A comedy of errors ends with 3-3 draw v Barnsley TSS February 23, 2011 Match reviews 63 Comments A couple of controversial decisions from the referee and more of the same from Leeds United’s defence left the Whites with another home draw and further adrift of the automatic places. After the 5-2 humiliation at Oakwell earlier this season, Leeds fans were hoping their team would set the record straight with a comfortable win over their Yorkshire rivals. But it was the worst possible start for the men in White as Kieran Trippier’s free-kick found it’s way to Jason Shackwell who opened the scoring inside the first two minutes. Another poorly defended set-piece from the Whites. 0-1 Leeds looked to respond quickly with Max Gradel twice striking the bar, once from a header inside the area and a second time from a bizarre free-kick that bounced off the keeper onto the bar and back again. It took just over twenty minutes for Leeds to restore parity. George McCartney’s cross was met at the back post by the head of Luciano Becchio who recorded his 15th goal of the season in his 100th league appearance for The Whites. 1-1 On-loan Manchester City youngster Kieran Trippier was looking lively down the wing for Barnsley, but his efforts failed to produce another goal and Leeds completed their turnaround when Max Gradel won a dubious penalty decision in the box. Max stepped up and smashed the penalty into the top corner to make it 2-1 to Leeds. Within minutes, Bradley Johnson almost made it 3-1, but Leeds were frustrated to see a third shot come back off the woodwork. Half-time came as Leeds were piling on the pressure and looking to put some daylight between themselves and the visitors. As some of us were still making our way back to our seats at the start of the second half, Kieran Trippier played in another loanee Matt Hill who slotted home beyond a furious Kasper Schmeichel. Once again, Leeds’ defence was disorganised and hopeless and things were about to get much worse. 2-2 With the sides back level, Barnsley were given the ultimate advantage as the referee sent Bradley Johnson off for a second bookable offence. By the letter of the law, he perhaps deserved to walk, but this was a Yorkshire derby where the tackles are bound to be flying in and we see much worse challenges every week – the game really didn’t warrant a red card. The man advantage showed for Barnsley as they started to find more space and time on the ball. However, Simon Grayson is not a man to sit back and defend a point regardless of circumstance and responded by bolstering Leeds’ attack with the additions of Sanchez Watt and Davide Somma in what he probably expected was an ‘all or nothing’ roll of the dice. It was Sanchez Watt who got an important touch to Max Gradel who twisted and turned before curling a shot beyond the opposition keeper from range. An excellent individual piece of skill from the in-form winger to put Leeds back in front against the odds. 3-2 But Barnsley’s man advantage continued to show as they pushed on for an equaliser. With less than 10 minutes to go, the visitors were awarded a free-kick in a good position which Kieran Trippier struck well beyond a stranded Kasper Schmeichel as the Leeds wall parted. 3-3 It was Barnsley who had the bulk of the chances to steal an unlikely victory at Elland Road, but Leeds managed to hang on to draw their second home game on the bounce. At least it wasn’t 2-5. Indefensible I’ve run out of words to describe Leeds United’s defending this season. Just when you think you’ve turned a corner with back-to-back clean sheets, we concede five at home in the space of four days. I don’t care who the visitors are, or what the circumstances are surrounding it but when you score three goals on home soil, you should always be finishing with three points. This was a comedy of errors from start to finish. Truly dreadful defending from Leeds that can only be compared to that v Preston and in the reverse fixture v Barnsley. I’m starting to wonder whether Kasper Schmeichel may not be the hero we all think he is? Set-pieces seem to be a particularly leaky area for the Whites and the goalkeeper is the person that should be issuing orders and organising his box for these situations. He seems to do plenty of shouting at his defence, but more often than not, this is after the ball has hit the back of the net rather than in the build-up. A comedy of errors Aside from the defence, the “Premier League referee” did little to impress. The penalty Max Gradel got was never a penalty in a million years, and the ref wasn’t in a good enough position to make that call. I’m not suggesting the ref levelled things out by sending Bradley Johnson off, but that was one of the softest red card decisions I’ve seen outside the Prem. This was a Yorkshire derby – things are bound to get a little rough and ready. The strange thing was, that as far as these things go, both teams behaved pretty well. If anything, Barnsley were the rougher of the two sides yet it was Leeds that ended up at a disadvantage. Overall, I suspect Barnsley feel a little unlucky after reviewing the penalty decision, but these things happen and it’s rare one goes in Leeds’ favour. Moreover, Barnsley rode their luck a bit too and were lucky not to be further behind at half-time as The Whites increased their shots bouncing back off the woodwork record. 3-3 was probably a fair reflection of the game given the defensive errors made by Leeds. This should have been killed off by half-time, but the farcical defending meant that even with a bigger margin, we’d still have been vulnerable to a comeback. TSS man of the match If I was taking both sides into consideration, then this would be given to Kieran Trippier who was influential in every Barnsley attack and goal. For Leeds however, I’d have to say Max Gradel. He too has a lot of work to do on the defensive side of his game (defend as a team, attack as a team) but the brace speaks for itself. Picture by MAMF. View more from Leeds v Barnsley here.