Donny win worst Championship defence title TSS March 5, 2011 Match reviews 46 Comments Two of the worst defences ever seen in professional football faced off in a battle to claim the ‘honour’ of the most abject defensive display in living memory. In stark contrast to the bore draw last time Doncaster and Leeds met, this game had seven goals, and it could (and probably should) have been much more. Leeds dominated pretty much the entire match and the final scoreline of 5-2 was no less than they deserved. However, in the style that has become so typical of Leeds United this season, they insisted on doing things the hard-way and despite countless chances in the first half, The Whites only managed to make one of them count. The one that did count came from the in-form Max Gradel with an excellent strike from the edge of the box. Twelve minutes gone, and with the chances that followed, this should have been over by half-time. However, as the first half drew to a close, Billy Sharp – who had been no more than a spectator for much of the opening 45 – managed to get two strikes away at Kasper Schmeichel without any real interference from the Leeds United defence. 1-1 in a game where Donny had seen little of the ball and had no real attacking opportunities to speak of. Leeds started the brighter again in the second half with Robert Snodgrass striking an early chance wide of the post. But Donny had taken encouragement from their unlikely first-half equaliser and when Franck Moussa found himself clear in the Leeds United penalty area, he had no problems beating a furious Kasper Schmeichel. This was starting to feel like de ja vu of the 3-3 v Norwich City. But as the Doncaster Rovers fans celebrated, Leeds responded straight from the restart with an excellent solo effort from captain, Jonny Howson who managed to make his way into a striking position thanks in small part to the absence of any real defending from Donny. 2-2. In an almost totally one-sided game, Leeds had somehow managed to be drawing 2-2 against a crocked Doncaster Rovers side that had a defence made of playdough. However poor their defence may have been though, Leeds’ wasn’t much better and Donny sensed an opportunity to steal some points from a tie that should have already been done and dusted. The game opened up and both sides had their chances. Kasper Schmeichel was called upon to make a couple of quality saves for The Whites as Donny rolled the dice and joined Leeds in a game of all-or-nothing. But Leeds redeemed themselves with quarter of an hour to go when Robert Snodgrass’ cross fell kindly for Luciano Becchio who had been very unconvincing for the majority of the game, but couldn’t fail to put Leeds in front from close range. 3-2 and things still didn’t feel comfortable. For once though, and however late it may have been, Leeds thankfully managed to kill the game off by opening up a two goal cushion. Billy Paynter’s shot deflected into the path of Max Gradel who bagged his second of the game to spread a sigh of relief around Elland Road. There was still time for Leeds to rub salt into the wounds of Donny’s fragile defence too as Jonny Howson added his second and Leeds United’s fifth in injury time. Sulking on in victory… Regardless of the result, once again we were subjected to some very uncomfortable viewing at Elland Road by gifting the opposition chances with our total lack of defensive ability. Luckily, in Donny Rovers, we may have found the only team in the division that has a more pathetic defence than that of our own and ultimately our attacking quality was the only difference – especially in the second half when Donny sensed a chance to capitalise on our failure to convert the several trillion chances that said ‘attacking quality’ had squandered. It’s a truly bizarre game to summarise because the result suggests an absolute hammering and the amount of possession and chances would testify to that. But this wasn’t as one-sided as it really ought to have been. Instead, what we had was Leeds United’s Strengths versus Leeds United’s Weaknesses displayed beautifully over the course of 90 minutes. Donny were no more a part of this game than the irritating stewards who like to think Leeds United AFC simply couldn’t function without their jobsworth antics. It was basically a display of Leeds United furiously trying to get the better of their inner Demon – the guy who distracts the men in white whenever the opposition have the ball in a dangerous position. “Look Neil, he’s got a skateboard…” screamed a giddy Bradley Johnson. Ultimately, we won the battle against our inner Demon and got the result we so desperately needed. But the victory can’t be used to defend the same issues we’ve had all season. Next up is bottom of the table Preston, who know better than most how Leeds like to hit the self-destruct button. They’ll take a lot of encouragement from the horror show that our last meeting became and the worrying thing is, that we’ve not adapted or learnt anything since that 4-6 humiliation. I still can’t escape this nagging voice telling me the next embarrassment isn’t too far away. The problem is, that Simon Grayson has stubbornly defended his tactics and approach all week in the press and today’s victory is only going to reaffirm that stance. I fear there’s more chance of me unlocking the key to perpetual motion than there is of Leeds’ defensive issues being resolved in time for the play-offs (should we make them that is). Picture courtesy of MAMF. View more here.