Gradel the difference again as Leeds triumph over Southend TSS April 11, 2010 Match reviews 51 Comments Leeds United recorded their first back-to-back wins of the year with a 2-0 home win over struggling Southend. In a game the Whites dominated, Leeds also recorded their first clean sheet since the 2-0 victory over Oldham back in February. The game is unlikely to be remembered for another match-winning performance from Gradel and an improved Leeds United side unfortunately, as the headlines will undoubtedly focus on the fans continued criticism of Beckford. After failing to challenge the keeper for the ball, Beckford was booed by the fans and subjected to a chorus of ‘You’re not fit to wear the shirt’ before the Leeds fans sang for Luciano Becchio. There’s no denying Beckford’s loss of form lately, but the fans reaction was completely out of order. There’s plenty of other players in the squad who have given inadequate performances and escaped being singled out because the fans know this squad is heavily reliant on our top goalscorer. It’s an unfortunate position to be in for Jermaine as any loss of personal form usually leads to a loss of form for the entire team (or vice versa I guess). For me, the fans anger once again reflects the clubs failings in January and the lack of goals provided from elsewhere. Not getting another striker in then was a major failure in my mind and is a big part of why we’re currently occupying third place. After 58 minutes of frustration, Jermaine Beckford was replaced by the returning Luciano Becchio. It was unquestionably the right move from Simon Grayson as Beckford simply doesn’t look like scoring at the minute. After his antics earlier in the season, it was good to see Beckford had learnt his lesson and left the field in a sporting manner seemingly accepting his performance was below-par. Just two minutes after that substitution, Leeds United finally took the lead when Max Gradel’s deflected shot beat the Southend keeper to give the youngster a much deserved goal and settle the nerves inside Elland Road. His excellent performance was capped with seven minutes to go when he provided the cross for Luciano Becchio to double the lead and secure the three points for Leeds United. A game of ups and downs considering the frustrations prior to the goal, but Southend were kept back all day. The stats show Leeds had ten shots on target as opposed to Southend’s one, so this really was pretty straight forward stuff. What has to be noted is that Leeds United aren’t doing anything different from what they were when Swindon visited, it just seems things are starting to run for us again. Against Swindon, we dominated almost entirely until they scored (rather fortuetously) and then the heads dropped and we were destroyed. Yesterday, we kept pressing and got our just desserts. Confidence is clearly key and hopefully the back-to-back wins signal a corner well and truly turned. What was also nice to see today was a left footed player on the left-hand side (Johnson). What wasn’t nice to see was the same player getting booked which means he now has to serve a suspension. Collins also gave a solid performance at the back and looks like he may have been a clever signing by Larry. Let’s hope he can deliver the goods in the tougher games. TSS man of the match Back to back man of the matches for Max Gradel and no less than he deserves. The lad was tireless in his efforts today and once again proved the difference for Leeds United. Hopefully he’ll be the second consistent goal-scorer we’ve been looking for all season. superhoops Beautifully summarised as always. I still can’t see what’s going on with Beckford. Maybe he’s already got an agreement with another side for next season and is doing his utmost not to get injured. If not, then I don’t see how any Premiership or even CCC side will want him after half a season of poor form and run ins with both fans and manager. If you were going to raid League One for a striker surely you’d take Lambert any day of the week. Since moving to London I’ve been to see a number of Fulham games and they had the same situation with Bobby Zamora and the fans were on his back all the time. If you manage to come through it though, as he has, it massively works in your favour and adds a sense of longevity to your game. Zamora’s now being linked with an England call up only months after being jeered by his own fans!! Raph Great feeling after back to backs, lets hope continues! Awful feeling after the way the “fans” acted towards jermaine, at least he was respectful when subbed. Come on boys on and on! We all have to be supportive together. Bring on carlisle Yorkshrman I don’t understand the hysterical criticism of Beckford from some Leeds fans. Fact is that we’ve known for three years that he needs a hatful of chances for every one he scores; and since the cup win over on the dark side, we just haven’t been creating the large number of chances that we were before Christmas. Shouldn’t come as a surprise that he’s not scoring goals. As for his attitude, it doesn’t seem any different to me to what it was earlier in the season. As for yesterday, the whole team looked listless for the first 50-odd minutes, not just Beckford …. and a big part of that is that there’s no point playing “direct football” (as we do, much of the time) with Beckford and Gradel up front. You can’t seriously expect either of them to win much in the air …. