run of form, and were there for the taking, but in truth this was a game between two poor sides lacking any sort of flair or creativity. And just when it looked like ending in a deadlock, Leroy Lita grabbed the win for Birmingham. Another terrible result, and one wonders whether it was after this game outgoing chairman Ken Bates was keen to remove Warnock from his managerial duties. Lost points: 1 Burnley 1 – Leeds United 0 Tuesday 6th November You always felt Leeds would come unstuck at Turf Moor sooner or later. A great Jonny Howson inspired comeback win in the 2012 season, and a rather fortuitous Robert Snodgrass inspired turnaround last season had both been smash and grabs in their way, but there was no such luck this time around. But we should have drawn this game, and having done so well defensively for 83 minutes it was a catastrophe to see substitute Danny Pugh fail to cut out a Burnley cross and Charlie Austin did the rest with a close range header. Lost points: 1 Millwall 1 – Leeds United 0 Sunday 18th November One can’t argue that Leeds were guilty of throwing points away in the game against Watford, we were thoroughly outplayed in a 6-1 home debacle. But despite losing Luke Varney to an innocuous red card early in the second half at Millwall, another game of low quality was decided by yet another late searching cross being met by Chris Wood five minutes from time. Lost points: 1 Leeds United 0 – Cardiff City 1 Saturday 2nd February This was the start of a barren spell where Leeds were throwing away points left, right and centre according to Neil Warnock. And you have to agree. Buoyed by an excellent cup triumph against Spurs the week before, high-flying Cardiff certainly had a game on their hands here. And a rare mistake from Byram proved costly as Frazier Campbell settled matters with a second half strike. Lots of spurned opportunities for Leeds proved costly, and the introduction of new striker Habib Habibou did little in terms of trying to get back into the game. Leeds had more than enough chances to win this, but certainly shouldn’t have lost it. Lost points: 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 – Leeds United 2 Saturday 9th February This was a devastating late blow for Leeds. Having come from behind through a Luke Varney striker and a Ross McCormack penalty, this game should have been signed and sealed long before Danny Batth rose the highest two minutes into injury time to head home an equalizer, which might still keep Wolves up. The corner prior to the equalizer should have been prevented, and an away win should have been recorded. Lost points: 2 Middlesbrough 1 – Leeds United 0 Tuesday 12th February Another frustrating midweek away day for The Whites, and to come away with nothing from The Riverside was tough to take considering the chances that had again been misplaced. Young Middlesbrough striker Curtis Main settled this one late on, leaving Warnock fuming and Leeds fans disgruntled. New striker Steve Morison wasn’t having the desired impact as Leeds were missing their top scorer Becchio who was by now playing reserve team football with Norwich. Once again it was a case of not having enough to win the game, but one that we definitely shouldn’t have lost. Lost points: 1 Leicester City 1 – Leeds United 1 Tuesday 5th March Heartbreak and frustration late on at The King Power Stadium, where Leeds had looked to record a great away win over big spending Leicester City. Sam Byram had put Leeds in front, and with just one more set piece to defend Michael Keane leveled the game four minutes into injury time, leaving Leeds to look on as Kasper Schmeichel joined in the late celebrations for the home side. A dreadful blow to the play off plans, and one that should have been avoided. Lost points: 2 Crystal Palace 2 – Leeds United 2 Saturday 9th March This was always going to be a tough place to go and get something, as Palace were looking good for promotion at this point. But having cancelled out Glenn Murray’s first half goal with two great Morison strikes, Leeds should have hung onto all three points, and the inability to hold onto a lead was yet again displayed for all to see. This time Stephen Warnock was half asleep as Murray snuck away from him to gain an extra yard on the defender which helped him finish off from a long ball into the penalty area six minutes from time. Lost points: 2 Leeds United 1 – Peterborough 1 Tuesday 12th March Losing late goals and points away to Leicester and Crystal Palace in the space of a week was frustrating, but the away displays gave Leeds something to build on for the two home games coming up. The first of them was Peterborough, and once again Leeds failed at home in a midweek game. We looked uninspired for most of it, and the tough away fictures had been more draining than anticipated. With Sam Byram canceling out Dwight Gayle’s early effort, Leeds had most of the second half to try and