The best away record in League One came up against a Gillingham side that had lost just three at home all season. Despite an impressive record at Priestfield’s, Gillingham haven’t won a single game on their travels all season and are currently in a battle to stave off relegation. Add to that the fact they haven’t lost at home to any of the top six, and anyone expecting an easy ride was in for a bit of a shock.

This being Leeds United, we didn’t make things easy on ourselves either. Gillingham battled hard for the ball, never afforded Leeds United too much time or space and won pretty much all the aerial battles, whilst Leeds failed to get a foot-hold on the game.

Both Richard Naylor and Neill Collins failed miserably in the air time and time again, making it far too easy for Gillingham to float balls in and create chances. Leeds’ back-line might as well have been cemented in place for the Gills opening goal which was headed home by Adam Miller with less than 10 minutes played.

Things failed to improve for Leeds and Gillingham continued to dominate. Leeds were being out-muscled, out-tackled and out-fought as Gillingham scrapped away and Leeds tried to play them at their own game. This was the most frustrating part to watch because Leeds United currently sit second in League One and should be asserting their dominance on these “lesser” teams. Going away and trying to play the opposition at their own game was never going to work – no matter how good Leeds United think they are.

With half hour gone, things didn’t improve for Leeds and Gillingham’s second goal didn’t surprise many of the travelling 3,000. Another high ball into the box – this time from one of the million free-kicks we’d given away – was headed home by Mark Bentley who went totally unchallenged from close range.

Careless mistakes and failure to get the basics right were costing Leeds United all across the pitch, non more so than Gillingham’s third goal that was headed home by our very own Richard Naylor. By now, it was like watching a car crash in slow motion as the Leeds fans stood in silence, arms crossed and shaking their heads.

Some hope was restored for Leeds United shortly before half-time when Leeds finally managed to string a couple of passes together and find Luci inside the box. With his back to goal, Becchio powerfully turned away from his marker and placed his shot beyond the Gillingham keeper. Half-time, and despite a late consolation, it was hard to see how Leeds would turn this round.

At half-time, Leeds United fans were offered some small consolation in knowing that our promotion rivals were failing too. For me however, this just rubbed salt into the wounds as I knew this was our opportunity to create some breathing space, and once again, we were making a mess of things.

Leeds improved a little after the break and finally looked like they may try and force Gillingham onto the back foot. Within the first minute, Max Gradel cut inside from the wing and fired goal-wards, only to see his shot blocked by the opposition keeper.

The failed passes, poor defending and lack of aerial threat continued to hinder Leeds United though and it seemed obvious we needed a change. Grayson duly obliged, bringing Jermaine Beckford and Ben Parker on in place of the ineffective Robert Snodgrass and largely useless Andrew Hughes. As poor as the two players being removed had been, I think the majority of Leeds fans were expecting Parker to replace Naylor in a reshuffled defence, but it seems only Larry had failed to spot how useless he’s become.

Parker livened things up a bit, but one man simply can’t make a team and his efforts were wasted as the rest of the team continued to fail across the pitch. What I did notice was a good move from the opposition manager shortly afterwards when he made a change that allowed one of his strikers to be moved out wide-right to nullify the threat Parker was causing.

Meanwhile, Max Gradel had somehow managed to convince himself that he’s the new Lionel Messi and decided to take things into his own hands. Unfortunately, his own hands (or boots as it were) seemed to be smothered in butter. His crossing and passing were hopelessly misdirected, as was his shooting, whilst any attempts to get back and help the defence usually resulted in a free-kick to the opposition. After what had arguably been three man of the match performances, Gradel was truly woeful.

By now, Leeds were enjoying more of the possession than the Gills, but it never felt like we were going to do anything with it, and sadly, I wasn’t mistaken. Gillingham defended in numbers and when they did get the ball, sent it up the wings and ran our full-backs ragged. The only hope came five minutes before the end when Jermaine Beckford’s pace earned him a penalty, which he tucked away with confidence.

3-2. but the Gills were always going to hold on. It was too little, too late from Leeds and there was to be no way back from what had been a tragic performance in the first half, with some minor improvement in the second. The defence was missing all day and had no aerial presence whatsoever. Gillingham exploited this and deservedly took a 3-0 lead leaving Leeds United with no chance to recover.

Whilst the Becchio-Gradel partnership has worked wonders in the last three games, it failed to pay-off here. Becchio spent half the match trying to battle for possession, but this just gifted the opposition free-kick after free-kick as the Argentine did nothing to dispel the theory that strikers can’t tackle. Gradel meanwhile will have to battle it out with Naylor for the most useless player on the pitch award as his crossing, passing and shooting continually went astray. The youngster was also dispossessed with ease at times and gave away too many free-kicks trying to get the ball back.

Needless to say, the 200 mile journey back to Leeds to drown our sorrows was much quieter than the one that had brought us south. The chance to extend our lead had been wasted. Only one point separating us from third as we head into a home game against MK Dons, where the tension is likely to be amplified as the games quickly run out. Three to go…