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Beckford doesn’t have his problems. But it does seem unfair to me to pin all the ills of the team – and of the last three months – just on him, as many seem to be doing …. matt The reason he was jeered off was for sarcastically clapping the fans in the south stand after being frustrated by the ‘uninterested’ and ‘lacklustre’ beckford. He fully deserves the criticism he gets as he’s only scored 4 goals in 18 games. That’s not a ‘decent’ strikers form. TheReaper08 In his last 18 games in all comps Beckford has scored 7. Becchio has scored 8 and in 52 appearances Howson has scored 4, did you jeer them as well ? matt Well firstly, Becchio has had a stop-start season having been injured and we already know he is not an out and out goal-scorer like beckford supposedly is. Also, why would i jeer a player who totally changed the complexion of the game once he had come on? Secondly Howson isn’t a striker and i’ve never rated him. I don’t even know why he gets in the team; he can’t pass, he can’t shoot, and he rarely puts in tackles. So your comparisons seem uncalculated. P.S. It’s not just about the conversion rate, its his lack of effort that gets most people. Craig OK, Beckford is frustrating to watch. But surely this is because it always appears that he isn’t interested until the snap shot that finds the back of the net. It is part of the enigma that was Beckford whenever I’ve watched him. Having said this I’ve not been able to see Leeds live (except on TV) since Christmas so I accept that he might now be playing out his contract. TheReaper08 So on that basis it’s all about effort ? If Beckford scores a hundred tap ins without breaking a sweat you would jeer him ? matt Well seeing as he doesn’t score these 100 tap ins then we will never know. Anyway, since when did scoring tap ins coincide with effort? To put it in another light; if he scored a hundered tap ins and looked totally uninterested the whole game, then yes i would be annoyed. I dont jeer players, but i hate it when they show little enthusiasm. Its akin to Viduka when he was nearing the end of his last season here. I never said it was all about effort, but when you can’t rely on things such as skill, awareness, first touch, or passing, then you want to see 100% from a player. And i’m afraid Beckford doesn’t give you any of that. timm Still no excuse to do what was done yesterday. Getting on a players back never helped a player out of a rut. Many people don’t like him but that’s not the issue here.The fact is we’re where we are because of his goals & it’s piss poor how quickly some people forget that. I don’t care for the lad but do you honestly think that jeering him helps the team? If he was born in Leeds & kissed his badge every week there wouldn’t be a problem. As for the complexion of the game being changed, i couldn’t agree more, but that was because Becchio came on & not because Beckford went off. Im sure you know that Beckford plays off his co striker so he was never going to get much alongside Gradel . I totally agree with the decision to take him off but i’ll bet he would have been there to bang that first one in if he’d stayed on? Football’s a confidence game & anyone who thinks they’ve paid their money so they can get on the teams back should save their money & do something else instead. If you jeer the man you jeer the team. Will However poor his conversion rate, Beckford’s mental attitude towards the game is what appears to me to be his biggest weakness. This surprises me given his rise from non-league to a professional contract. It is usual for someone has known the world of “real” work to know what sustained effort is required to ensure they continue to achieve their goals. Beckford seems to either have forgotten this basic formuala of success in life – namely 100% hard work, every day, – or is simply protecting himself from serious injury before moving on. Either way, Grayson has allowed this situation to develop – accepting Becfkords poor form as that of a blip (as he did with our team results) – and not doing what needed to be done when the symptoms were becoming increasingly evident. Grayson’s lack of managerial nous is the target for my ire, not Beckford’s mental attitude. Has allowing players to see through to the end of their contract ever worked? Can anyone pinpoint any good examples at other clubs? TSS Teves? Although I have to admit, I don’t like the situation either. TheReaper08 We all know Beckford isn’t the brightest button in the tin, this will undoubtedly be the work of his snake of an agent. Nick Rubery has no doubt told the lad that to get injured now would be disastrous for his agent cut, sorry I mean’t would be disastrous for his football career. TSS Christ Reaper, with such cynicism, you really should be writing for TSS! TheReaper08 Yes but all towards the agent. I think given the opportunity the lad just wants to play football but as with the