I said before todays game that I hoped Jermaine Beckford would be the one grabbing Sunday mornings headlines rather than Rickie Lambert. Whilst my wish came true, the reasons he’ll be grabbing the headlines aren’t quite what I had in mind.

When taken off as a substitute today in place of Max Gradel, Becks threw the kind of tantrum that makes him so hard to like for many Leeds United fans. Clearly annoyed at seeing his name go up, Beckford left the pitch as slowly as possible, which led to boo’s from the Kop and around Elland Road. Jonny Howson encouraged Beckford to come off with him (as he was also being substituted) but the strikers teddy had long since left the cot and he continued his snail-paced walk to the touchline. Once there, he decided to head straight for the tunnel rather than join his fellow team-mates on the bench, no doubt leaving Elland Road straight afterwards.

When Beckford’s number originally came up, it was met with a cheer from the Leeds fans, but also encouragement for the striker with his name being chanted from the stands. Once the fans had realised he’d thrown a strop however, the mood changed and the crowd turned totally against him.

Simon Grayson was right to remove the striker. He’d not had a bad game, but nothing had fallen for him throughout and he’d struggled for decent chances. In fairness to Becks, what he had done, he’d done well. He’d passed the ball, chased it a bit and worked much harder than he often does. However, he was clearly getting agitated at some of the referee’s decisions (as we all were) and it seemed obvious it wasn’t to be his day.

Regardless of how frustrated he may be lately, his attitude is inexcusable and shouldn’t be tolerated. The Leeds fans made their feelings known with a chorus of ‘there’s only one Simon Grayson’ as Becks sulked his way off down the tunnel. It’s a team game and these kind of selfish actions won’t win you any fans at Elland Road, no matter how many goals you contribute a season.

Beckford’s behaviour will no doubt grab the headlines in League One tomorrow morning, but it shouldn’t detract from what was a much improved performance from Leeds United. With Patrick Kisnorbo alongside Richard Naylor, Rickie Lambert and co. struggled for opportunities throughout. Aside from a few nervy moments in injury time, Kis was always on hand to clear the danger and Southampton were kept at bay throughout.

Attack-wise, Leeds were also good. There were some stray crosses and a few broken down moves with bad passing, but on the whole we dominated and looked good going forward. Becchio played a blinder, holding the ball up when needed, playing people in and fighting to win it back in the opposition half. Although he deserves all the criticism he’ll get over the coming days, Beckford played his part too. He had a couple of half-chances, but what did impress me was his willingness to chase the ball and play others in. He can be very lazy sometimes, but he wasn’t guilty of that today.

What Leeds did best today though was closing down all over the park. Southampton were very rarely given any time on the ball. Whether it was a striker on the edge of the area or the goal-keeper trying to kick it up field, there was always someone in a white shirt moving in to put pressure on or stick a foot in and ultimately, that’s what made the difference.

After Beckford had finally left the pitch and Grayson’s changes were put in place, you started to feel we were going to snatch a winner and Leeds didn’t disappoint. It was Robert Snodgrass who got us the three points with one of the most beautifully struck goals you’ll see this season. Twisting and turning to create space outside the area, Snoddy found an opening and let fly, curling it in to the top corner from distance. A wonderful goal from the Scot and a well deserved three points for the Whites.

TSS man of the match
A coin flip between Lucciano Becchio and Patrick Kisnorbo for me. Both players did exceptionally well today. Kis is like a rock in defence and the difference he makes is remarkable, whilst Becchio put in a fantastic shift, creating chances, holding the ball up and battling for everything.

Leeds have now reached the half-century mark in terms of points and extend their lead at the top to four after Charlton drew 4-4 with Millwall. We don’t play again now until Boxing Day which means we’ll be topping League One at Christmas. A great early present from the Whites. Whether Jermaine Beckford will play again in a Leeds shirt is the topic of TSS’ latest poll (below). After todays antics, I’m not convinced but let’s focus on the positives. Happy Christmas everyone.

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