I said before today’s game that I’d be disappointed with anything less than a victory. Huddersfield have been conceding far too easily and whilst they have the best attacking record in the league, I felt Leeds’ impressive defensive record should keep them quiet. Add to this the fact it was at Elland Road where we haven’t lost since January and the fact we’ve won the last five without conceding and all the signs pointed to a home win. However, much like our last three meetings, things didn’t quite go to plan.

Things couldn’t have got off to a better start. Whilst some of the 38,000+ fans were still trying to make their way in to the ground and find their seat, Robert Snodgrass capitalised on an error from the Huddersfield Town goalkeeper and slotted home to give Leeds United an early 1-0 lead. The chance came from a pathetically weak shot from Sam Vokes that their keeper somehow failed to keep hold of giving Snoddy the opportunity to open the scoring.

Less than two minutes gone and Leeds already infront. I was already thinking we may mirror the 4-0 demolition job we did on them back in 2007. Leeds continued to press, but Huddersfield high line of defence was causing problems for Beckford who got caught offside a couple of times. Vokes had a chance to double the lead though but his header from a Beckford cross went wide.

As the half wore on, the dominance changed in Huddersfield’s favour and they started to get more and more of the ball. Leeds did have another chance though in injury time when the Huddersfield Town keeper made a good save to deny Robert Snodgrass his second and keep Town in the game.

The second half started much the same as the first with a goal inside the opening two minutes. This time though, it was Huddersfield’s turn as sloppy defending from Leeds kept an attacking move alive for the visitors. A shot deflected into the path of Lee Novac who headed by Casper Ankergren to level the tie.

Leeds had a couple more chances but Huddersfield looked the better team for much of the game. The crowd had already been calling for Lucciano Becchio long before the substitions came on. Vokes and Kilkenny would make way for Becchio and Leeds United super-sub, Max Gradel.

With our first choice frontline restored and Max Gradel on to run at the Huddersfield defence, it felt like Leeds would get another one yet. It didn’t take long either. Ankergren kicked a long ball upfield which headed towards the opposition goalkeeper. Beckford went up for the ball as well though and the challenge led to another error from the Town goalie. Gradel was on hand to pick up the loose ball and subsequently rounded the keeper and fired home to put Leeds back on top.

Poor marking from setplays, not for the first time in this fixture left Leeds looking fragile at the back. A short corner routine that Huddersfield had pulled off twice was unexpected by the United defence who were perhaps a bit tired from getting up early. Town got another shot away, but this time fired wide.

The poor defending from the corner and play that followed should have served as a warning sign for Leeds to buck their ideas up, but Huddersfield restored parity once more with twelve minutes left on the clock. A cross was fired in from the right and Jordan Rhodes rose above everyone else to beat Casper Ankergren and earn the visitors a point.

The remainder of the match was played on the back foot by Leeds and the final whistle actually came as a relief. For the first time in a while, I can honestly say that poor defending cost us today. We looked weak from crosses, corners and free-kicks and the Huddersfield Town wingers made our full-backs look like they were in the wrong game.

Derby matches are never as simple as they look on paper. Whilst myself and presumably many others would have expected a win today, the occasion often means things aren’t quite as straight forward as one would hope. Huddersfield were unquestionably the better team for large parts of this game. Leeds’ defence was largely weak and the midfield weren’t much better with the exception of Snodgrass. Still no killer instinct from Vokes and a couple of chances wasted by him, whilst Beckford’s attempts to break were too often thwarted by the flag.

One person I refuse to blame today who is often an easy target is Casper Ankergren. Whilst he still flapped at too many crosses and can’t catch a cold, his ball created the second goal and he made a few vital saves that earnt us the point. The two we did concede were more the fault of pathetically poor defending than they were the goalkeeper.

Nice to see Lucciano Becchio on the way back to the starting XI as we look a lot stronger with him than we do Vokes. The impact subs of Grayson once again paid dividends and you can only hope Max Gradel’s stay will become permanent.

I think I’m willing to write today off as one of those derby days where it’ll never be as easy as expected. We need to forget about what was a below par performance and re-group before the next League One tie next Saturday away to Brentford. Before that though, there’s the small matter of an away day at Old Trafford up for grabs against Kettering Town on Tuesday.