transfer situation in January is receiving duff advice from an inexperienced agent. I hate to hear of any player being jeered. TSS Yep, couldn’t agree more mate. The fans are on his back because he has no long-term ties to Leeds United, not because of his work-rate. He’s never run around the pitch like a headless chicken as it doesn’t suit his game. His strengths are knowing where to be and playing off the shoulders of defenders. Mark R Fairpoint Reaper & Will about Beckford. Stay clear of injury and there’s a golden opportunity for him at the end of the season. Definitely in his and his agent’s interests. Best performances when Becks appeared entirely focused was in the Man U & Spurs away matches – when he was in the shop window. However injury would have affected his recent performances and the disappointment in his performances only goes to highlight his importance to the team . As TSS writes our lack of activity in the January transfer market to secure another proven goalscorer was I agree ill judged . At the time ok we had a great team putting Man U out and putting in a great performance at Spurs away , but beyond the euphoria of this was the main objective of getting out of League One. As I’ve written before on this site , SG as any other manager in today’s game has around 1 year to 18 months to achieve something of significance. If it was a case of holding funds back until Summer to invest on new recruits in the Championship – then he gambled on the squad we had at the time achieving promotion. As of now two back to back wins , results going our way yesterday and Millwall at Hudds T. this Friday , I’m pretty confident we’ll claim 2nd spot. Just got to keep our nerve and get the wins whichever way we can. MOT Yorkshrman Spot on about the pressure on managers. The League Managers Association website has a list of the longest-serving managers ….. at 16 months, Grayson is no.34 out of 92 on the list! Craig Correction – we did sign a striker but are (or were) playing him on the wing! timm The section of so called supporters who did that to Beckford yesterday totally spoiled the game for me. They also succeeded in totally throwing the team off their stride for a good portion of the game. It’s no secret that Leeds along with West Ham has the biggest percentage of arseholes in English football watching them but they really excelled yesterday. Old boys like me & the lads who i’ve been standing & sitting with for the last 30 years have an unwritten rule that you just don’t do shit like that (Mark Aizlewood aside!). Our new breed of fans always need to blame somebody & start witch hunts & mischief making & we don’t want it. Save the slagging off for the pub or the internet but when you’re there, either get behind the team or f**k off somewhere else like so many of these pricks who come along trying to make a name for themselves have over the years. Nobody’s bigger than Leeds Utd. not Ken Bates, not Beckford & certainly not those pricks who feel the need to unsettle the team. Regarding TSS comment that the ‘fans anger reflects the clubs failings in january’, firstly i disagree that these are fans, theyr’e arseholes & secondly, didn’t we sign a premiership striker on huge money & weren’t we all more than happy with that signing? Or are we steering the argument back to blaming the chairman again? Because this is Leeds Utd so we have to blame someone don’t we? It can’t be something as simple as the players have bottled it. It took 14 mins 33 seconds until some sections of the crowd were on the teams back yesterday! Maybe that’s who we should be blaming? Supporters my arse. TSS Hi Timm, I agree with much of the above and whilst I detest Bates, I don’t only blame him for the failings in January. McSheffrey remains a good signing but is crap on the wing. Failing to line-up an alternative should the Barnard deal fall through was the fault of our management and scouting staff. Agree that the fans are as much to blame as anyone too. I’ve not liked many of my visits to Elland Road recently, not only because of the results but because of the fans that are on the players backs from the kick-off regardless of error. One such example was an idiot that came the other week in the Kop who criticised Beckford for not challenging in the air one minute, then whinged because he did and gave away a freekick the next. He couldn’t win no matter what he did, and actually had a pretty good game all things considered. It’s totally different away from home though where you often see the very best of Leeds’ fans, united as one. TheReaper08 It’s a shame really as what I hear from people like yourself about atmosphere and people’s attitudes kind of puts me off making the long trip up. I really wanted to wake up to loads of positivity on the site this morning, in reality I was just wondering which player(s) would be the focus of our criticisms this week. TSS The new breed of fans Timm refers to had me questioning my ST renewal because it’s that frustrating at times. Even in victory I’ve left Elland Road fuming from the unnecessary criticism aimed at players for no apparent reason. Don’t get me wrong, we all moan at times, but the majority do it under their