Luciano Becchio

Becchio's strike killed the Swans

Fans’ hopes were mixed before the start of the game against Swansea City at Elland Road. There was no doubt it would be a winnable game especially against a Swansea side with a less than impressive away record, however familiar doubts and anxieties lingered in the minds of many Leeds fans.

Their hopes weren’t helped by the news that Kasper Schmeichel had sustained a foot injury and Blackburn reserve ‘keeper Jason Brown had been signed on a month long loan deal as cover for Shane Higgs. Brown’s appearances for Blackburn have been limited as he has played understudy for Brad Friedel and former Leeds ‘keeper Paul Robinson.

Other team news included Simon Grayson opting to keep faith with Richard Naylor after his goal at Watford while Max Gradel came in for Lloyd Sam who dropped to the bench. There were still no starts for Ross McCormack or Davide Somma.

Simon Grayson’s faith in Richard Naylor will have been tested early on as he misjudged the flight of a long ball, ending up on his backside, while allowing Stephen Dobbie through one on one with Shane Higgs. The Swansea man finished clinically, putting the ball into the far bottom corner. Leeds had conceded within the first fifteen minutes again, a trend which is almost becoming worryingly familiar.

Leeds did get back into the game, enjoying possession and creating some chances. Neill Collins had a header blocked while later on Bradley Johnson smashed a long shot against the crossbar. All throughout the first half Shane Higgs was called upon to be alert and denied shots by Nathan Dyer and Stephen Dobbie.

In the second half Leeds were able to soak up some early Swansea pressure before the equaliser came ten minutes in. A cross from the impressive Max Gradel was met by Naylor’s head but the attempt was kept out by Swans ‘keeper De Vries, Johnson was on hand though with an instinctive shot that almost took the back of the net off.

Leeds took the lead soon after in an equally scrappy manner. Gradel, this time on the left, cut into the box before laying the ball back to Lloyd Sam (who had replaced Watt). Sam saw his shot parried, Kilkenny’s rebound deflected off Jonny Howson but Becchio was on hand to smash home from six yards.

Becchio’s goal had certainly raised the temperature inside Elland Road and emotions began to run even higher when Becchio chased down a loose ball only to clatter, seemingly two footed, into the Swansea goalkeeper. There was no doubt it was a silly challenge by the Leeds forward but De Vries showed his frustration, in a amusingly child-like way, by throwing the ball at Becchio’s head as they both sat on the ground. The Swansea players certainly didn’t see the funny side and were quick to make their feelings known to the Leeds goalscorer.

Swansea put Leeds under some late pressure but Leeds defended well. The late introductions of McCormack and Somma were unable to strengthen the lead but it was a good turn around and fans will be happy to see that the squad has some fighting spirit and are able to get points after going behind.

Leeds have now won three games in a row and collected ten points from a possible fifteen. Simon Grayson’s men will be hoping to continue this impressive start against Barnsley on Tuesday.