TSS man of the match
Was suprised when Robert Snodgrass was substituted late on as he looked like the only player on the park that had caused them problems all day. Always the man for the big occasions and today was no exception. The Scot worked tirelessly and the goal just adds icing to a great performance in an otherwise disappointing display.

9 Responses

  1. tim

    Can’t fault the match report – spot on. I was happy with the point at the final whistle but very disappointed later on, probably reflecting as the other results were coming in. This performance was a wake up call to my mind and I get fed up with the ‘experts’ banging on about how all the other teams do not have the depth of squad to live with us – no evidence of that at the moment.
    At the end of the day it always comes back to the same players we had at the beginning of the season plus Gradel. Our two defensive leaders were missing and nobody came close to filling their shoes. We need to bounce back strongly against Brentford. I thought Grayson took a gamble against Oldham in mid week with selection but for me got caught cold yesterday. You have to put out your best players in a game like this. We take on loan players and feel obliged to play them?
    Finally, the body language from Beckford doesn’t inspire me with confidence and best wishes to Tresor Kandol for a speedy return after personal family problems.

  2. Paul G

    Disppointed with a draw today, but feel we have to keep things in persepctive. Yes, we do have a strong squad, but we probably had 6 first choice players who weren’t in the starting line-up today, including 4 of the back 5 and our second top scorer. Huddersfield (as far as I could tell) were pretty much at full strength – wonder how they would have coped if you’d taken any 6 of those players out??!!

    And I couldn’t agree more with TSS about Ankergren – who has made few mistakes while Higgs has been out, but whose confidence can’t be helped by the sizeable minority of morons in the crowd who insist on ironic cheers whenever he catches the ball. Tossers, the lot of them.

    • tim

      Take your point about Ankergren and he has always been a great shot stopper. However, some of his kicking is shall we say mis-directed and the opposition know he is vulnerable on crosses. Surely it has to be a coaching thing. Michelik was great on Saturday but he is not a vocal leader and Bromby was flapping, none of which helps the goalie.

      • Yorkshrman

        I think your comment in your first post is the key – in Naylor and Kisnorbo we have two strong organisers, without them the back four becomes a bit of a shambles. If either of them had been fully fit on Saturday I think it could have been the difference between 1 point and 3.

  3. David

    Travelled over from N.I. and can only say we were poor. Huddersfield were the better team by a country mile. Our supporters are obsessed with singing about hating Man U & Chelsea [they are not our rivals] the teams in the division are our rivals. Please sing for our team with Leeds songs. Not for years to come will we play either of these teams in the top flight [and on Sat display thank god]so get over it.

    Another Note; It was a pleasure and privilege to watch the Yorkshire Regiment being presented with their medals and both sets of fans joining as one to cheer on these brave young men

    Questions and thoughts;
    1. Why won’t our keeper come for crosses?? or is this the way he is coached. He should be coming and clearing out their team his team mates and anything to get in his way
    2. My man of the match was Michalik
    3. Being from N.I.& watching him play for us, Capaldi is a waste of space.This is not his level it’s another division down.

  4. West Stand rebel

    David, certainly take your point about singing songs about teams like Chelsea & Man U. However on Saturday for timing and humour when the soldiers fired blanks at the directors box the singing of “shoot the Chelsea scum” was just genious.
    The only pity is that our “glorious fund manager” (how I love that expression) was nowhere to be seen.Presumably saving himself for Kettering on Tuesday night. Infact most of the directors seats were empty …says a lot for their commitment to Mr. Grayson et al. Just another aside if they can’t be bothered to turn up why not sell these prime seats for £40 or more?

    • David

      Have to agree the timing was spot on and truth be told I had to laugh, but you get my point on the songs about teams that are as far away from us as Pappa Smurf is. Nice to see the ground filled it’s just like old times but still a million miles away. We try to get over as often as we can but there is no flight home from
      Leeds on a Saturday night to Belfast so we have to use Manchester [which means we can’t even wear our colours] as you just don’t know who’ll get on the train. If they would put a flight on Saturday morning and evening home they would fill it no bother, but they don’t seem to see this. Sorry I’m starting to rave on but to be a Leeds fan from a distance is not easy, but then it never has been. I spend on every match the same money that would take you to Spain in the Summer for a week. But i’ll keep coming to see the one & only Leeds United.
      This Is How We All Should Feel As Leeds Fans
      We do not choose, we are chosen.
      Those who don’t understand don’t matter.
      Those who do understand need no explanation.


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