breath whilst some choose to shout abuse at players six yards away from them. timm On a brighter note. i think we can start to get a little bit excited about the prospect of David Somma? I’ve been reserving judgement on the lad because he’s doing it at a lower level but he seems to be finding goals very easy to come by in a side that was notorious for not creating chances. One for next season maybe? timm Totally agree. the unity away is there for all to see. I was genuinely stunned yesterday & the amount of arguments going on between fans was ridiculous. I’ve never seen so much anxiety around the place, especially when you consider we’re 3rd in the league! Yorkshrman We’ve always had more than our fair share of arseholes at ER ….. first decent player I remember being driven out of the club was Terry Yorath – who, of course, always had a blinder when he came back with Coventry and Spurs. I’m sure there’ve been plenty more since then …. Craig 1919 Thoroughly agree regarding home support, some of the comments I hear are funny in their stupidity, offensive or viscious! The away support is true support, more singing, more positivity and you can actually have a conversation with a Leeds fan who can find another reason for a poor performance than Beckford! TheReaper08 There are other reasons than Beckford ? Surely not. Craig 1919 Of course not, it’s his fault that our midfield doesn’t protect our defence, that we play hoofball, that Snodgrass can’t beat the first man from a dead ball, that without Kisnorbo our defenders look like they are playing together for the first time, it’s his fault that Grayson has had his tactics wrong on too many occassions since Christmas, it’s his fault for injuries in key positions and it’s his fault that we play players out of position and it’s his fault that on many occassions we have looked spineless inadequate and well beaten in too many games! TheReaper08 Just to confirm craig1919 I totally agree with you, I was just being sarcastic. Good reply post though, I agree with all of your points. Craig 1919 TheReaper08 I know you were that’s why I attempted a sarcastic response : ) Henry V To win is the only positive we need just now. The fans attitude does reflect our slump in form since january. It is bound to. Beckford is playing a funny game if he is holding back. His form and confidence has gone and the thought that he could do well in the Championship/Premiership is debatable. Both Simon and Eddie Gray were of the opinion that no matter how bad he was playing he could still pop up with the winner! I think they have both changed their minds. Becks is a fool to himself! ‘Mad’ Max has come of age and is channeling his aggression/frustration in the right way. He lifts the team. Henry. Mark Refardt here is the saviour if SG has the guts http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xcwmmw_davide-somma_sport big, skilful and confidant. time for the masterstroke matt His second goal was some finish! Craig I’m thinking that Grayson needs to drop Beckford for the next game simply because he doesn’t really care which division we are playing in next year. Becchio does and, now that he’s fit it should be him + Gradel who start. Let Beckford sit in the stand at Everton and see what hard work will be required of him next season. Craig1919 The Beckford criticism is very much out of order, yes he’s workshy however no-one was moaning when he was getting the service and banging in the goals however due to our teams inept ability to beat the first man with a cross or pass 5 yards then how much can we truly expect from him? If Jonny Howson was not a Leeds lad he’d be booed off the park week in week out as he can’t pass, shoot and rarely get’s stuck in, anybody watching yesterdays game would testify that he’s been woeful! however I don’t hear the boo boys with him and he’s just as poor on recent performances, Beckford is simply an easy target. Had Beckford been a yorkshire lad he’d not get anywhere near as much stick. Our failings and successes this year are as a team, Where would we be without his goals? Whilst it can be argued as TSS has that we should have bought a new striker in January well at 10 points clear who have thought we’d have come to this having to battle for 2nd? I thought in the same way as Grayson and many other fans that we had the team already to get us promoted. I also still believe that this same team will get us promoted however it will go dawn to the very final moments of the league. People can boo Beckford however there is a long list of people who should be booed with him, I for one would rather back the players than boo them off the park as booing a player short on chances and confidence isn’t exactly going to help lift them from the slump they are in! TheReaper08 Exactly, it’s totally counter productive but still some don’t seem to realise this. Let’s just say the last however many weeks was due to lack of confidence and nothin else, do we suppose the actions of those who boo and jeer will help him ? Craig 1919 We should all know by now what type of player Brckfors is, personally I don’t think booing or clapping him will make much of a difference to him as let’s be honest he has 