go for the winner. But it proved elusive, and more home points were dropped. Lost points: 2 Leeds United 1 – Huddersfield Town 2 Saturday 16th March Injuries to both Moriosn and McCormack meant Habibou lead the line for the first time. And this was the game when the play off push finally unraveled, but a point should have been secured after Aidy White had pulled Leeds level midway in the second half. Instead Leeds allowed James Vaughan all the time and space in the world to settle the game in Huddersfield’s favour late on. Lost points: 1 Leeds United 1 – Derby County 2 Monday 1st April The last game under Neil Warncok, and again points were simply thrown away. A wonder strike by McCormack seemed to have settled the nerves in the second half, until Jason Pearce clumsily gave away the clearest of penalties, and poor marking allowed Jake Buxton to head home from a corner two minutes from time. A dismal display overall, but Leeds should have got something out of this game. Lost points: 1 Charlton Athletic 2 – Leeds United 1 Saturday 6th April This defeat sent a freefalling Leeds spiraling towards the relegation places. The caretaker duo of Redfern and Naylor did their utmost to get something against a Charlton side who had found some late season form. And having played poorly for most of it, a point looked secured through Luke Varney’s late deflected striker only for more appalling defending to spoil the day as Jonathan Obika headed home completely unmarked in the sixth minute of injury time. Lost points: 1 Leeds United 1 – Brighton 2 Saturday 27th April Leeds have performed a bit better under the guise of Brian McDermott, but slipping to a single goal defeat at Birmingham was disappointing if not predictable. But the defeat against Brighton last Saturday was even more disappointing. The last home game of the season against a free passing Brighton team, and we matched them for most of the game, even when we were losing players. And had Diouf stayed on the pitch instead of winding up the Brighton fans and the touch linesman, there would surely be at least one point staying in West Yorkshire at the end of the game. Instead the nine men could not hold on, as Peltier let a Brighton player cross the ball into the box for Jose Ulloa to finish comprehensively with a headed effort. Another unnecessary goal conceded. Lost points: 1 With the games described above I make that 24 points dropped this season unnecessarily. This is not counting the games where Leeds have been thoroughly outplayed, nor of course the ones were the margins went in our favour. But the common denominator in the 17 fixtures above is that these were games where Leeds were either in front for long periods and should have held on, or games where Leeds were equally as dismal as their opposition and lost the game because of shocking defending. With those 24 points, Leeds would have been currently second and dreaming of better things. Even half the points dropped this season would see us in the play off mix. Brian McDermott has some job on his hands if he wants to make Leeds United promotion challengers, as dropping so many points throughout the season can’t happen again if the challenge is to become a reality. OxfordWhite If my Granny had bollocks she’d be my Grandad:) Thommo Hawk No she’d be an old ladyboy OxfordWhite Lol. markman not forgetting we never score in the first half Thommo Hawk I’ve said it for years but the truth is you don’t need to be a *good* team to get out of the Championship….all you need to be is relatively consistent. If you build a team from the back in that league you won’t drop so many needless points and you’ll see games out and probably get promoted. And our stats don’t lie – we was only team in top half with a minus goal difference and that said it all. McDermott needs to buy a defence next year and proper wingers plus an extra striker or two because McCormack can’t do it all on his own and Somma probably will end up retiring at this rate. Might get away with Diouf and McCormack up front with Diouf sitting deeper working in tandem with Byram and McCormack playing off the shoulder further up but we need wingers and a proper playmaker. And a beast defence. Should re-sign Sam Sodje for starters I remember he looked a right player at center back. GloryLUFC We need to sort out the defense. We’ve this problem even when we won promotion back into the Championship when Simon Grayson was manager. To be honest I am glad we haven’t won promotion. If we are struggling now, how would we cope in the premiership,it would be doom and gloom for us. BM can work on the current squad and make a lot stroneger,bring in the right player and then aim for promotion for next season hampshirewhite Mc Dermott has already talked about summer fitness programmes – given the number of late goals we’ve conceded this season that’s got to be an issue. A couple of seasons ago we used to score late goals – this season we’ve conceded them time after time. Matthew To me it’s frustrating because this season the points total required for 2nd place, yet alone the playoffs is much lower, yet we find ourselves in the same fucking situation season after season because of the lack of investment. kev raunds GFH are you reading this,if not,why not,real supporters voicing valid concerens,take note you need to invest. Matthew We’ve lost 19 games, with MINOR investment perhaps we could of reduced that to say 15. That’s 12 points extra, now add those 12 points to our total and we’d be in 5th with 70 points, perhaps finding another game we’ve lost that we could of drawn with an extra boost of quality, that’s another 1 point and the playoffs secured. Not so hard is it? We’ve had an awfully shitty season, but if the season was less shitty, we would be sat in the playoffs. Incredible isn’t it? This league has been the most open I’ve seen in a while. Let’s just say we sacked Warnock months earlier, with the Brian Mc effect, could we not of won those games, and got a draw to get 71 points? I would argue that no one in this league deserves their position, not even Cardiff or Hull. Cardiff certainly haven’t been playing as a team worthy to be called Champions. Sussexwhite We used to score a lot of late goals under the Wise regime, ok it was L1 but we still kept going for 90+ minutes Grenville Hair Not scoring in the first half is a sign of a team desperately low on both confidence and creativity. They are just not good enough. Buy better players and they might challenge, but as Revie himself said, you can be the best manager in the world but will achieve nowt with clapped out and bargain basement players. It’s not a question of organising them better, but replacing them all, bar two or three. kev raunds Need a new team PMH Replacing the whole team is way too risky. You can’t just go down to Marks & Sparks and buy a Premiership team. And if you could find it for sale, you wouldn’t be able to afford it. Step one is to upgrade the team to make it top 4 in the Championship. That needs to happen this Summer. Step 2 is to fine-tune to get to automatic promotion. Step 3 is to upgrade to Premiership caliber, which you can do more easily when you have Premiership income. Plus you need luck in your signings. Grenville Hair to put it another way, I’ll quote Einstein (doesn’t happen much on here that): Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Crangy92 Let’s have it right our current squad is a long way from being promotion candidates. Never mind what warnock has been saying, 2or 3 players short, what bollocks. We have some promising youngsters coming through, which is great news as long as we can keep hold of them. Gfh need to back the manager this summer and allow him to build a squad pre season that will have a chance of challenging for one of the promotion slots. Let’s hope this happens and we return to the premiership soon rather than later. Also the atmosphere at home games has been none existent this season, with the odd exception. FFS give us a team that can play football and generate some atmosphere within elland rd. Irving08 An inability to defend crosses accounts for the majority of ‘lost’ points. This points to individual deficiencies (hesitant goalkeeping, lack of height in central defence) and/or poor organisation. I suspect the Watford debacle was Bates’ wake up call. An untried 3-5-2 formation, exposing us to fast breaks down the centre, causing Pearce (hitherto our best defender) to make a rash challenge, resulting in his exit….and concluding with a Manager telling us on air that ‘he lost interest’ as the opposition’s goals flew in. We should never let the posing imposter (Warnock) forget that he presided over the two biggest home defeats in the history of our club. Matthew I can’t be the only one who just wants this shitty season over and done with. The only thing that would make this season somewhat worthwhile would be Millwall or Wendies relegated. Which is possible if either team loses and Peterborough and Barnsley win. We can all laugh at Dave Jones, if on Saturday, by mid afternoon his team is relegated Darron Fowler A massive thank you ! I hope you do it next season …..once again thank you ! We will fly the Yorkshire flag for everyone PMH If only… If only Leeds were a bit better they would be in the play-offs. Well, what good would that do them with a mid-level Championship team? There is no point hoping to get lucky, this team needs to improve considerably in terms of personnel, to have any business being in the Premiership. Wigan are looking like they’re going down, but Wigan are a much better team than Leeds. We don’t need Leeds to be slightly better, we need a giant stride forwards. Earlier in the season it was the defence that was the problem, but they looked decent against Watford (and lucky too.) Now it looks like the front needs serious help.