5 games left as a Leeds player, will the booing help the team well no I don’t think so it certainly didn’t help after Wallsall, away at Swindon etc as we are low on confidence an people booing you doesn’t exactly inspire a player to produce the better football. Us Leesa fans ate a victim of our own success, when we were playing well and getting the rub of the green pre Christmas we ignored the many individual poor performances as the victories masked these where were the player boo boys then? We were spoiled silly with our points total, we have to be able to recognise that alhough we are a massive club we are still a league one club with league one players who will make mistakes and will be inconsistant, if they weren’t they’d b Prem players. When things go bad the minority boo, rather than not clapping them of the field or simply leaving the terraces at the end they boo, how many baddays at work do we all have??? Can you imagine what it woud do to your confidence if every mistake you made was highlighted heckled and scrutinized? Would you feel more confident or more apprehensive as you are consciously not trying to make the next mistake rather than get on with what you know you can do? Craig Spot on. timm Spot on Craig 1919 lad! Now just be prepared to repeat yourself a few hundred times for the ones that can’t see it! But i suppose it’s all about opinions?! William Booing Beckford is one of the stupidest things to do. There is plenty one could criticise him for but the fact remains – if he is receiving constant jeering it will affect his game. If he gets support and clapping it might just pep him up. Henry V After the ManU game when the team were cheered and praised they collapsed. The management team could not halt the slide, and we fans were left scratching our heads. None of this was down to the fans!!! NONE OF IT! After 3 months the team are still playing below standard and the fans are, naturally disappointed and angry! We have been in the THIRD Division for THREE years!! If a performance is bad, is it right to cheer the team?? If a player throws the towel in, is it right that we should not show our displeasure. The player is getting several thousand pounds a week for being crap!! The fans, on the other hand have to pay (A LOT) to watch the crap served up!! We are powerless to do anything to halt the slide, apart from this:- EVERY GAME the team starts with a clean slate and is cheered on to the pitch!!! If Jermaine plays in the next game, and plays well he WILL be cheered and that is how it should be. If ManU or Liverpool were in our position they would hang the board and fire their ground!!! Leeds fans put up with so much and STILL TURN UP, more in hope than conviction!!! Do NOT put this on the fans!! Henry. timm They don’t HAVE TO pay for anything. They can always stay away. Colin I think we’re missing one of the key points with Beckford – it’s got nothing to do with him not being committed to the team – of course he is. During the slump, Beckford was Man of the Match against Tranmere and Colchester – he ran the show and he got Leeds 6 points from those games. The problem for Beckford is that he is playing out of his comfort zone for the sake of the team. Beckford likes to be alongside or play off the stronger hold up player, namely Becchio. When Becchio (or Kandol) isn’t playing, he loses some of his potency. Beckford also needs width and this is what Leeds lost during the slump – I think SG thought that McSheffrey would provide this for the left but it didn’t happen. When Johnson was on fire on the left and Snodgrass on the right, Beckford scored for fun when Becchio was playing with him. The width went, Becchio went and Beckford’s for dropped off. Beckford’s been told to take it for the team and just play up front looking for scraps and running the defence around. When Becchio came on, Gradel could play off Becchio and it worked. Okay, Gradel’s on form and causing problems but he’s not the long term answer. Whether you like Beckford or not, you know that if you play him, the opposition’s defence have a problem right from the outset – a central defender will have to mark him, the other defenders will have an eye on him, then he’ll drift left and then the RB has to watch him. While he’s doing this he has little chance of scoring and this is why it seems like he needs so many chances to score a goal – because he drifts into positions where it is difficult to score. That seems to be a waste, but it isn’t because it runs the opposition defence ragged and creates HOLES in defence and this is where other players can come into the game. If you don’t start with Beckford and start with Gradel, then an opposition defender you just wind up Gradel, put a few tough challenges in, knock him to the ground (he’s fast but not strong) and try and take him out of the game. If Beckford plays you can’t do that because your hard central defender (a Naylor-esque type) will be told to mark and bump Beckford, freeing up for the likes of Gradel. It’s the old Glen Hoddle trick where Shearer was always man marked becasue he was dangerous and allowed time and space to a fast small bloke called Michael Owen. Beckford is the only player on Leeds’ books who can stretch a defence and although Becks would prefer to score goals, at a time when Leeds are not playing great, SG’s told him to do a job. Carlisle is going to be much tougher than Yeovil and Southend. And you’re going to need Jermaine for that game. If Carlisle started Gradel against us, the first thing we’d do is get Naylor to hurt him, wind him up and knock him off the ball and that’s exactly what Carlisle will do. That is unless you play Beckford and then Carlisle will have to concentrate on him and try and knock him about. In summary, Beckford’s not being lazy, he’s not showing lack of commitment, he’s just doing what he’s been told by the manager. If Beckford was told to play in defence by SG he would do it. He’s just following the manager’s tactics. timm Excellent piece Colin & absolutely spot on re Beckford playing off his co striker. I actually said exactly the same thing in response to a lad on this same thread. Beckford almost looks like a lone striker when Becchio or Kandol isn’t playing & it doesn’t suit his game.As i said in my earlier post, the game changed because Becchio came on & not because Beckford went off. Ollie I really can’t understand how you can defend a player that throws himself to the ground every time he gets touched, never wins a ball in the air, can’t hold the ball up and never creates chances for his team mates. It doesn’t matter what he has done in the past, its what he’s not doing now. And all that rubbish about playing him out of his ‘comfort zone’… he’s a striker not a playgroup assistant. The game did change when Beckford went off because we had a target man who was willing to win the ball and create something. So many other points that your wrong about… “Gradel is fast but not strong” so how come he holds off nearly every defender that comes near him? Your comments about defenders having to mark Beckford and keep an eye on him… doesnt that happen with every striker? And your reading far too much into SG’s tactics, its divison 1 not serie A. Lewis g get davide somma back now!!! he’s in sensational forms for a relegation battle side, at this rate despite him only playing for em for a few months he could get amongst the leagues top scorers!! Ollie How can people be sticking up for Beckford so much! The guy doesn’t want to play for us and him been on the pitch is having a negative effect on the team, how you cant see that is very strange. He was off the pitch for 2 minutes and we scored (Due to Luciano actually winning the ball and showing a bit of fight) Yes he has scored some good and important goals for us but he isn’t doing that now, winning is all about playing your best eleven form players and JB isn’t anywhere near that. If he had gone in January I know for a fact we would be in a better situation then what we are in now. timm So he deliberately goes out to play shit & be bone idle even though he knows that there’s a scout from Everton (& god knows who else?) sitting in the west stand watching him? & that target man Ollie refers to is the same target man that wins stuff in the air & puts it into Beckfords path isn’t he? Because if he’s not then what’s his excuse for not having scored a shitload of goals this season? I didn’t exactly see ‘Big Max’ getting up for the knock downs? Beckford is one dimensional & he’s seriously out of form but so is Bradley Johnson & i don’t see him getting any abuse. Howson’s been playing like a park player but he doesn’t get any either. The truth is that you lot that jeer him & abuse him so that it affects his game just don’t like the lad. Just like the ones who were on Dickovs back within 30 seconds of him coming on for his debut. Like i said before,if you jeer the man you jeer the team. Can you honestly say that the abuse on saturday didn’t totally throw the whole team off their stride? & before you argue that they’re professionals & they should rise above it, that’s crap. Players need support to come out of dips but the problem we have at Leeds is that we have too many who think that support just means paying their money for a ticket. Colin “How can people be sticking up for Beckford so much!” Because he scored more goals than any other player in English football last season and has scored 27 so far this season? Just check Leeds’ results (on BBC website or others) and just look at how many times Beckford’s goals have either won us the 3 points or rescued a point late on in a game. It’s pretty impressive. And I know for a fact that if he had gone in January, Leeds would have been 6 points lighter with not having the 6 points that Jermaine pretty much got himself against Tranmere and Colchester. Since the beginning of March, Beckford’s scored 3. Saturday was Becchio’s 2nd. Luciano – what a hero. Shame he doesn’t score anywhere near as many as Beckford. Mark Refardt beckford is out of form, full stop. he is not a team man and playing a non team man in a team that needs team men (right now) is suicidal. bring Somma in to play as an out and out striker with Gradel and becchio doing what they do best in compliment. The most important thing is that SG has to change his structure and plan as we are too familiar and thus easy to nullify.